If you are looking around and feeling like the world is bereft of heroes, allow me to introduce you to a family made up of them. We need to know that grace abides in the world. Here is grace. In buckets.
When young SGT Michael “Mike” James Stokely was killed in action near Yusufiyah, Iraq, his father Robert penned a moving memorial which the Mudville Gazette picked up.
Robert Stokely then created a scholarship foundation in memory of his son; it also raises money to send school supplies to Iraqi children.
While he was grieving his son and establishing that very noble charity, there was a great deal more going on in Stokely’s life:
Five months later, [Stokely and his then-13 year old daughter Abby] were broad sided by a driver who ran a stop sign at 45 plus and rolled and flipped us several times, shearing her right rear passenger door away. She spent 18 months recovering from her serious neck, back, and head injury.
Abby had been exceedingly close to her big brother Mike. Upon hearing of his death, she collapsed in her father’s arms:
“he was supposed to chase away my first boyfriend, he was supposed to cheer at my graduation from high school, he was supposed to be an uncle to my children…” These words seared my heart, broken as it was. I shall never forget them. She lost her oldest brother that day, her “Bubs” which she called him short for his nickname, Bubba.
After recovering from the accident, Abby had more to endure; from experience, I can tell you that Lyme Disease, left untreated, can be such an insidious and life-changing illness.
But Abby had even more to endure than that:
As she ended her junior year her best friend for several years had become her first boyfriend – the one Mike was supposed to chase away. But I think he might have let this fine young man who had been so good to his sister in all of her grief, injuries and sickness stay around. A gentleman in every respect was Thomas Broadwater. A fine son and brother-in-law he might have one day made.
But then, on a bittersweet night of sorrow and joy, Robert Stokely and his daughter Abby, and this heroic family, saw the moon over Yusufiyah.
Read the story, and ponder grace.