This is the first of what I plan to be an ongoing series named Everyone Has A Story. The title sums up what it will be about. Amazing stories of people who when asked, tend to think their lives rather ordinary and nothing special not realizing the significant impact their lives have on other people. But if you were to ask a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker about their perception of that same person more than likely a totally different light will shine upon them. Truth is, most of us never see ourselves as others see us and we don’t realize the difference we make in other people’s lives. Most important of all we don’t see how God is using us to make a difference to someone. Seemingly small insignificant acts can have a huge impact on someone completely unbeknownst to us. Choosing the first person whose story I endeavor to tell was easy because she is one of the finest women I have ever had the privilege of knowing and her unwavering faith in God is an inspiration. Her name is Linda Hill.
The first thing you notice about Linda when you meet her is how tiny she is. She stands under five foot tall and she weighs 97 pounds on a good day. Linda and I met at church and we were immediately drawn to one another. As our friendship grew and we shared the details of our past and present life, we were amazed at just how often we journeyed the same paths in life and how much we had in common. When I first met Linda I was aware that she had suffered a tragic accident of some sort, but eventually she shared her whole story with me. It is with her permission I share her story.
Linda was born and raised here in Kentucky, more or less where she now lives and her childhood, to put it mildly, was less than idyllic. Her mother was an alcoholic who had abusive tendencies and her father while a good man was away working most of the time leaving Linda to protect and raise her younger sister. She married young and in a very short time she found she had left one abusive home for another. She had five children and while her children were very young, her husband had an accident that left him confined to a wheel chair for the remainder of his life. That left Linda with the responsibility of not only raising the children, caring for her husband but also providing for them all financially. She did this by cleaning houses, several a day generally six days a week. Despite her challenging and abusive, lonely situation she looked for and found happiness in each day and took comfort and solace in God whom she loved.
Then several years ago Linda was at home with her husband and the phone rang. Her husband had the phone on his wheel chair and Linda got up to answer it. It was cold and they had a space heater sitting on the floor and as she walked across the room she tripped and fell over it. She was aware she was falling but it happened so quickly she could not brace herself and the next thing she knew, she had fallen flat on her face landing in the wall. As she lay there on the floor, she knew she was badly hurt. She couldn’t get her body to work or to get herself up off the floor. She told her husband that she needed help, but time and the accident he suffered did nothing to humble or gentle his spirit and he did nothing to help her or even call for help. Somehow she managed to get up off the floor and the next several days were a blur with Linda not remembering much. Over time she has been able to piece together some details, like the fact that her children knew that she was badly hurt but despite their desperate pleas she refused to let them take her to the hospital. For eight days she functioned, walked around, took care of her daily chores and then the last day her children once again came to check on her. They found her sitting in the backseat of her car, dazed and clutching her Bible waiting for someone to take her to church. This time they didn’t ask, they took her to the local hospital. Now here in rural Kentucky, our health care is not much and the first hospital released her stating that they didn’t find anything wrong. Her kids knowing that was not the case and that their mother was in dire need of help got her to another hospital and this time what they found astounded every doctor that saw her. Not only had she broken her hip and shattered her arm but she had broken her back and neck-the same injury to the back and neck that put Christopher Reeve in a wheel chair rendering him a quadropelgic for the rest of his life. All the doctors that examined her could not believe or explain the fact that she had been walking around at all much less for that many days. They said she should not even be alive let alone walk or move, she should have been paralyzed. They said she was nothing short of a miracle. As she was examined, her injuries were the worst possible they could be. In many cases her bones were so soft they didn’t even break, they just crumbled. Her hip and arm were surgically repaired and initially the doctors put her in a halo which she wore for four months, the doctors praying that healing would take place and would prevent them having to operate on her neck, but sadly that was not to be the case. Roughly four months later, a steel rod was put in Linda’s neck and the back of her head.
As time passed, all things considered, Linda made a miraculous recovery and with the exception of cleaning houses, she was able to pretty much return to normal life. There were certain things she loved to do, like playing a killer piano and singing in church, that she couldn’t enjoy like she once had but all in all, she fared well and was ever grateful for all that God had done for her. Then late this past summer she started to notice a little scab on the back of her head and she started having headaches. Eventually the back of her head started to hurt badly and now was draining what was obviously infection and it couldn’t be ignored any longer. She went back to the surgeon who had operated on her and he revealed that the rod that was inserted to repair her neck had started to break thru the skin and was working out the back of her head. She had developed a serious infection in her head and surgery would be necessary but not before the infection was addressed. When he was finally able to operate the surgeon prepared Linda for the worst. He believed her would have to put her back in a halo for a period of time so they could continue to treat her infection and then operate again to replace the rod. But once again, God had different plans for her and the doctors were amazed yet one more time. She had healed enough that not only did she not need to have the halo, but the rod would not need to be replaced. She did however required daily iv treatments of antibiotics for a couple of months for infection.
Today Linda still suffers with terrible headaches, but is grateful for all God has done for her. The thing that leaves me in awe of Linda is her unwavering faith in God and her true humility. In all the time I have known her, I have never, ever heard her complain. She means the world to everyone at church and she is the first to play a little pranks and give little gifts to people. When she talks of surviving what should have taken her life, she has told me time and again that she guesses God wasn’t done with her yet. She knows He has something she is supposed to do but doesn’t know what it is. But I can answer that easily and without reservation, she is truly an inspiration to every one she touches and she one of God’s best ambassadors.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.