Caught Off Guard

I was very interested in seeing the Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly interview on 20/20 Monday night.  I knew it would be an inspiring report but I was not prepared for my emotional response to their story.  Shortly after the start of the show, I felt the tears welling up and by the second commercial, I was literally sobbing.  Now I admit I’m an easy mark…I’m known to get a little weepy over Folgers commercials (you know the one when the older brother comes home early from college for the holidays  and surprises his younger sister when she smells the coffee he is making and they visit over a cup of joe before their parents join them in the kitchen? Classic!) and old reruns of “Little House On The Prairie” that I’ve seen more than a couple of dozen times (those darn  heart to heart moments between Pa Ingalls and Half-pint get me every time!!!).  So, yes, it doesn’t take much to get me reaching for the Kleenex box but I was quite surprised at how deeply I was moved by the remarkable progress Congresswoman Giffords has made since being shot and surviving severe brain injury just 10 months ago.


I’m not even sure what I got so emotional over…it was a well constructed report and the producers did a good job of building the story for the maximum emotional response  but my response was less about the content and more about the images…I was fixated on the hospital video clips that showed the Congresswoman’s trach and her all-too-familiar medical supplies( I couldn’t help but compare them to what Rudy uses) and then was struck by the image of her in the interview looking bright and beautiful with barely a scar where the trach used to be.  I was mesmerized by the familiarity of hearing her first whispered words (similar to Rudy’s) as she relearned not only how to talk but how to talk with a trach (!) and then contrasted that image with her animated responses to Diane Sawyer’s questions.  Although the circumstances of her journey are vastly different from Rudy’s, there is much in her story that I can relate to and I couldn’t help but be profoundly encouraged.  I have a new favorite quote that came out of the special.  It wasn’t clear to me if the quote came out of their new book or was part of Diane Sawyer’s scripted report but it went like this… Their story is about “the courage you need when the life you live is not the life you planned and you learn there have to be many definitions of ‘a beautiful day’”.  Yes, yes…so many definitions!!


On a much smaller scale, I hope we can be that kind of encouragement to others too.  I was in Kmart the other day with Rudy and the cashier peppered me with a handful of very direct questions about Rudy while he rang up my purchases.  He was visibly disturbed when I quietly explained that Rudy was born with half a heart.  He stumbled through his next few sentences and as he finished processing my payment, he apologized for being too intrusive to which I replied “No, it’s okay.  I don’t mind, besides, it’s important you know you just played peek-a-boo with a miracle!”  The smile that came over that cashier’s face was priceless…I was smiling too and that’s not something I do very often in our Kmart.  Oh, that God would bring more and more encouragement…and not only an abundance of encouragement for ALL of us but also the ability for us to recognize it and be touched by it when we do recognize it which will then inspire us to do more than we think is humanly possible.  Thank you for being that kind of encouragement to us for so long.  We are so grateful!


Speaking of videos and progress and talking and miracles…check out our little school boy reciting his abc’s!!!!!!:


22 thoughts on “Caught Off Guard

  1. Oh what an encouragement you are, Trish…and Rudy and Rolf and Wil and Max and Olivia! You all are such a blessing in the ways that you have continually redefined what it means to have a beautiful day! Thank God for your faithfulness, perseverance and joy…you are all beautiful!

  2. Wow! Yay Rudy, great alphabet. Thank you SB Geylings for being such great examples of living beyond yourselves in His grace and strength. Blessings for you all. much love, the mn brews

  3. Amazing! Simply amazing! Rudy I am so proud of you. You learn quickly and easily it seems. Way to go! You are amazing and your teacher must be doing a good job of teaching you. Keep up the good work. Love you more, Grandma Jo

  4. Trish – this is simply REMARKABLE. Thank you for this lovely, encouraging narrative – and the video? Hard to believe this is the same small person we have been watching so closely for so long. What a journey. Thanks be to God for the miracle before our eyes here – and continuing prayers for healing and health for our gorgeous boy!

  5. Truely a miracle boy !!!!!!!! Of course the talking would be even better without the fist in the mouth. Cant wait to see you …

  6. Rolf and Trish: Lately, I often contemplate my situation and compare it to what others are facing in this life. God immediately puts things in perspective and I just want to get down on my knees and thank him for his presence and power to keep my eyes on Him and not on circumstances. Life dishes out horrible stuff…sometimes unimaginable trauma and seemingly impossible to cure health issues. When I think about me, I can’t help but go to Rudy’s life and what he has had to endure…..and you, as his parents, trusting and hoping for the smallest of improvements to give him more time with you and us. My life will go on, and my focus is on just taking one day at a time, and trusting God for the balance. I pray with all of my heart that little Rudy will be the truly miracle child whose life touches so many people that they cannot look at THEIR lives, without seeing and understanding that there are OTHERS, like Rudy, who can smile, in the midst of suffering, and GIVE to us, more than we can ever receive from anything else.
    Yours and Rudy’s example are a testimony to hope and grace.
    We love you all.

  7. You had me at…”playing peek-a-boo with a miracle.” *sniff, sniff, SNORT*

    These posts move me in a way nothing else does. Thank you for sharing your lives with us so profoundly. You guys are amazing.

    And now, with the A-B-C Song in my head, albeit in slo-mo, I’m off to bake cookies to take to Austin, TX for my sweet grown up daughter.


  8. Ok, where is my box of tissue? I’m a sniffling idiot right now. That is so precious and heart warming there aren’t words to describe. Thank you for sharing that! I love you guys! Love, Kelly

  9. I love reading your posts and am always encouraged by what you share whether it be good news or bad. You remind me that God is with me in the big stuff and in the little stuff.

    Way to go Rudy with the abc song!!! Way to teach him, too, Max.

    I cry at the drop of a hat… without needing the hat! Loved “Little House on the Prarrie”, too. Monday nights when dad would come home I’d be crying and he’d know what I was watching!!!

    Love, hugs and blessings to you all, Jo

  10. Loved the story. Hard not to smile reading about the clerk’s big ole grin. Beautifully written….you both have a way of bringing us into the story…almost feels as if we were there.

    So great to see Rudy’s progression…he even has an ipad. He’s more technologically advanced than most!!

    Thank you for sharing. We love you clowns!

  11. Shedding a few tears with you all today as I read your story about the clerk’s interest in Rudy and your great and true comment about him playing peek-a-boo with a miracle. Rudy is such a testimony of God’s miraculous love. Watching him sing out the letters of the alphabet with gusto…and stopping to roll and kick Max…such signs of God’s goodness! And Max’s patience and cuteness…ahhh…my heart is full of gratitude.

    Love to you all!

  12. I was beyond impressed with Gabrielle’s progress, as I also am with Rudy’s! Both are miracles in their own special ways. Rudy captures my heart anew each and every time I see or HEAR him!!!
    It is awesome to personally know a miracle.

    Sending love –

  13. Rudy, I really enjoy watching you recite the A,B,C’s….and I even heard you say…”Now I kno”. You are talking up a storm! I’m sad that we only have one school day this week with you, Marie and all the other Bear Club friends! But turkey is such good brain food…just think of all the super activities we will do in the weeks to come!

    Luv ya, Christy

  14. Y’all’s journey is such an inspiration to us all. It’s amazing to see how good things can come out of hardships.


  15. How great to see Rudy doing so well. He is so cute and looks like a very happy little boy. Looks like he is progressing rapidly. I keep tabs on him – makes my little aches and pains so miniscule, but then I am almost as old as your Mom, so you know I have a few. I am recovering from total knee replacement at the moment and Bob just had a pacemaker installed, but we are thankful to be doing so well. Give Rudy a kiss for me.

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