One Shining Moment

by DanWolgemuth on July 7, 2023

With breakfast in the rearview mirror, we showed up at Skagit Cycle shop in Anacortes, Washington. It was July 10th, 2012, and we had bikes to rent and a 50-mile ride in our plans…

We paused for a picture on the threshold of Deception Bridge, just before riding onto Whidbey Island. Once across, it was a picnic, an eagle sighting, and a brief rest before we hopped back on our bikes.

From Deception Park we rode on Highway 20. It’s a two-lane highway through the heart of Whidbey Island, with a 55-MPH speed limit and a large shoulder, which is great for cyclists… that is until a piece of lumber blocks that path, and you’re forced onto the rumble strip that outlines the lanes. It was there that Mary struggled to find her balance, and in a few seconds everything changed. Her fall was amplified by a passing pickup truck, which impacted her on the way to the ground.

Chaos, followed by intensity, followed by emergency support, followed by an airlift to Harborview Hospital in Seattle. My world stopped. Then restarted on a completely different trajectory.

From there it was an ICU, and a wait for a brilliant and accomplished surgeon. Perhaps one of the best in the world. A broken pelvis required precise and meticulous care, while the broken collar bone and ribs were on their own to mend. (See this bio on Dr. Chip Routt – who would, after 28-years of practice at Harborview, leave soon after his surgery on Mary for his native Texas. God provided the best when we needed it most –

While my role had largely been to invite a tsunami of prayer for the first week, once we were back in Denver I added “care giver” to that job description, even as we converted our living space into a recovery room.

For six weeks I had to be at Mary’s side. Her every move required help.

My calendar emptied, and amazingly, unexpectedly, and powerfully… my soul filled.

Six weeks. Six transformational weeks. Six of the most wonderful weeks of my life.

It sounds so crazy. But it’s true. For just over seven years prior to this uninvited experience I had led Youth For Christ USA. Prior to that, 28 years in various corporate leadership roles. But those six weeks taught me more about my calling in life, than any experience before, or after.

There were no podiums to climb. No microphones to check. No PowerPoint presentations to assemble. No business cards to distribute.

For six weeks I entered the on-ramp that connects to the heart and character of Jesus.

It changed me.

As I have reflected more on these days in July and August 2012, I’ve come to believe that those six weeks were an integral part of my calling in life. In fact, maybe the most significant part of my calling.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

Mary’s accident, as horrific as it was, became a gift. An invitation into the “good things” that God had planned for me to be a part of. From the beginning of time. To change me. To make me more humble. To teach me what love looks like. To cash in on the vows I had spoken 34 years before. To shape the way I thought of myself, my wife, my purpose… and yes, to recalibrate my life around the priorities of Jesus.

One shining moment.

No gold watch. No applause. No room full of people. Just moment after moment of leaning into the beauty of dependence. Uncluttered and rich.

“I was sick, and you cared for me.” (Matthew 25:36, NLT)

What an amazing gift… eleven years and celebrating.

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