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Inspiration sometimes comes when we’re placed in front of it
Nov 10, 2012 6:40 pm
“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” – Paulo Coelho
The Felkins family’s tour of Wilson County’s churches Sunday led us to a rather unexpected and unforgettable experience, which led to the realization God puts us in just the right place at the right time.
As many newcomers do in a community, visiting churches is significant when it comes to worship with like-minded individuals each striving to become one body with a common goal.
We visited College Hills Church of Christ a couple of Sundays during our first few weeks as Lebonites. In an effort, however, to get a source of comparison, we visited Maple Hill Church of Christ on Sunday.
Maybe it’s appropriate to understand church in Lebanon, so far, is backwards to what we are used to in Alabama. Certainly not in content or teaching, rather it’s the order of events that’s different.
In Alabama, churches meet early Sunday mornings for Sunday school prior to services. Here, it’s the other way around. And you know, I kind of like it the way you guys do it here. It’s just different, that’s all.
Following an inspirational service, we whisked our children off to their respective classes before settling in at a young couples’ class. My wife and I figured we fit into at least one of those demographics – and they had doughnuts – so we were in the right place.
To our surprise, the Sunday school teacher spent a few minutes teaching before introducing a guest speaker. I paid little attention to the gentleman sitting in front of me until he was introduced and wheeled himself to the center of the room.
I say wheeled because Ronnie Doek has been confined to a wheelchair since college when a trampoline accident left him paralyzed from the chest down.
But confinement may be inappropriate a word to use, because as we found, a word like that is far from Doek’s vocabulary.
Oh he’s able, and he’s certainly able to inspire.
Reluctantly, Doek spent little time talking about his limitations. Rather, he explained how he rose above all the setbacks in his life to become a faithful man who makes the most out of the hand he was dealt.
Many in Lebanon and Wilson County know Doek, so there’s little reason to go through the accident that made his primary source of transportation a mechanical seat powered by a battery and four wheels.
What many may not know is that Doek’s life leading up to that faithful day wasn’t all peachy keen.
In an effort to escape an apparent abusive relationship, Doek and his brothers lived with his father in a small home. He also spent a significant part of his childhood years living with his grandmother.
While at Lipscomb University, the accident happened, but it didn’t stop his ambition and drive to do something with his life.
He talked about learning how to dress himself and do things for himself despite the use of his hands and eventually landing a job with Cracker Barrel in a travel role.
Through it all, Doek said he’s never lost his faith in God. He believes it all happened for a reason.
I believe that, too.
Now I don’t believe that God, in so infinite in His wisdom, allowed everything to happen to Doek so that I would meet him, become inspired and it would change my life. I’m not so universe centered.
But I am inspired, and I do feel blessed to have been at the right place at the right time to hear Doek’s story. Maybe through these words, more people will become inspired. This column is a simple attempt to pay forward what I learned.
I know I’ve suffered setbacks in my journey through life. We all have. Doek’s words and stories make me thankful to God of the blessings I have in my life. I now think about it every time I take a step.
The fact is, none of us know what the future holds, and all of us face setbacks throughout life But, as Doek taught me, it’s what one does with those setbacks that defines one’s character. Learning from the past and looking to the future is really what it’s all about. But nothing happens without God.
Often, I begin my columns with a quote. Maybe a statement from the Apostle Paul is more fitting with which to end.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.
Doek’s living it. Are you?
Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. He may be reached at 615-444-3952 or email@example.com.