Twenty-two years ago, on their way to a church Christmas program most of the Jirovec family were involved in a horrific automobile accident.
Some of the family members escaped with minor injuries; some did not.
One of the Jirovec boys, Jonathan, was killed.
The twists and turns of what happened to the Jirovec family as a result of the accident were bizarre and tragic. I won’t share them with you here, but I do want to share a result.
Nathan Jirovec was believed to be dead. But he was not. He suffered massive head trauma that led to a long hospitalization and years of painful therapy. Medical experts gave Nathan and his parents very little hope that their son would ever be able to live a normal life.
But Nathan and his parents placed their hope in something greater. They didn’t understand why God would allow this accident and the loss and suffering to their family. But they trusted in God regardless.
Speaking or walking normally again was not in the cards for Nathan.The damage to his brain permanently disabled one arm. But he was tenacious and unsinkable.
Nathan’s family refused to treat him differently than their other children. Nathan refused to treat himself differently. He pushed himself and did not accept the limitations his body forced on him.
Today Nathan speaks with hesitation and he walks with a limp. One arm hangs cocked in front of his body, useless. His mind works faster than his body but his tenacity and unquenchably positive outlook continually blow past his physical “limitations.”
Nathan Jirovec has overcome challenges most of us will never face. Limitation is not in his lexicon.
When he could master power equipment “single-handed” Nathan began his own lawn business. That morphed into operating monstrous harvest equipment in rural Oregon and Texas. Then Nathan enrolled himself in college. Just last week Nathan proposed to his sweetheart Manilyn. They’re planning the wedding.
The experts told his parents there was little hope of their son ever living a normal life. Nathan Jirovec has redefined “normal.”
Nathan and his dad came to me more than two years ago. He wanted to tell his story in a book.
Like other things in his life, writing didn’t come easy or fast, but Nate is tenacious. He doesn’t stop when he’s challenged, he digs in.
The manuscript first draft landed on my desk last week. I was not disappointed.
It’s Nathan Jirovec’s story. And now he’s sharing with the world.
Nathan’s story (at least in this book) ends with a message to everyone who has something to share with the world.
This is Nathan’s voice. I want you to hear it:
(excerpted from Finding Nathan)
“God created us to tell our story, and whatever that is, we need to tell it. It would be awesome and wonderful to have Jonathan here, and just imagining him here brings tears to my eyes. I miss him so much.
But I have a responsibility to tell his story.
I have a responsibility to tell my story, and that’s what I’m going to do. I hate that he isn’t with us, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that my life would be more fulfilled if he was here. That isn’t to say that his death was a good thing because it certainly was not, but it is just miraculous to see how something so bad can be used by God to do so much good and reach so many lives.
I feel His purpose is for me to tell my story.
I feel His purpose is for me to tell Jonathan’s story, and that’s why I’m here.
That’s why I’m writing to you.
Even when people stare. Even when people wonder what happened. I am still Finding Nathan.
I am speaking for the ones who don’t have a voice.
I am encouraging you to tell your story no matter how small or how big you think it is.
No matter how significant or insignificant you think it is, find your Nathan and tell your story. I want you to understand that it is important that you tell your story because it will reach somebody.”
Thank you Nathan.