Last weekend the debate club that Peter used to be a member of held a tournament in Peter’s honor as a fundraiser. We are so thankful for those who contributed their time, energy, and resources to pulling off the event, and the efforts to lower the cost so the contribution to Peter’s medical needs could be larger. Dad and Mom (who were able to attend parts of the event), also mentioned that they were encouraged by the many kind words that were spoken to them while they were at the tournament. Your caring and generous spirits have been a blessing to us!
There is not a lot of news regarding Peter’s condition. He continues to be minimally responsive, but stable, and makes small amounts of progress as time wears on. The doctor’s say that there is a lot of hope for someone who is minimally responsive versus vegetative because that means they are cognitively “there” somewhere and can come out of it.
In spite of the slow progress however, one of Peter’s most recent therapy sessions on the floor mat was really encouraging and exciting for us! In my previous update, I mentioned that Peter was beginning to look at people on command, and this is something we regularly practice with him. Sometimes we see results, sometimes not. But the other day when we had Peter on the floor mat, mom decided to test Pete’s ability to do this even more than we regularly do.
First mom asked Peter to look at Beth, which he did. Then mom and Beth proceeded to talk in a regular tone about miscellaneous things. After about two minutes, mom then calmly asked Peter to look at Andrew (who was on Pete’s other side), and he did so very deliberately. This is really encouraging to us because it means that Peter is “there” and could filter personal commands from general chit chat!
Here are the things you can continue to pray for:
1) Pray for Peter’s continued healing.
2) Pray that Peter will be able to build on the commands he is beginning to follow. That they would be come more and more consistent, and that he would respond to a wider variety of commands.
3) Pray we can establish a means of communication with Peter. As I’ve mentioned before, this would be a huge huge step for Peter (and us), and would help in his rehab process.
4) We hope to begin some remodeling of the house as soon as possible to better accommodate Peter’s needs. Please pray that this process would go smoothly and quickly, especially for Peter’s sake so there won’t be dust, etc. flying around (dust is not good for Peter’s trach, congestion, and breathing).
5) Pray for our emotional and physical stamina and patience as we care for Peter.
6) Pray that God would answer our prayers that Pete would make a significant amount of progress before Andrew leaves to go back to Notre Dame.
Thank you all, so much, for traveling this journey with us.
For the family,
Now that we have had Peter out more with other people, there have been a couple of times when it’s been hard on someone to see him in his current condition. One or two people have said, “That’s not Peter,” as if his limitations change who he is somehow. Because of the unfamiliar things associated with his limitations right now, I understand this struggle. The topic has fostered many questions and discussions in our own home. Frankly, it has really helped me to share a home with a philosopher/theologian son (Andrew) and a pastor/theologian husband. Their words give me sound perspective.
The Christian view confronts head-on this temptation to focus too much on Peter’s brain. Our culture’s materialist worldview says that our personhood is equal to our brain. That’s because materialism holds that we are only physical beings, that we are nothing more than what can be seen or touched.
The Christian view, on the other hand, is that each of us has a soul that will never die. This soul we each have is the essence of who we are. Our souls equal our personhood. Our bodies are only our habitation, like a tent, while we live on this earth. Our bodies certainly are a wondrous gift with which God graced us so that we can learn about and serve Him. Yet, they are only a vehicle for the real “us.”
So Peter’s soul – who he is – has not changed. His brain is part of his tent. His brain is a tool that his soul uses, and the tool has been hurt. He is still the same Peter that we have always known and not anyone “different.”
Since Peter is still essentially the same, we focus on his soul and not his brain. He needs our spiritual encouragement, our moral support. We want to support him on this road of suffering he has been called to walk. He’s still our little brother.
“For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling . . . . For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord . . . . (W)e would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” ~from 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
Thanks to all of you who posted on Peter’s group wall, sent him messages and notes after my request. It blessed us to read all the encouragements to him, and they continually lifted our spirits, as we trust they did for him. We received messages in every form of communication there is out there, and everyone’s words have given us grace to keep going. May the Lord richly bless all of you for coming alongside Pete on this road of suffering and recovery.