In the time it took you to read this opening sentence, your life can change. I've learned that this week in a way I never have before. Two of Ethan's friends in Afghanistan were killed last week in separate roadside bombs. One second they are focused on the job at hand, the next they are gone. The lives of their loved ones have changed forever. In a moment.
On the fourth of July my cousin Jared was in a diving accident and broke his neck. He will be spending the next few weeks learning how to lead an active, productive life from a wheelchair. In the time it took for him to dive into that water, his old way of life is gone. The lives of his loved ones have changed forever. In a moment.
I spent a couple of days at the hospital when Jared was in ICU. Now that I'm home, I've had some time to think back on the experience. Sitting in that little waiting room, person after person stopped by to check on Jared's status and offer support to the family. It was a constant flow of friends from the second Jared arrived at the hospital. A Facebook page has been set up and the numbers of supporters go up every day. Comment after comment offers up prayers and encouragement. Our family is just blown away by the depth of influence and friendships my cousin has in the community, and the lengths some people will go to when they want you to know they care.
I've learned two things (among many) in these tough days. One: A person's true character is revealed when they encounter tragedy in their lives. Two: In tragedy we learn the most precious of lessons.
I don't know why Jared has to suffer. The truth is, sometime life just sucks. Bad things happen to good people. That's life, and we all know it. But I can tell you that when people walk out of Jared's hospital room, they find themselves encouraged and full of life. Jared says he has "Found God", and it shows all over his face. You can't deny it.
I think Jared's wife Jenny exemplifies the lessons I'm learning. In the early hours of the accident Jared was telling her how sorry he was. And she responded with something like this: "Jared, it's still you. And it's still me. And it's still our boys. It's still US. You're life is different now, but it's still a good life." Jared and Jenny's lives changed in a moment. And that change is impacting hundreds of people, making us take a good hard look at our own lives and focus on what is really important.
Jared Walker Smith, you are showing us all what it means to be the hero of your own epic story. I love you so much.


  1. That is tough stuff, Jenna. I am so sorry to hear of such difficult news, but am so glad that Jared's focus is on God. In times of tradgedy are true character and true faith shine through, I just hope I can display that everyday in my life, tradgedy or not. Love you Jenna.

  2. Isn't it amazing how God can use the very worst in our lives to be the most impacting testimony to others? For the first time last weekend Brian and I shared his testimony in front of a large group of people. He shared about how he feels God used him most effectively when he was stuck in a hospital bed not knowing what the next day would bring and not knowing if he would be there to share that next day with his family and friends.

    You're right...bad things happen to good people. But God can and will redeem even the worst things to bring Him glory. It doesn't mean the bad things won't hurt, or make us sad, mad, frustrated, etc...but the Lord is with us and will use the tragedies in our lives in ways we couldn't imagine.

    Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. Please keep us updated on their journey. We will also continue to keep Ethan, Evan, and their friends in our prayers too.

    Much love to you Jenna,

  3. Brooke BlackmoreJuly 19, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    I know the Lord gives and He takes away, good stuff and bad. He tests us, or so it seems and He blesses us---such is the ebb and flow of a journey that a series of moments, if you think about it. It amazes me that even in tragedy, the victims and families can find the goodness within the tragedy. It is almost as if those that are or become disabled MUST do something fantastic and wonderful to show that they CAN overcome what has happened.

    There is always hope, always, and that hope lives in the Love that our Lord and Savior has given us! Whether Jared is healed completely here on earth, or when he recieves healing through his new heavenly body, ultimately, the knowledge that everything will be the way God wants it to be, this moment and the next and the next....

    Blessings to Jared, his family--immediate and extended--the doctors, nurses, and research staff working for a cure for spinal cord injuries...


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