The Day Faith Walked In

It was the day after Christmas, 1993, a day that many of you don’t remember where you were or what you were doing.  But on that day, Tara Stone, a pretty young teenager and three of her friends were riding in a car near Tara’s hometown of Dunn, North Carolina.  Tara was in the backseat when the accident happened.  And, in an instant, her life and that of her family, was changed forever.

Unlike her girlfriend in the front passenger’s seat, Tara did not die that day.  She lived and continues to live today, though not as the vibrant and energetic young woman she hoped to become.  No, Tara lives in a  home not far from her parents, still bedridden all these years.

But you have heard of these stories before, where unimaginable tragedy strikes young people as a result of an automobile accident.  It seems like it happens all too often. 

What makes Tara’s story so uplifting today is her parents, and how they responded.  I first heard her mother, Carolyn Stone, a paralegal from Dunn, tell her story at one of my seminars on Continuing Education in Raleigh a couple of years ago.  I had just finished talking about my own troubles and difficulties and the essence of overcoming adversity when Carolyn spoke up and told what she and her family had gone through. 

I remember sitting there quietly and in complete awe.  Carolyn spoke not just of the accident and the medical treatment and the years in the home where Tara lived, but what Tara’s life has meant to her and her husband Ray.  She considers Tara and her life today as one of God’s great blessings and miracles and is grateful for every day Tara is alive.

There were no lawsuits filed against anyone.  There is today no bitterness.  And no anger. There is still hope that someday a miracle will happen to Tara, and she will dramatically improve, but if not, her life today is enough to make her family happy.

Carolyn was composed and dry-eyed when she told her story, not only to me but to everyone else in the room.  And she smiled. 

I had started that day, knowing I would tell folks a little about my own story, hoping to give some wisdom about overcoming the odds.   I ended that day learning far more from Carolyn about life and hope than I ever knew.

A good friend, who has heard me speak, wrote to me recently, asking me if I didn’t get tired of telling my story.  I thought of that some and then remembered Carolyn, and I knew that was why I do what I do now.  I have said many times I get more from these programs than the ones who attend. 

 On this day, we all got more than we bargained for in hearing Tara’s story.  I am hoping to meet Tara within the next month or so in Dunn and will let you know how she is doing.

As for Carolyn, and her husband Ray, they know something about faith and overcoming adversity…not the kind that goes away in a short time, but rather the sort that lasts a whole lifetime long.  Amazing.

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