By Shirley Kennedy Gouldie
I have been blessed with a daughter and son-in-law who have been Godly parents, raising all five of my grandchildren to live Christ-centered lives, so while my story is in keeping with their faith, it centers around my sixteen year old granddaughter, Sophie and her senior boyfriend, Dylan.
Last summer, Dylan was doing what most young men do, as school lets out and summer begins. The branding season in Nebraska lasts from early May to early June and Dylan had just completed branding and was planning to meet friends later for a skeet shoot.
Country roads in rural Nebraska are unpredictable and gravel piles up in the middle and sides of the road making travel less than ideal. Dylan was traveling to town to get his gun, when the vehicle he was driving suddenly swerved, causing him to lose control. He was alone in the car as it rolled several times and Dylan was partially ejected, causing immediate injury to his back.
A friend was directly behind him, and the ambulance arrived soon after, taking him to Kearney, then on to Lincoln, where his family heard the tragic news, “He is paralyzed and will never walk again.” Dylan, although stunned, was quick to be matter of fact, assuring his family and friends that he did know Jesus, and that he would face the future with hope. After some time in Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, the family prepared their home for his homecoming, and Dylan met his new companion, his wheelchair.
Enter Sophie Joy, my granddaughter. We started hearing that she was spending a lot of time in Dylan’s home and they were “seeing each other.” Then it was spring again and prom time was upon us and I asked my grandchildren who their dates were for the prom. Season and Sam informed me of their dates and Sophie replied, Dylan. Dresses and tuxedos were purchased and time drew closer.
The big event in Axtell is a walk up from the cars to the school on a special carpet for juniors and seniors and their dates. As we stood waiting, my daughter remarked, “Dylan is going to try to walk the walk. WALK UP? How in the world could that happen? I assumed he would whiz right up there in his wheel chair.
Tension, oh yes! Dylan’s pick up arrived and Mitch, Dylan’s dad helped him out of the pick up and handed him a walker. Under his tuxedo pants, he wore specially made leg braces. Sophie sat in the passenger seat and I was thinking, “Sophie, get out and help him” but Sophie sat very still and to everyone’s surprise, Dylan came around the vehicle, opened her door and helped her out.
But not as amazing as what followed. They posed for pictures and continued the slow but beautiful walk.
The crowd started cheering and tears from men and women alike flowed freely as they applauded the senior whose life had been changed and the girl who never, ever, according to his mom, does or says anything that would in any way indicate a disability in his life. One last tearful but beautiful moment came as there was a small ramp going the last few steps. As they approached the ramp, Sophie very subtly put her hand on Dylan’s upper back to steady him.
What an amazing young couple. I don’t know what lies ahead for each of them but I do know that they will WALK in the steps that our Lord has planned for each of them.
About the Author:
Shirley Gouldie is a retired school teacher who lives on the family ranch near Dunning.
She values her time with her children and grandchildren and is an avid grandma attending every event that is possible. She is still active, subbing at Sandhills Public Schools and enjoys playing bridge.
One of Shirley’s goals is to write a book but this might be as close to having anything published so ENJOY!