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An Open Letter to the Congregants of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Kansas

An Open Letter to the Congregants of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Kansas

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Published by Derric Saville
An Open Letter to the Congregants
of the First Baptist Church
of Gardner, Kansas, from Derric Saville

July 21, 2012

I was raised and baptized in the First Baptist Church in Iowa City, Iowa. I have read the bible and am familiar with both the old and new testaments. I attended Sunday School with my family when I was a child, and even continued to attend after my father and sister did not survive an automobile collision which also injured my mother, and me. I continued to believe that although God had seen fit, through some righteous wisdom, to cleave my family in two, I had survived through some miracle. Inside the blue Ford Pinto my skull collided with something solid, whether it was the windshield or roof is immaterial. I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was in a coma for seven days. When I awoke, my skull had a hole in it from where the surgeons dutifully removed the crushed bone and attendant contused brain tissue. My mother also was hospitalized, though her physical injuries were less severe. Members of your church prayed for us because my mother had attended your church and was married in the fold of your arms.

I was exceedingly more fortunate than most individuals who suffer a TBI, in that my cognitive function did not appear to be damaged. I only missed the last two weeks of school at the end of my first grade, just before the summer break. My loving extended family cared for us and made certain we understood our lives were important and that we mattered to them. I grew to believe my life, our lives, had been spared for some greater good, that there was some larger meaning to my survival.

I finished high school, graduated with honors, went onto the University of Iowa, and also graduated from Vermont Law School with a both a Masters Degree in Environmental Law and a Juris Doctor (with honors). My beautiful wife and I moved to Minnesota with nothing more than a dream. Neither of us had ever lived in Minnesota; we had no family, nor friends living there, and no jobs waiting for us. But we believed in ourselves, our strength and our fortitude. My wife, Jeannene, secured a job within the first two weeks and I passed the bar exam that summer. Eventually, I would open my own business, Saville Title Services, Inc., which I still own and operate.

I give you this background so you will understand that I am grateful to have survived such a calamitous event. However, in the past seven years my body has begun to deteriorate from the inside due to an osteo-arthritic condition set in motion from that collision in 1972. I have spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, wherein calcified bone spurs grow into the nerves as they enter my spine. I had the first one removed from my neck in 2005, knowing there was the possibility it was just the first of many. I now have six more (five in my neck and one in my lower back). I also have a bulging disc and a herniated disc in my lower back. I am further plagued by migraines on an average of one every eight days. Pain is a constancy with which I must endure every second, of every hour, of every day, but I manage. As my condition has worsened these past two years, I worked with my doctor to gradually increase the dosage of the medicine used to keep my muscles from a near continuous spasm. As it happens, I am now allergic to that medication. The latest medicine, of which I have only been on for about ten days, is causing the same rash on my limbs, chest and back that caused me to discontinue treatment with the previous medication.

All of the foregoing leads me up to the point of this missive. My body has clearly begun to decay from the inside. It does not appear I was saved those many years ago for any greater good. The world would be no better, nor worse than if I hadn’t survived. My survival has only prolonged my inevitable decline into the constancy of pain, like the slow walk into the headwinds of death. I am compelled to continue movin
An Open Letter to the Congregants
of the First Baptist Church
of Gardner, Kansas, from Derric Saville

July 21, 2012

I was raised and baptized in the First Baptist Church in Iowa City, Iowa. I have read the bible and am familiar with both the old and new testaments. I attended Sunday School with my family when I was a child, and even continued to attend after my father and sister did not survive an automobile collision which also injured my mother, and me. I continued to believe that although God had seen fit, through some righteous wisdom, to cleave my family in two, I had survived through some miracle. Inside the blue Ford Pinto my skull collided with something solid, whether it was the windshield or roof is immaterial. I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was in a coma for seven days. When I awoke, my skull had a hole in it from where the surgeons dutifully removed the crushed bone and attendant contused brain tissue. My mother also was hospitalized, though her physical injuries were less severe. Members of your church prayed for us because my mother had attended your church and was married in the fold of your arms.

I was exceedingly more fortunate than most individuals who suffer a TBI, in that my cognitive function did not appear to be damaged. I only missed the last two weeks of school at the end of my first grade, just before the summer break. My loving extended family cared for us and made certain we understood our lives were important and that we mattered to them. I grew to believe my life, our lives, had been spared for some greater good, that there was some larger meaning to my survival.

I finished high school, graduated with honors, went onto the University of Iowa, and also graduated from Vermont Law School with a both a Masters Degree in Environmental Law and a Juris Doctor (with honors). My beautiful wife and I moved to Minnesota with nothing more than a dream. Neither of us had ever lived in Minnesota; we had no family, nor friends living there, and no jobs waiting for us. But we believed in ourselves, our strength and our fortitude. My wife, Jeannene, secured a job within the first two weeks and I passed the bar exam that summer. Eventually, I would open my own business, Saville Title Services, Inc., which I still own and operate.

I give you this background so you will understand that I am grateful to have survived such a calamitous event. However, in the past seven years my body has begun to deteriorate from the inside due to an osteo-arthritic condition set in motion from that collision in 1972. I have spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, wherein calcified bone spurs grow into the nerves as they enter my spine. I had the first one removed from my neck in 2005, knowing there was the possibility it was just the first of many. I now have six more (five in my neck and one in my lower back). I also have a bulging disc and a herniated disc in my lower back. I am further plagued by migraines on an average of one every eight days. Pain is a constancy with which I must endure every second, of every hour, of every day, but I manage. As my condition has worsened these past two years, I worked with my doctor to gradually increase the dosage of the medicine used to keep my muscles from a near continuous spasm. As it happens, I am now allergic to that medication. The latest medicine, of which I have only been on for about ten days, is causing the same rash on my limbs, chest and back that caused me to discontinue treatment with the previous medication.

All of the foregoing leads me up to the point of this missive. My body has clearly begun to decay from the inside. It does not appear I was saved those many years ago for any greater good. The world would be no better, nor worse than if I hadn’t survived. My survival has only prolonged my inevitable decline into the constancy of pain, like the slow walk into the headwinds of death. I am compelled to continue movin

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Published by: Derric Saville on Jul 21, 2012
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An Open Letter to the Congregantsof the First Baptist Churchof Gardner, Kansas, from Derric Saville
July 21, 2012
I was raised and baptized in the First Baptist Church in Iowa City, Iowa. I have read the bible andam familiar with both the old and new testaments. I attended Sunday School with my family whenI was a child, and even continued to attend after my father and sister did not survive an automobilecollision which also injured my mother, and me. I continued to believe that although God had seenfit, through some righteous wisdom, to cleave my family in two, I had survived through somemiracle. Inside the blue Ford Pinto my skull collided with something solid, whether it was thewindshield or roof is immaterial. I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was in a coma for seven days. When I awoke, my skull had a hole in it from where the surgeons dutifully removedthe crushed bone and attendant contused brain tissue. My mother also was hospitalized, thoughher physical injuries were less severe. Members of your church prayed for us because my mother had attended your church and was married in the fold of your arms.I was exceedingly more fortunate than most individuals who suffer a TBI, in that my cognitivefunction did not appear to be damaged. I only missed the last two weeks of school at the end of my first grade, just before the summer break. My loving extended family cared for us and madecertain we understood our lives were important and that we mattered to them. I grew to believe mylife, our lives, had been spared for some greater good, that there was some larger meaning to mysurvival.I finished high school, graduated with honors, went onto the University of Iowa, and alsograduated from Vermont Law School with a both a Masters Degree in Environmental Law and aJuris Doctor (with honors). My beautiful wife and I moved to Minnesota with nothing more than adream. Neither of us had ever lived in Minnesota; we had no family, nor friends living there, andno jobs waiting for us. But we believed in ourselves, our strength and our fortitude. My wife,Jeannene, secured a job within the first two weeks and I passed the bar exam that summer.Eventually, I would open my own business, Saville Title Services, Inc., which I still own andoperate.I give you this background so you will understand that I am grateful to have survived such acalamitous event. However, in the past seven years my body has begun to deteriorate from theinside due to an osteo-arthritic condition set in motion from that collision in 1972. I have spinalstenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, wherein calcified bone spurs grow into the nerves asthey enter my spine. I had the first one removed from my neck in 2005, knowing there was the possibility it was just the first of many. I now have six more (five in my neck and one in my lower  back). I also have a bulging disc and a herniated disc in my lower back. I am further plagued bymigraines on an average of one every eight days. Pain is a constancy with which I must endureevery second, of every hour, of every day, but I manage. As my condition has worsened these pasttwo years, I worked with my doctor to gradually increase the dosage of the medicine used to keepmy muscles from a near continuous spasm. As it happens, I am now allergic to that medication.1
 
The latest medicine, of which I have only been on for about ten days, is causing the same rash onmy limbs, chest and back that caused me to discontinue treatment with the previous medication.All of the foregoing leads me up to the point of this missive. My body has clearly begun to decayfrom the inside. It does not appear I was saved those many years ago for any greater good. Theworld would be no better, nor worse than if I hadn’t survived. My survival has only prolonged myinevitable decline into the constancy of pain, like the slow walk into the headwinds of death. I amcompelled to continue moving forward, but the long term prognosis is dire. As I have ponderedmy life, whilst living it, I realized long ago that there is no hope for me. Thus, I plead that your congregation direct prayer toward others for whom there is at least an opportunity for a modicumof success. Medical science is unable to slow my body from its quiverous demise, and your lordshould not be asked to work a miracle on someone for whom a miraculous recovery was oncealready proffered and received. I have accepted my fate and ask that you do the same. There aremany individuals far more deserving of your prayers than I. Please focus your attention in their direction.I turn your attention now to the following from scripture:John 11 – Revised Standard Version[
3
] So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill."[
4
] But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the gloryof God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it."………..[
9
] Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in theday, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.[
10
] But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."[
11
] Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, "Our friend Laz'arus has fallenasleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep."………..[
13
] Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking restin sleep.[
14
] Then Jesus told them plainly, "Laz'arus is dead;………..[
22
] And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you."[
23
] Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."[
24
] Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at thelast day."[
25
] Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me,though he die, yet shall he live,[
26
] and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"………..2

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Rose added this note
It is hard to know what to say. Certainly there is no advice or words of comfort that would be of any use. So I will just say this touches me deeply. I do believe that your accomplishments & your life have been of value. But I definitely understand how it would be so very difficult to have any desire to go on living.
Steve U added this note
I would take issue with one point. The world would SORELY be less fortunate if you had not survived to not only start a life where you did, but without your writing, and the example you put forth in this letter, we would be greatly lessened.
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