Thursday, November 15, 2012

He Lived

If you are Facebook friends with me or with any number of other people in and around or with ties to the Smyrna area, you know by now that on Saturday this world lost a very special little boy named Ryan Logue. Today was the first day of his visitation and his funeral is on Saturday. I knew Ryan fairly well. I've known both of his parents since high school and though our relationships ebb and flow, I've stayed pretty good friends with them since then. I feel qualified to share with you what I am about to write.

I said that Ryan was a special kid. Ryan had muscular dystrophy. It affected him in many ways. He was in a wheel chair, he had very limited control of most of his muscles due to, basically, lack of strength. The MD also affected him in that he was quite prone to pneumonia and other respiratory ailments. He spent a lot of time in Vanderbilt. Even so, I am quite reluctant to call Ryan handicapped. He had a handicap, yes by common definitions. But the thing is, in spite of his problems, Ryan LIVED.

I remember when Ryan was born. I remember hearing that something was wrong. I remember them going to lots of specialists, hearing all kinds of theories, uncertainty and then the diagnosis. This is where Chris and Manika turn into two of my heroes.

It would have been so easy for them to go down the path of "woe is me, God hates me, life sucks, etc." It would have been easy for them to use Ryan as an excuse to withdraw from friends, life, church, family, whomever. It would have been easy to constantly say, "it is just too hard to get Ryan out, we aren't going anywhere." I am sure that sometimes they did that as a matter of practicality but for the most part, they didn't. They embraced their own lives and they gave Ryan an extraordinary life. Ryan rarely missed church (unless it was unsafe, of course, due to an illness or something). Ryan rarely missed social functions. Ryan went on vacations. Ryan played in the snow. Ryan played with friends. Ryan lived.

Because of Ryan, my son does not look at people in wheelchairs weird. They are regular people, just like him. Because of Chris and Manika, I make myself do things, even when I am tired, for the sake of my kids. It is much harder for me to feel good about staying home because I didn't feel like putting Maggie in her car seat and loading her in the car when I consider the process of loading up all of Ryan's gear AND the rest of the kids.  Even when faced with Ryan's death, the Logues were strong, courageous and real. They shared their pain, they let others share with them. They acknowledged God's infinite wisdom and plan. They were as faithful to their God as anyone I have ever seen in the midst of losing a loved one. Before this, I don't think I could do the same. Because of this, I may be just a little stronger because I have a model to follow.

Thank you Chris and Manika for being awesome parents and showing how to love unconditionally. Thank you for being the kind of people that take a bad situation and turn it into something truly extraordinary and beautiful. Thank you Jordan and Hayven for helping Ryan live a fulfilling life. Thank you for understanding when your Mom and Dad had to give Ryan extra attention. Thank you Logues for helping me, my family and everyone you met, understand that a physical handicap is really just something to overcome, not something to keep you down. Thank you for being my friends and thank you for not just allowing, but encouraging and ensuring that Ryan lived life to the fullest. You guys are awesome and I love your whole family.


Julia C said...

Great post. You wrote exactly what I was thinking.

Daniel said...

Well stated, my friend.

Anonymous said...

What a tribute to an extraordinary child and his family. Thank you.

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