April 14, 2011

"My son was bitten by a rattle snake and it saved his life."

(The following are bits and pieces of what Garrett's dad wrote and sent to him in a letter last year.  It is his account of how a rattlesnake bite helped change Garrett's life 10 years ago...)

Friday the 13th has been a very lucky day for me and my wife.  Our first date was on Friday
the 13th and we were married in the LDS Manti temple 6 months later, yes on Friday the 13th.
We have five children; the first 2 are girls and the last 3 are boys.  They are all just 10
years apart and when the oldest daughter got married in the San Diego temple our lives
were 'perfect'......We were active in the church, served in many callings, and attended the temple regularly. We had lived our lives true to the teachings of the Gospel of Christ and were sailing along in the perfect love the Savior has promised when we live His commandments. 
As parents, we became lulled by the belief that our children were almost perfect. 
Then our boys started showing signs of disbelief. Our 2nd boy started associating with kids that thought that the church leaders were no fun, a bunch of jerks, and never did anything fun.  The seminary teacher was a 'real nerd' and going to seminary was a 'waste of time'. There were no 'cool'
active kids in the church to hang out with and going to church was boring. Where did all
this come from? We as parents did not see it coming until it got here. We did our best to
try to help our son see that the programs in the church are designed to help each
of us become better people and gain a testimony that Jesus is the Christ and our Savior and that it was up to us to gain a testimony that will help us while we are going through this life.....Well the two girls understood that part but our 2nd boy, Garrett, did not. 
 Over the next 5 years, Garrett became very rebellious. We as parents
believed in tough love and did administer that on many occasions. I remember one time in
particular we had restricted Garrett from living in our home for not living by our rules. We live in
Southern California and it was a January night and it was raining.  Garrett knocked on the door
and asked if he could sleep in his room for the night, I told him that he could not but that I
would give him a tent and a sleeping bag and blankets which he could take and sleep outside with for the night.  But even things like this did not seem to help him understand his life was messed
 His mother was just about to have a nervous breakdown when we both realized
that we were not going to be the ones to change him; it would have to be some type of
intervention by the Lord if he was going to change so we turned Garrett over to God and said, 'We have done our best now it is up to you.  Please help him. '

It was Friday the 13th, and I was taking my wife out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary 
when we got one of the best phone calls of our lives.  It was Garrett.  He was screaming
in pain.  
He said he was running down the hill to meet a friend and thought that while he was running he stepped on a stick and got poked only to realize that a rattlesnake had actually bit him in the ankle.  He said that his friend was taking him to the hospital and to meet him there.
Well we were in shock and as we walked into Garrett's hospital room, we could see
the pain on his face as the doctor was administrating the anti-venom. The doctor said
that Garrett would be fine but was going to be in a lot of pain for a while and needed to keep
his leg elevated for several weeks to allow it to heal and the muscle to repair.
We took Garrett home.  The pain was so bad that he seemed to be crying almost all the time for
the first few days. The pain was not too bad if he kept it elevated but when he had to go
to the bathroom or wanted to take a shower the pain was excruciating.
It took 3 months for Garrett to recover and since we were busy people we were not home
most of the time during the day and Garrett was in his bedroom by himself.  It was there that
he later told us that he started to realize that if he wanted to have a marriage someday that was
eternal and forever, he was on the wrong road to it.  He started to realize that his current
friends were into drugs, parties, and seeking pleasure in worldly things and he did not want
that anymore.

So one Sunday morning about 9am, I came upstairs and there was Garrett: all dressed up in his
Sunday clothes which he had not worn in several years. I was shocked and asked, 'What
are you doing?'
Garrett said, 'I am going to church with you today.'
I told him that church did not start until 1pm and he said, OK.
Now I know what would happen with the old Garrett: there is 4 hours from now until church starts and his friends are going to show up and he is going to take off with them.  I just knew that was going to
happen but was praying that it wouldn’t. Well to my surprise, when Garrett’s friends called, he
told them that he was going to church with his parents.
And he did.
The bishop of our ward was one or our best friends, had known Garrett since he was little, had watched him grow up, and was as concerned about Garrett as anyone. 
As they met, the bishop gave Garrett a hug and Garrett told
him that he would like to talk to him if he had time.
Garrett told the bishop how he had come to realize that he
was heading in the wrong path and wanted to change but needed lots of help......Since that day, Garrett has been a changed man.
He still had challenges and temptations.  
Friends still wanted to go party.
Garrett would say no.
They would say, 'Let’s just do it one last time.'
I remember Garrett's answer: 'Remember the
last time we partied?  Well that one
was the last time.'
Since then Garrett has served a full time mission for our church in the Baltic States, has gone to college, met a bishop's daughter, proposed to her, married her in the LDS Alaska temple, is in Minnesota going to chiropractic school, and his wife is about to have their first child.  Garrett is the happiest person that I have seen.....and it all started on Friday the 13th when the Lord intervened in a young man's life--using a
rattlesnake to do so--at the request of his parents through faith and prayers. 

Love, Dad

As much as I hate snakes, I must say I am quite grateful for that one, and its impact on Garrett's life is definitely worth celebrating.

So while Garrett's parents celebrated their wedding anniversary yesterday, we celebrated 10 years since Garrett's snake bite by going to a San Diego Padres game.
So much fun (even though I'm not a big baseball fan)!

It was a perfect way to spend the day together and celebrate our many blessings.
I love my Garrett.
I love our Kenadie.
I love our life together.


George and Heidi Skinner said...

AHHHH! Seriously, this had me almost laughing and crying at the same time! It's amazing how one thing can change the course of a person's life!

And ps-his dad is a great writer! :)

Tara and Bryce Raleigh said...

wow that is an awesome story made me cry.. love your little family!!

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