The boy didn’t talk. He didn’t look up. He didn’t acknowledge much of anything happening around him. His teacher was discouraged ... and discouraging. She said it wouldn’t work. The lady with the K9 therapists thought the teacher might be right. She wasn’t sure if she and her labs would be able to help him, but she pressed for a chance. If they didn’t try, they’d never know.
The dogs worked hard to impress him, but the boy wouldn't, or couldn’t, be impressed. Nothing they did gained his attention. Not a glance. Not a word or even a grunt.
Enter Obi the elder. Undaunted and on a mission, he found keys, counted in barks, opened doors with ropes. He knew when to be to be exuberant and when to be calm. For the effort, there was no response ... until Obi waved goodbye.
With a tiny-tipping of the lips, the barest hint of a smile appeared on the boy’s face.
Obi had pulled off what humans couldn’t. He’d reached and touched a protected place in the boy’s heart and the boy had responded and let him.
The door was open, healing could begin.
Broken by sexual and physical abuse, she sustained emotional fractures yet survived her childhood. When she was older and as soon as she was eligible, she joined the U.S. Army. After basic training, she landed worlds away in Viet Nam where a new set of horrors erupted. More fractures developed in an already tortured soul.
Hurt, anger, distrust and delusions ravaged her mind and still she survived -- homeless on the streets of Philadelphia. To help her heal she needed someone special. Someone who understood her wounds, and her fears. Someone who could see past the ragged clothes, and scruffy feet, the dirt and stink of the streets, and the scars on her heart.
There was beauty and love waiting to grow inside this broken veteran. She only needed someone who could identify with her pain, and could care past her barriers to help her find freedom from them.
Enter Prof. Maria Jordan, a nurse with an acute familiarity with pain, terror and broken trust.
Maria had once been a hostage, and shot repeatedly, at close range during the very beginning of 46 hours of terror. Her good friend and colleague, another nurse, had turned down the killer’s offer of release to stay with Maria. The price had been her life.
Maria had deep understanding and appreciation of the scripture referring to “no greater love ... “ She was living proof that it existed, her subsequent life and career a living testament because of it.
She understood agony, loss and survival and found common ground with the wounded veteran on the streets of Philly who wasn’t just in need of food and medicine, but of compassion, a friend to sing a favorite song with, some new shoes and a pedicure.
The girl who has captivated the hearts of thousands didn’t always look so perfectly preened and majestic in front the audiences she inspires.
At three months old she was emaciated from hunger, riddled with lice and had multiple fractures. She couldn’t eat. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t fly.
The gentle hands of volunteers bathed her, set her fractures, fed her through a tube, prayed and hoped for her recovery. After weeks of struggling, the decision was made, and a date was set. If she failed to stand by the end of the week, she’d be euthanized.
Maybe it was the knowledge that she was near the end that caused her to rally. Maybe God told her He had a job for her to help others who were broken too. Maybe it was because like many ladies, she’d found a special fella who had stolen her heart and she fought for more time with him.
He’d loved her, grieved over her hurts, and consistently encouraged her to get well.
Her special fella’s name is Jeff, and when her day of death arrived, he almost didn’t go visit her. His heart was nearly overwhelmed with sadness at the pain he’d endure if his girl didn’t recover.
Thankfully, she stood, therefore she lived.
Not long later, it was Jeff who was in the battle of a lifetime and his girl was a lifeline of encouragement and determination that helped him face and survive some dark and painful months of battle and recovery from an illness that nearly killed him.
Now they share their story with the world, Jeff and his girl, the graceful and elegant Freedom, his beautiful eagle-friend who sits on his hand, presses her head to his and stretches her once broken wings to reach out to others.
His head hung so low, his soft nose nearly touched the ground. He was in pain and terribly hungry. Emaciated, his bones pressed against his skin and his spirit was so broken, his listless expression was hopeless.
“$400 ... “ that’s what the owner said he’d sell him for and he was even rude about it. That’s what the slaughter-house would give him. He didn’t seem to mind a bit that the animal was in pain and would wait for several days before being hauled off to be killed.
Just a few hours later, the two-year-old horse with the broken body and wounded spirit found himself in a clean stall, with a loving friend at his side. She’d brought him a doctor who’d treated as many of his hurts as were possible to treat, and after the vet was gone, she’d stayed with him while he slept, gently caressing and reassuring him he was finally safe.
His name was Dusty, and in the care of his new family, he went from death’s door to growing into a lively and beautiful friend with a vibrant and outgoing personality. As his adoptive family put it, out of evil came something beautiful and the Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary came about because of it.
There is more to the story, this one and all of the others highlighted before it ...
These are only four brief introductions of sixteen fantastic, true stories, housed in the pages of the Ruby Collection of Tales2Inspire compiled by Lois W. Stern.
This book is free of adult content and strong language and easily enjoyed by readers of nearly all ages.
On a personal note, Maria Jordan is not only a nurse who sets a standard of excellence in both skill and compassion, she's also one of my favorite authors, and close friends. You can get better acquainted with this marvelous lady via her website and book store, marcoujor's musings at marcoujor.com
That's it for this one!
God bless you, thanks for the read, and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity!
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