A note from Daniel from Sunday night...
I must admit that I have been planning write this little letter for a while now and after much pushing, prodding and gentle complaints from more than a few people, here is the latest. We are both still alive!
I have learned in the last few weeks that it is not always a good idea to speak for someone else, so what follows are my ideas, opinions and accounts of the things that have been going on. I will start with the ID. It is very hard to prove your identity to someone who doesn't know you or care who you are, without some sort of paperwork. After his injury Andy didn't spend much time in his pants and with the pants went his wallet. With his wallet, went his Texas driver license, Social Security card and military ID. Come to find out it is very hard to re-integrate back into the real world without documents like these. Oddly enough, it is easier to get replacements if you still have the originals. Go figure.
After a visit from a SS Administration rep and a day trip to the closest military installation, the Social Security card and military ID were taken care of. Fun fact for you, in the state of Florida a military ID is a secondary form of identification and can't be used to get a FL drivers license. A driver’s license is a good thing to have when you go to buy a vehicle but more on that later.
With the near unstoppable combination of military ID, (photo) Social Security card, FEDEX-ed birth certificate, (that's another story) and a passed disabled drivers exam, Andy is now (finally) a licensed driver... again... in the state of Florida.
So the truck was it’s own little adventure. The man was shot in the neck—so I can't really blame him for wanting what he wants in this one area in which he can indulge. So we started looking for just the right truck for Andy. His requirements were rather simple-- black, four-wheel drive and leather interior. Not that big a deal, right. The rub came with the lift system. The system that would work best for Andy would only fit certain vehicles and that's to be expected.
The difficult task was getting the dealerships, the VA reps, the lift manufacture and lift installer to all agree on what vehicle would work with the lift system. On two different occasions, I was actually in the dealership, pen in hand, ready to sign on the dotted line, when I received a “cease and desist” call.
Finally, after much deliberation there was a general consensus and we found out that there were two trucks on the entire east coast that filled the bill. Perseverance won the day and there is a brand new truck—black, 4x4 with leather interior in the parking lot of the building where I am staying. Man, is it nice! That truck made for a nice Christmas as Andy took posession on Christmas Eve. We celebrated the day with Sonic foot-long conies and a honey bun.
This was my first Christmas away from most of my family. I have to admit, I didn't really like it. Andy and I read the Christmas story and drove the new truck around the parking lot and that made it ok.
The next hurdle is actually getting the lift system here and installed. Three weeks ago we were told that it would take seven to ten days to get the parts shipped and one day to install them. We both got rather excited as it seemed that home was finally on the horizon. They forgot to tell us that the approval process and paper trail is about a mile long. Everything has to be right in order for them to spend a rather large amount money and that's ok. I just wish they would have said something about that detail three weeks ago.
What I have learned through this is that Andy is something of an over-achiever. A lot of guys that come through here spend about a year in the system; Andy is coming up on six months post-injury. For us, the work has been very compressed. Our drive to put as much time and distance between us and the events of July 17, has not fit in very well with the established system. Andy's drive to get better and my drive to help does not stem from ether one of us being super amazing people. It is because this is how we cope.
This is how God intends for us to survive and survive we will. Not always with style or flare, but through answered prayers offered by many wonderful people, God is seeing to it that we survive. Really, it's more than just survival, we both have had opportunities to do things and meet people that we wouldn't have had a chance to otherwise. I think I'll attach some photos. The fact remains that both Andy and I are rather ordinary people that God has put into a rather extraordinary situation.
Throughout Biblical history, God has done the same thing with many other people and like them, I for one, have felt small in my own sight. When the giant bureaucratic system and the rage of useless legs are bearing down, it is easy to throw up your hands and say, "Woe is me, from where will my help come from?"
And, just that easily the answer comes, "all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose."
We believe that.. It is what carries us.
I wish I could say that we have a date set for leaving Florida—unfortunately we do not. When it comes, you will know. Getting the truck outfitted is the last major hurdle before we can leave.
If you are reading this you have likely offered up a prayer for one or both of us at some point. Those prayers are valued by us and rest assured, they are being answered. Thank you for your compassion, faithfulness and generosity.
God bless you and keep you.