I Have Six Dresses

Dear Reader, please forgive me but I pulled out an article from my newspaper column from August 1, 2015.  Our wreck and my daughter becoming a paraplegic occurred on July 17, 2015. It’s a bit surreal for me to go back and read what I wrote at that time in life but I thought this article was particularly apropos for this week.  And today, as the Jagger Family is on day 12 of a self-quarantine (and I do mean a total quarantine) I’ve decided to spend the next week reflecting on the COVID-19 version of today’s blog.  

I have six dresses, Dear Reader.  When I packed for vacation I mainly just packed short outfits and some capris and summer shirts.  As you can imagine, we never go anywhere too terribly classy on our vacations, and I thought our scheduled trip to Virginia Beach would be just like all of our other trips.

It was not.

Life changed forever on the interstate just outside of Beckley, West Virginia.

Shortly after the wreck, Chad’s step-sister went shopping for me in Charleston, West Virginia.  My femur break is almost at my right waist. There is a rod that was inserted through my knee and runs up to my waist.  The rod is mine to keep forever. My “good leg” was cut to the bone. My upper body is an interesting case study of the multiple colors of the rainbow.  Shorts and T-shirts don’t cut it for me! And so, if I am going to go out in public and be clothed (which is always the advisable thing to do) I wear one of my six new dresses.  In fact, since July 17 I have worn nothing but a hospital gown or one of my six dresses. (I prefer the dresses to the hospital gown.)

So many times in life, Dear Reader, I think we as people focus on what we don’t have. . .I don’t have the latest technology.  I don’t have newer fashionable clothes. I don’t have the house I want. I don’t have the relationship I want. I don’t have the job I want–the list goes on.

But what if you and I chose to focus on what we do have. . .

  • I have six dresses.
  • I have a walker and a wheelchair which enable me to be mobile.
  • I have my husband, a man of integrity who amazes me more each and every day with his strength and humble demeanor.
  • I have a daughter who loves the Lord with all her heart and seriously, can find the good in any situation.
  • I have a son who has grown up so much in the last two weeks and amazes me with his steadfast love and concern for others.
  • I have the sun in the morning in Atlanta just like I do in Indiana.
  • I have a big smile which can be shared with others and believe me, down here at Shepherd’s Center, where everyone is facing tragedy, this is a huge gift.
  • I have God’s Holy Word and have the ability to read and  understand it.
  • I have the promise that my paralyzed daughter will walk again and it’s just a matter of timing whether it is in Heaven or here on earth.

In many ways my family is the same as we were before the wreck.  In many ways we are different and it doesn’t have anything to do with paralysis or wheelchairs.  Alissa and I were looking at some Facebook posts the other night and she asked, “Really, Mom? This is what people post?  This is what people complain about? This is what is on people’s minds?” And we looked at each other and almost simultaneously said, “And that used to be us.”

You know, Dear Reader, one of my biggest fears is that we will go back to being like we were before the wreck.  How can we possibly have learned anything from all of this if we focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have?

I have six dresses.  But Dear Reader, I have so. . .much. . .more!

And so do you!

My article concluded with these final words.  Amy J. Jagger is a wife and mother from Indiana who is currently in Atlanta, Georgia at rehab with her daughter who is now a paraplegic.  She recently sat in the cafeteria and watched a teenager whose only way to text was with her tongue. Amy J. prays she and her family will continue to focus on what they do have.

Until the next Wednesday, the Lord allows.  Thank you for reading and sharing the blog.