The following is a true accounting of something that happened not far from our home earlier this summer. It involved my 17 year-old step-son, Jonathan Ryall. So as to not try to steal away any of his thunder, I will let him tell the story, just as he wrote it. Jon gave me his permission to post it here.
By Jonathan Ryall
Steven Hawkins once said that “nothing leaves this universe.”
I am looking down at little Ruby. She is an odd shade of blue and her eyes are closed. I think she is dead and I am too scared to think about it. Without thinking, I act. I am pumping her chest hard and hoping not to break a rib, not thinking about how delicate a two year olds ribs are. Luckily, through the procedure, I tend to not break any. I push my breath into her mouth and hold her nose. She has lived two wonderful years, and I could not imagine how it would be to take away the possible remaining. I have lived seventeen. Her parents are screaming on the dock above me. Ruby’s mother is on her knees next to me, praying to Jesus, and a crowd of other children are either running around in complete hysteria, or crying in complete shock. What makes me wonder is, how did I get to be performing CPR on a dock in Lake Geist, Indiana?
Let me go back to 1979, the Indian Hill High School prom in Cincinnati, Ohio. My dad was dancing with my mother and they knew that one day they would marry and start a family. I was the third child of four and we lived a typical American suburban family life. Several years ago, however, our family broke apart with divorce and my mom moved to Indianapolis and soon re-married my step-father. I was devastated. My dad re-married as well and I found myself shuttling between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. I could not favor either side.
Someone suggested I pray and things will get better. Yeah right, like that is going to bring back my family. I told them I doubt that would happen, because I knew nothing could be done. “It can’t hurt” they said, but I didn‘t listen. But I knew I needed at least something to help me, so I only hoped and wished to have something happen. So, with that, I guess it was a prayer.
One weekend while visiting my mother, my prayer was answered. I met a girl, named Lily, a stunning beauty with wit and charm. She immediately took a liking to me and welcomed me into her family. In the summer, we would spend weekends together and have so much fun. I would do things with her family, and she would do things with mine. We spent an equal amount of time doing both. Eventually, we would spend times out at her grandparent’s house on the lake in their boat, the Sea-Ray, or in their pool and Jacuzzi.
I can’t describe what it felt like to stare in the face of a dead child – to see one’s childhood gone in a second. I quickly remembered taking CPR in high school. One of the most boring classes in my High School career, attached to gym, but surprisingly understanding the material. The situation that occurred was like some version of Tom Cruise, getting into action and rescuing people. I tuned out all the sounds around me – the weeping, screaming, and praying. It all got very still and quiet as time stood still. I know it sounds cliché, but what we learn does come back to help us sometimes.
Finally, after the fifth chest compression, Ruby spit up some water and as I tilted her head back, she coughed up some more and started breathing again. Her eyes squinted and she looked up to me. Her blue eyes looked deep into me, penetrating me like a bullet.
There it was all at once.
Maybe the whole point of my life was to be right here, right now. Maybe that prom dance led me to be born and to be available to Lily’s little sister. To think as if I wasn’t born, how would this of been played out?
Maybe the pain of seeing my mom move away and start her new life in Indiana was some cosmic plan for me to visit Indiana and meet my girlfriend and save this little girl.
Soon as she started breathing, I was told to go search for neighbors that could help us. I took off going in all directions. I had no clue of where I was going, or any sense of what I might run into; But all I was thinking of was the voice of the father saying “Go get my neighbor!” When I got to their neighbors, there was no one home, and I began to run more. Thankfully I found a man on a bicycle, and got his attention to call 911. Shortly, another girl from the family, appeared on my left and helped me tell him where we are, so he could tell the paramedics.
I am extremely thankful to be a hero, and save that girls life.
Jon visiting Ruby at the hospital the next day.....
I have watched Jon grow during this last year since he met Lily and her family.
He is turning into a fine young man, and his mother and I are very proud of him.
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.