Jerry: A Gracious Gift From God
January 23, 2008
It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad, small or large – it’ll be great enough to be imprinted on the person’s mind forever.
In 1978, at the age of 16, I had experienced an event that is somewhat like the type I mentioned above because it certainly changed my life.
I can’t say I’ll never forget it because I don’t remember it happening. The event was so grand, so traumatic, that my mind was forced to step back and rewind my memory bank to the day of my birth. Don’t become confused.
My memory wasn’t exactly destroyed, but, in a sense, stolen. It was at this time Jerry came into existence, and with a virgin memory, yet it was used. I wasn’t dead or kidnapped just sort of put on hold.
I’m not the creator or proprietor of Jerry, nor is he a figment of my imagination or a character in a fiction book. Jerry “was” a real, living, breathing person, and the creator of himself.
For a very, very long time, aside from my mother, he was the only friend I had. Yet, I didn’t know he existed until I no longer needed him.
On August 2nd of the year of Jerry, two friends and I went cruising very late in the evening. It’s unknown whether it was due to the alcohol, the marijuana, the drugs, or just an idiot’s talent that we took the corner off 23rd Street onto Shaw Road a bit too fast.
Fast enough that the little car began to roll and during the process I was catapulted from the back seat out the back window head first.
I guess you could say I was the winner concerning who obtained the most gifts out of the ordeal. My two friends only received minor bruises and scratches while I was awarded a multitude of gifts.
The most outstanding of them were a fractured skull, equipped with blood clots (subdural hematoma), a hole in my head which was later enlarged in surgery to permit necessary irrigation and removal of the blood clots.
In a later surgery this was covered with a fiberglass plate. I also was left with double vision (uncorrectable even with lenses), epilepsy, left-side ataxia, a serious pulmonary problem, a memory bank that was wiped clean, and when I came out of the coma 30 days later my intelligence was below that of a four-year old.
When you add the last two elements together – amnesia and a four-year-olds intellect – you have an instant retard, i.e., “Jerry.”
The awards mentioned above may not sound like a whole lot of fun and they weren’t, but they were all necessary.
Five years after the award ceremony Jerry was given the greatest gift anyone could ask for: He was introduced to God Himself.
As noted above, I was in a coma for 30 days. Imagine how a mother would feel. I was kept alive by machines and the neurosurgeons gave me less than a 10% chance of survival.
To add to that it was assumed that if I miraculously came out of the coma I would never see the age of 21; that I would die the vegetable I had become.
I am not speaking derogatorily of the neurosurgeons that spent hours and worked hard to save me, but those in that type of profession seem to me not to have much of a personality or sympathy. They are basically walking, breathing textbooks.
Yet, they obviously do have a heart and even compassion because they didn’t give up trying to save me and by using a new drug were able to keep me alive. But they had little expectation that my life would be in any way close to “normal.”
My situation was nothing new to them; they had seen it before and knew very well the likely end result. Nevertheless, God had a different plan in mind.
My mother was at the hospital all day every day except to go home to bathe. A few days after the accident, the hospital chaplain asked her if she wanted him to pray for me.
She was a Christian Scientist at the time and affirmations of the love of God and denial of any evil was more the way to handle the situation than prayer.
She figured it couldn’t hurt and responded to the pastor’s question with, “Yes, if you have any connections go ahead.” The pastor prayed that God would let me live, make me whole and for Him to give a sign that the prayer was answered.
The next time my mother went into the ICU room she said I sat straight up and opened my eyes then laid back down. My mother recognized that as the sign the chaplain had prayed for and knew the prayer had been answered.
Soon I was out of ICU and after that I began coming out of the coma, but was unable to sit up on my own and when my eyes were open they just rolled around (maybe checking out that hole in my head).
I was fed through a tube and tied down in my bed except to be sat upright and tied into a wheelchair for bits of time in order to prevent pneumonia.
After another three and a half weeks I was sent to Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup to begin rehabilitation, with little expectation of much progress.
My mother no longer accepts the belief system of the Christian Science religion and regards it as a cult, having become a born again Christian.
Aside from my skull, none of my bones were broken. Due to the brain injury however, many of my body functions were affected. I was unable to do anything for myself.
I had to learn everything all over again – how to walk, talk (first I had to learn how to even make a sound), feed myself (even how to swallow), clean myself, read – basically everything and I had no backup to refer to.
However, God had made a promise and He doesn’t break them. Therefore, there is no need to go on with that story. I continued to get better.
I didn’t really believe in God at that time. As I – well, as Jerry continued to get better, people would tell me that I should thank God for letting me live. No, that was not how Jerry and I saw it.
God did not let me live; He was making me live because He was a horrible, cruel God, if He even existed. And if He didn’t exist, He was a liar for making people believe that He does.
The above thoughts would only come from a confused and distorted mind. I was not a happy person. Being retarded is far from simple or fun, especially since I knew that if Jerry could escape from my own mind I would no longer be retarded.
That certainly was not going to happen anytime soon. At the age of 17, Jerry tried to commit suicide because he could not cope, partly with the way he was, but mostly with the cruelty the world consistently fed him.
He obviously failed at that, and if he couldn’t perform a simple task such as suicide he certainly wasn’t an escape artist.
Around the age of 18 or so, I received a small insurance settlement and all of a sudden Jerry was not my only friend. I had wall-to-wall “friends,” but I didn’t know if they were new or old “friends.”
Nor did I know that they enjoyed my money not me. Yet, none of this mattered for two reasons: (1) There was nothing Jerry wanted more than a friend, and (2) old or new, real, or false did not enter into the mind at that time due to Jerry’s retardation and amnesia may have played a part in it, too.
Amnesia is a very strange land because knowledge is life and without knowledge you would figure there would be no life.
Yet, there can be life without knowledge. No one can truly know amnesia without experiencing it. If you have it you can’t explain it to anyone. You can’t explain it to yourself; you just know you have it.
Let’s use a drunken blackout as an analogy, I’m sure many can relate to that. You don’t know what happened during the blackout so you can’t tell anyone or yourself, but you know you were drunk.
The best way I can define amnesia is: I don’t remember what I forgot, but I remember that I forgot what I should remember.
The two friends that had been in the accident with me had done their best to evade me or they would play cruel tricks on me because they thought it was funny and they didn’t like Jerry.
Yet, when the money came, they were there with their hands out. Of course, at that time I didn’t know they had played cruel tricks on me and I was happy to see them and give them money.
I was quickly introduced to the world of drugs, primarily everyone’s favorite sport: cocaine.
I was still Jerry, but instead of being a stupid, annoying retard that could barely walk or talk, I was a stupid, annoying retard that could barely walk or talk that had money.
Where was mom? Jerry was a terror to her. He threatened to burn her house down if she didn’t give him all the money. All she could do was give him the money and pray, and pray she did.
The money quickly ran out, a great amount of it going into my so-called friends’ veins, as well as my own. Once the money left so did the friends.
Could things get worse?
A few friends stuck around, but the money was gone so the cocaine was too. Jerry’s friends really liked the drugs so he wanted to please them and himself.
In 1983, at the age of 21, I was charged and convicted of four counts of 2nd Degree Robbery. I knew right from wrong, but as a child; not as an adult. Repercussions? Punishment? You mean I have to go to bed early? No dessert?
The judge had pity on Jerry and I was sentenced to one year at Teen Challenge in Seattle, Washington. I really didn’t care for religion, especially if they were going to talk about God, but I figured I could deal with it for a year. The others there made fun of Jerry or stared and made faces or made snide remarks.
The staff frequently scolded me because I didn’t hold my silverware correctly, I was loud, I refused to make up false words as if speaking in tongues (that’s what they thought you did to speak in tongues), etc. After a few days I left and a few weeks after that I turned myself in and stood before the same judge.
The judge was going to let me go back to Teen Challenge and give it another try, but I was not willing. My lawyer wanted the judge to let me go to a different program and I think he was going to allow it, but the prosecutor was against the idea.
Therefore, the judge gave me the choice of going back to Teen Challenge or ten years in prison. Jerry and I didn’t know anything about prison, but we knew we couldn’t deal with Teen Challenge, so we accepted the ten years.
It wasn’t God’s decision that I commit robbery or use drugs, Jerry and I did that all by ourselves. God will not force you or even help you sin, nor even tempt you to do so (James 1:13).
In 1983, I found out that Jesus is real, as real as the sun rises. In 1986, I was paroled and even though I believed and maybe even loved Jesus and wanted to be like Him, I wasn’t as sincere as I had thought.
Jerry was getting much better, and prison did nothing but anger him. Once released, God was pushed to the back of the line. I had decided to have fun and hurt anyone I chose.
In 1987, ten months after my release, I returned to prison under the convictions of four counts of 1st Degree Robbery, five counts of Assault, and two counts of Auto Theft.
About two years before my release on January 22, 1992, I had spent seven months in the “hole” for disciplinary purposes. I spent a lot of time with God and on my release, I, without Jerry’s opinion, immediately moved to San Marcos, Texas, because I knew if I stayed in Washington, I would find myself within the revolving prison doors once again.
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It’s said that once we’re fully developed, bone doesn’t grow, that it can only mend itself.
For example, if an arm is broken, the broken pieces can be fastened together and they’ll grow back together. Yet, if a finger is cut off, a new finger won’t sprout out of the stub. It’s also said that epilepsy doesn’t go away.
At the age of 24, my skull bone grew back, shattering the plate, so that I no longer have a plate in my head. In 2006, I ceased having seizures and taking epileptic medicine.
* * *
I’m sure you figured out I didn’t graduate from high school – Jerry couldn’t spell “graduate,” let alone do it.
I do have my G.E.D., and I’m somewhat educated in psychology, computers, the Internet, Microsoft Word, and a multitude of clerical/secretarial tasks.
I can do small plumbing projects, a bit of carpentry, and I have a driver’s license. I type about 60-70 words per minute and from 1993 to 2004 ran a typing business which I created and was the sole proprietor of.
I closed my business only to return to college where I obtained an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, with a GPA of 3.54.
At this writing, I’m 46 years old and even though some of the damage done by the accident is still with me if you met me you’d have no idea that I’d been in any accident, let alone one that gave Jerry life 30 years ago.
I’m no longer certain that my amnesia is full or if it’s partial because sometimes I remember things from my past prior to the accident.
Yet, I don’t know if I’m remembering the incident or if someone told it to me when I was Jerry.
One thing I do know for certain but can’t explain the feelings, is that I don’t know or remember who I was before the accident.
I’m told that I’m just like I was, but this doesn’t tell me anything. This would be like giving me a hamburger for the first time and telling me this is how they always taste.
If I had never had a hamburger before it tells me nothing about prior hamburgers. It feels as though there’s a hole in my soul. Yet, it actually doesn’t matter because I didn’t know God then, so I don’t want to be that guy anyway.
I tell you of my accomplishments not to boast of myself or for myself, but to boast of how powerful, loving and generous God is. How many retards do you know who have an Associate’s Degree? Or who can type? Drive a car? And, yes, I can spell “graduate.”
All the things I can do and will do in the future are done and will be done only through the grace of God (Eph 2:8-9) and (Phil 4:13). There’s nothing, absolutely nothing that God can’t do (Luke 1:37). and there’s nothing He won’t do for those who love Him (1 Jn 3:22, 1 Jn 5:14-15, Mk 11:22-26).
And of course, if you’ll talk to Him He does answer questions (James 1:5). God isn’t a fantastic, mysterious force that floats around in the atmosphere or outer space.
As humans sometimes it is easier to understand a subject if we have a picture or idea or concept to compare it to.
Let’s use the children’s story Pinocchio for an example where Gepetto made Pinocchio.
Gepetto wanted a son so he sat in his workshop and carved all the body parts out of wood and then put them together. He gave Pinocchio everything he needed to be his son.
He wasn’t created to be a liar. Pinocchio did that on his own.
Now let’s look at God sitting at His workshop as He creates the world and everything in it, which includes you.
He gave you all you need to be His child and all that He asks of you is that you be honest and love Him as He loves you. He didn’t make mankind to be sinners. We did that. Actually, Adam started us off (Gen 3:6). Yet even though we sin God doesn’t walk away from us (Deut 4:31, Isa 41:10, Heb 13:5).
God is a loving, patient God, and he doesn’t want to destroy anyone (2 Pet 3:9), but He will in the end.
I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s worth it.
My release from prison in 1992 didn’t turn me into a Holy Roller or a righteous person. I can’t say I’ve never had any more problems with the law, but I can say that I work daily to please God.
God wishes us to study his Word, the Bible, to know Him and to be like Jesus. As I said, it’s not easy, but if you ask God for His help He freely gives it.
I can honestly say that I’m a new creature(2 Cor 5:17) and Jesus lives in me. It’s a real good feeling, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll not sin (Rom 3:23), but I won’t sin just for the purpose of sinning.
I don’t fear the devil because God will protect me as long as I abide by His commandments (Deut 31:8).
I’d rather be starving to death, living on skid row, be in prison, or even be Jerry again if that is what it took to be with God. But it’s not.
In other words, all you have to do is believe that Jesus was born of a virgin(Matt 1:18; Lk 1:27-28, 31), that He died for us(Jn 4:14; Isa 53:56), and was resurrected for us(1 Cor 15:20-22; Rev 1:18).
Believe me, He didn’t do any of this for kicks and grins or because He was bored, He did it for US, to give us life.
If you have everything except God you have nothing. If you have only God you have it all.
I previously stated that God isn’t easy to understand, and He isn’t, but He’s not that hard to become friends with.
God doesn’t want slaves, robots, or even servants. If that is what He wanted He could have created them. He wants true friends, a family.
The way to become God’s friend is the same way you become with the ones you have on earth: It takes time, energy, and trust.
Adam and Eve had that relationship with God before they sinned. When they sinned He was hurt, but He still found friends, to name a few:
And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God (James 2:23).
I’m sure you sometimes disagree and even argue with your friends. God should not be treated differently. God saw Moses as a friend.
And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend as a man speaketh unto his friend…
And Moses said unto the Lord, See, you sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing that you have spoken: for thou have found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy (Exo 33:11-19).
Are we not the same way? We are; but God being God can be so much more gracious and compassionate, as well as condemning.
In Ps 25:14, King David – a man who was after God’s heart (Acts 13:22) and probably the greatest king who ever lived wrote,
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; And He will shew them His covenant” (Ps 25:14).
King David’s son, King Solomon, the wealthiest and most intelligent person who ever lived, as well as the author of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes said,
For the froward is abomination to the Lord; but His secret is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesseth the habitation of the just (Prov 3:32-33). Also, see (Rom 5:10, James 4:8 and Jn 15:15).
Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If anyone hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me (Rev. 3:20).
It can’t be doubted that God wants us to love Him and be His friend for He loves us and is our friend.
He also wants to give us greater things than we have now, but we are unable to even begin to imagine what they may be because He didn’t create us to understand Heaven fully:
But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
Earlier I had said that when I was released from prison in 1992 I wasn’t a Holy Roller, and I wasn’t, and I’m still not, according to my definition of a Holy Roller (I place Holy Rollers in the same category as a Used Car Salesmen or a politician).
I have no faith in any particular religion, I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I’m a Rebel for Jesus.
To understand the mysteries of God better, I recommend you pray daily for guidance and knowledge.
I also recommend that you read the book “The Pilgrims Progress” by John Bunyan.
This book, if you will read it with the Lord, will lead you directly to Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost.
If I may be of any help, feel free to contact me:
by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Facebook: Curt Stowell1
Until I was about thirty, I did not believe there was a God. I believed the theory of evolution and thought that believing in God was just a crutch to help people deal with the eventuality that they would die. I was terrified about dying too, but couldn’t get any peace from their crutch since it was too good to be true. If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
My parents were nominal Christians when I was growing up and I didn’t see any validity to it. After I grew up, they became devout and developed a relationship with the Lord. They prayed that I would someday come to believe. I wanted God to exist very badly, but it just seemed too good to be true.
Occasionally I would flippantly say something like, “God, if you are there, disappear that chair.” The chair did not disappear. That proved to me that He wasn’t there.
Since I am an engineer, I have been trained in the sciences and I knew that supernatural things were impossible, and therefore, I believed that the Bible was fiction. My mother had communicated some details about the Bible as it related to my life and how I wasn’t living according to the Bible.
Something happened in my life that I would never have expected, but the Bible predicted it. I wouldn’t have known if my mother hadn’t mentioned it. I couldn’t help notice that the Bible had exhibited wisdom well beyond my wisdom (I thought at the time that I had some wisdom, but I was mistaken!).
I decided to get serious about finding out if God really existed (beyond the 10-second disappearing chair test). I decided to ask Him many times a day if He was there, and if He were there, would He please show me in some way that I would recognize. (Quite obviously, if He didn’t exist, He wasn’t bound by my request!)
I probably asked Him to show me if He was there 500 times a day for about 18 months. During those 18 months, many unusual and extremely statistically unlikely things happened during that time. There are three pivotal things that happened during that time that proved to me that He is real and that He had been very patient with me all these years.
The first of the three stood the hair up on the back of my neck. I was experiencing some tough financial times and only had a motorcycle for about a year and a half. I wore the back tire out and needed to take the motorcycle to the shop to have it replaced. I borrowed a car from my Dad since he had an extra one. It sure was nice to drive with a roof over my head when it rained (summer in Florida!), and shopping was so much easier! I borrowed the car for about a week (wasn’t in any hurry to get that tire replaced, was I?).
The third day when I was driving in my neighborhood going home for lunch, I unexpectedly said, “God if you are there, honk twice.” I felt stupid saying such a thing, but within a few seconds, a horn inside the car beeped! In a few seconds when I recovered and recognized that it only went off once, I said, “I said twice!” Then the horn immediately went off twice! The horn had not gone off before that or after that while I had the car for the week.
I started to wonder just what horn went off inside the car. It turned out to be a radar detector that I didn’t know about. There were no police in the area, and actually, you couldn’t go much above 15 mph because there were 90-degree turns about every three houses. This was the first of three impossible things that happened. Why did I say “God if you are there, honk twice.” right then? Then He tried to get away with a single honk, but I noticed that and He honked twice! He has a sense of humor.
The next unlikely event happened very early in the morning. I used to go waterskiing every Saturday morning with my friend Tom. He had the boat and we were both very dedicated and wanted smooth water for skiing. The only way to get smooth water was to get there before anybody else. We were in the ski canal as the sun rose. I had been skiing with Tom for a couple of years.
One Saturday as we were approaching the ski canal in the boat in a no-wake zone, something made me asked Tom if he liked to fish. He responded that the only kind of fishing he liked was when the fish jumped in the boat. Being pretty sharp, I figured that fishing wasn’t his favorite activity!
About a minute later, we were at the end of the no-wake zone and since his seats weren’t screwed down, he asked if I was holding on so he could speed up to get to our starting beach in the ski canal. I said, “Yes” and he accelerated. Instantly hundreds of fish jumped up in the air and 14 of them jumped in the boat! We had never even seen a fish jump in our ski time before or after this time, which was about a minute after he said the only kind of fishing he liked was when the fish jumped in the boat!
The third event was kind of scary. I was baby-sitting my uncle’s house while they were away for the summer. I didn’t mind this because they had a swimming pool and it was a very nice house. One day as I got out of the shower on a Tuesday morning before going to work, when I looked into the mirror over the vanity, I heard inside my head somehow, “SHAVE OFF THE MUSTACHE!”
Every time I looked toward the mirror, I heard the same thing. I was quite nervous at this point. My response was to say out-loud, “OK, I will shave it off on Friday so I can get it tanned over the week-end and it won’t look so funny when I go to work”. As soon as I said that, the voice didn’t come back. This was spooky!
I remembered to shave it off and I got it tanned over the weekend. I didn’t tell anybody that I was going to shave it off. When I returned to work on Monday, I went to my girlfriend’s office to say hi and see if she noticed the change. She looked at me like she was looking at a ghost. I quickly mentioned that I had just shaved off the mustache and there is nothing to be upset about.
Then she said, “yes, but last week for the first time I wondered what you would look like without the mustache” Suspecting something weird because of the horn honking and the fish jumping, I asked if she remembered which day she wondered about it. She said it was Tuesday. Then I gulped and asked if she remembered what time of day it was. She said it was in the morning before work! She remembered everything about the week before because it was traumatic for some unrelated reason.
I was going to church with my girlfriend as I was searching to discover if there was a God. I was still asking God to show me if He was there many times per day. One Sunday, the Preacher (the late Jamie Buckingham) asked if anybody wanted to accept Jesus today. I thought about it and reviewed the facts: I had been asking God to show me if He was there for about 18 months, and many strange things had happened that had never happened before ( I had never seen strange things like during this 18 months).
Three big things had happened: horn honking, fish jumping, and mirror talking inside my head. I finally put it together and realized that I had all the evidence that I needed for total confidence that God really does exist and He has a sense of humor, so I went forward and gave my life to Jesus.
Since then I have been trying to learn more about the Bible and develop my relationship with the Lord. While studying, I discovered that the Bible is the only publication in the history of the world that predicts the future with total accuracy. That is God’s signature. Many “impossible” (for humans) to predict events have come to pass exactly as stated in the Bible hundreds or thousands of years after they were written. There are many predictions yet to be fulfilled.
* * *
Total Gym Replacement Parts
If you have a Total Gym and you need replacement parts, I recommend this company. The wheels on mine gave out, so I went to the Total Gym website to see if they sold replacement part. When I clicked on their link for them all I found was a phone number, so I went to a Search Engine and Huck Products came up.
The price is fair so I ordered them and received them two days later, with instructions on how to replace the wheels, and they work great. It is a family owned business. You can read a little about them directly below.
* * *
In 2003, we started designing and making upgraded replacement parts for the different models of Total Gym. We found that the Total Gym is a great way to exercise and decided to make performance parts especially for the serious Total Gym users. We started in Melbourne Florida using a local machine shop for fabrication.
In 2006, we moved to Tennessee, purchased 4 1/2 acres of land, and built a 3000 SQ. FT shop. We also purchased our first Hardinge lathe and started making the parts ourselves. In 2009, we purchased our second more capable Hardinge lathe, which has a sub-spindle and can machine both sides of a part in one operation. We specialize in making the parts that usually fail like the wheels, cables, handles, foot harnesses, and that sort of part. Our goal is to keep the fleet of Total Gyms operating better than they did when new.
Huck Products is a family business. Randy does most of the work, but the kids (the 5 still at home) come in occasionally to help out and earn some money. Randy is a Mechanical Engineer (AZ State Univ. 1976) and has worked at Texas Instruments on their ABACUS program, Harris Corporation in their Semiconductor Division (has since been sold to Intersil), and Lockheed on the Space Shuttle Program at Kennedy Space Center.
The most important part of this family’s life is the Lord Jesus (testimony) and the details of how this business got started and how it has progressed must have been directed by Him.