Rick L.

Rick L.

from MO
Story #338
The year was 1989, I was 19 years old, strong in stature and had been raised in a Christian church and attended a Christian school through out grade school. I had faith in Jesus Christ and the power of prayer. I was blessed with an incredible loving father who had finally seen the realization of his dream, but we soon would find this dream turn in to a night mare that would rock my faith to its core and put me on a path of self-destruction and doubt.

After many years of living in the City and raising a Christian family of five, my parents were finally able to purchase a piece of ground in the country and have the opportunity to build. With the purchase of a single wide trailer and the newly dug and poured concrete walk out basement addition, my Dad who was an accomplished carpenter began to add on and build his home his way.

It was going to be a relatively simple addition of a family room, a sewing room for Mom and a Master bed room above a walk out basement shop for Dads wood working, all built on to encapsulate the mobile home. The first plan was to place steel beams under the mobile home and inserted into the pockets in the concrete basement wall and resting on the concrete pads that had been poured on the uphill side then weld everything together so that it would all be tied together as one unit.

Dad had called me and made plans that I would come over and help him one Saturday with the placement of the beams under the home. I went to bed the night before just as I had done every other night but when I awoke the next morning I had a message in my head I didn’t understand, but I was compelled to tell my wife before I left that if for some reason anything happened she should know that I would be OK.

When I arrived at my Dads house that morning he began to lay out the plan for the project, how we would jack up one end of the mobile home and place the three beams under the home, one on the far end, one in the middle and one at the jack end. He had already placed the beams on the ground in the locations where we needed them so all we would have to do is slide them under and lift the one end in to the pocket of the wall. Unfortunately in his haste to get ready he had slightly strained his back when locating the beams the night before, so he said he could push easier than lift and asked if I would do the lifting of the beams into the wall sockets, so of course I was willing and ready to do that.

We proceeded with the lift and placed the jacks and raised the home to the height need and I had slid in-between the home and the foundation, we had the first beam in place and were preparing to place the one nearest to the jacks leaving the center one for last. Dad had struggled to push the beam and asked me to trade places, thinking the lifting may actually be easier so I obliged and stepped out from between the house and foundation trading places, as I was walking around the end of the home I saw it slowly settle and slide toward the foundation wall, I ran back around hoping that Dad had not been able to get in there before it slid but to my dismay, the agonizing scream I heard before I rounded the corner told me he was being crushed.

What I saw when I reached the other side haunts me to this day, my Dad was being smashed between the house and the foundation, the foundation wall was hip high and he was bracing his upper body up with his arms on the top of the foundation wall as the home at his back was sliding over the top like one scissor blade passing over another.

His screams of agony and cries for help kicked my reaction in to over drive, I dove under the house to make sure he hadn’t already been cut in half and then began shoving boards in between the home and foundation, my Mom hearing the scream came running and I told her not to come around the house but to call 911 because Dad was smashed under the house, so she ran to the portable handset of the phone as we didn’t have cell phones. In fact the use of 911 was still new to our area and we didn’t even know if it would work.
I ran back around and placed a ladder against the foundation and climbed to the top of the wall to help hold my Dad up as his arms were giving out. Here I was holding up the man that had held me up in his arms my whole life, my hero, my friend, my rock. A man who I had never seen cry was now moaning and hanging tight to me as his tears ran down my back, soaking through my shirt, as he begged me to get him out.

I climbed back down and prayed as I ran, first that Jesus would not let my Daddy die, and secondly that Jesus would give me the strength to push this home back off my father. You see we were seven mile from the nearest town and the volunteer fire Department. It didn’t take much calculating to know it was going to be a while before any help would arrive. I pushed with all my heart, with all my strength and with all my faith, but the home just wouldn’t move.

I returned to the ladder and held my Dad once again. Through the screams I heard Mom yelling to the neighbor who had heard the commotion and asked what was going on so I told her to tell Calvin her husband to bring a tractor and a chain so we could drag this trailer off of Dad, knowing that Calvin had farm tractors that would move a mountain, and he would have his C.B. radio on.

As I am holding my dad up I knew I had to try to keep him from going into shock and that I needed to keep him calm and talking, so I began to try and talk to him but the only thing I could get to come out of my mouth was I love you Dad, I love you Daddy, I'm trying, help is on the way, I love you Daddy, and each time he would answer, I love you son, I know but you gotta get me out of here it hurts so bad.

The time seemed to be passing so slowly, as my Dad was in agony and I was dyeing inside helpless and beginning to become angry and feeling as if the Lord had abandoned us. The next thing I knew there was a county sheriff appeared and in his shock asks what can I do, to my dismay I remember snapping back your supposed to be her to save us and you don’t have a clue, start putting more wood between the house and the foundation to keep it from cutting him in half.

After what seemed to be an eternity, I began to hear the fire trucks as they came down the road and pulled to a stop on the road in front of the house. The firefighters began to crawl under and assess the situation and my Dad, they brought air bags which they planned on using to push the house off of my Dad. An EMT came to me on the ladder and asked me to step down out of the way but I didn’t want to leave my Dad, and I told him that but he looked at me and said, you’ve done a good job helping but now it’s my turn, let me help.

I stepped down and the EMT shot up the ladder and took my place, it was at that point the firemen began to holler to call another local department for another air bag because one of the air bags needed had been punctured in the process of airing it up. I was devastated as I knew it would be another thirty to forty-five minutes before the replacement air bag would get there, then suddenly I hear Calvin’s voice asking what can I do, so I yelled at him to hook the tractor up and pull the house off of my Dad.

Calvin ran to the tractor up on the road and his seventy year old Dad who I affectionately referred to as Paw paw, dove under the house with the end of the chain, he had the grace and strength of a young man, he was shoving firemen out of his way as he went. He placed the chain and hooked it to the tractor and the tractor easily pulled the home off of my Dad.

As I watched them prepare my father for the ride in the air ambulance, my temper began to boil over, I began to verbally curse God for abandoning us for not giving me the strength to move that home and to get my Dad out, for making my Dad suffer. Calvin who approached me tried to calm me but I was beyond control, it wasn’t until he smacked me in the face and told me I had to be strong for my Mom that I quit hollering at God and returned to my Dad as he was being taken to the helicopter.

Another neighbor loaded us in his car and took us to the hospital, forty five minutes away, in Kansas City where my Dad had been taken. During the process of rescue the neighbors had called my wife who then placed calls to all of my siblings informing them of the situation and the destination of the air ambulance.

It was this event that drove a wedge between me and Jesus Christ and made me begin to traverse a slippery slope that would cause me to separate from my church and venture through the building and loss of a company, the building and near demise of a marriage and years of nightmares and flash backs that kept me from my Dad as he recuperated and even finished with the help of my brothers the construction of the house.

Then as the Lord does when the time is right he revealed the light that I was too blind to see. One day while my wife and some friends and I were riding horses at a park I met a man who had many of the same interests I had at the time. We became friends that day and in discussion he asked where I lived and when I told him he said he attended church right around the corner from my house and said that I should come some time. I told him that I wouldn’t be interested and that I didn’t find the need to attend a church as I had been abandoned at a time of need, of course this peeked his interest and he asked me to explain, so I told him the same story I just told you. He didn’t pry any more or pressure me for my attendance but he would show up and visit and talk after each service on Sundays.

One day he brought his wife over and introduced her to me, she said he had told her about my story but she wanted to hear more as she was a nurse and was interested in hearing how it all had happened, so I began to tell her the story, and when I finished she said, Rick, this is why you have stopped believing in Jesus, and I answered yes. She began to break down the very story back to me, and this was the outcome.

She said Rick when you were in the middle of this accident and were trying to get your Dad out what was the first prayer that you prayed? I answered her and said that it was that Jesus wouldn’t let my Daddy die. She then asked well did your Dad die? No I said in fact he is doing really well. Then she asked, and what was the second prayer you prayed? And I told her that it was that God would give me the strength to move that house off of my Dad, and she said Rick don’t you see, Jesus answered both prayers that day. I said well maybe one of them but not both, so he went on to explain, It was my direction to have the neighbor bring his tractor that pulled the house off of my Dad, and how when they were prepping my Dad for the flight she asked did they put these funny pants on him then blow them up with air, and I said yes they did. She then explained that they did that to keep him from bleeding to death from internal injuries and that if I had pushed that house off of him he would have bled to death before the ambulance would have gotten there.

I was crushed, I was so blinded by my own plan and my own ideas that I didn’t see that Jesus had truly answered BOTH of my prayers that day. I began to cry as the shame of what I had done and how I acted swept over me, and then they took me in their arms and said its ok, just as Jesus' mercy saved my Dad his mercy has already forgiven me for my lack of faith. I began to look back at all my difficulties and could see Jesus' hand in everything I had been through. And a weight was lifted from my heart that I had become so used to that I didn’t even know it was there until it was gone.

I began to attend that little church and grow my faith, then just as mysteriously as he had brought my pastor friend in to my life, he called him home. But before he went he left me with his study Bible that his Grandma had given to him to go through the seminary, so I used that Bible and I studied and grew my faith stronger than it ever was before and can now look at every struggle and see Jesus Christ's hand in my life. It may take some searching but it is always there, he never leaves my side.

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