Happy to be Alive

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 22-03-2010

Jack Rushton, of Tustin, California, was vacationing with his
family along the coast in the summer of 1989. He was body surfing with his son,
John, and was swept by a wave into a rock or sand bar. Its impact broke his
neck and damaged his spinal cord. At the hospital, doctors informed the shocked
and devastated Rushtons that their beloved husband, father and grandfather was
permanently paralyzed. But this did not end Rushton’s active life. He was
determined to celebrating the anniversary of his accident as a new birthday, or
as the beginning of a new chapter in his life. “I did OK in my past life,
so I plan to do OK in my new life,” he said in an interview with the Ensign
magazine in 1994.  

He said it took him about five years to adjust to his condition,
to the necessity of life support. Even after that, it took much more than a
positive mental attitude to face his new challenges. “It was not until I
was prepared to go to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit that
my life was changed forever,” he said. “Then my spirit was healed as
only the Lord can do. He gave me a new heart.”

Once a doctor asked him what brings him more mental peace: is it
to believe that God caused that wave that broke his neck or to believe it was
just an accident? He said it made little difference to him: “I do not know why
this happened. I do not know why little children die, why people die of cancer.
But I do know one thing: there is a loving and kind God, a heavenly Father,
with whose help and power we can cope with any situation that life may bring to
us, we can overcome our challenges and our problems.”

being a quadriplegic on a respirator, Jack Rushton continues to live a life
that is a blessing and inspiration to his family, friends and even millions of
strangers the world over.

About The Author

Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP

Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP is a Catholic priest of the Society of St Paul. He has been engaged in media activities for several years as General Editor of ST PAULS Mumbai. He believes in God's gift of beauty and goodness in every human being, in nature and in every religious tradition, and shares his views and opinions with others.