Shattered but not broken - ... Gary Rowe's testimony
IMAGINE GOING through a series of events that test your faith, try your patience, and push you to the edge of insanity; with each episode worse than the previous. Would it break you completely or would you rise above all odds with hope?
After a major bike crash, a ruptured artery in the heart, and the death of his firstborn, Gary Rowe felt as if his world was slowly tumbling down, but with his persistent spirit and the strength of God, he also knew that giving up was not an option.
"Nothing really fazes me. I have always been a go-getter, but somehow I felt all that happened with my accident and heart condition was God's way of saying slow down," expressed the driving instructor.
"I remember the bike accident like it was yesterday. I was piloting a political group to a meeting; I then left to get something to eat and on my way back to the venue, a man just come out of nowhere and hit me off the bike, right down on Caledonia Mall."
With a damaged wrist and left thigh, a broken pelvis and minor head injury, Rowe was taken to the Mandeville Regional Hospital, where he spent four months.
"When I looked at my hand and realised just the skin was holding it up and I looked down and saw the bone pushing out of my foot, me get worried of course, but I knew I would come around, but the recovery process was hard and slow " he told Family & Religion.
Rowe, who could no longer work, was confined to moving about in a wheelchair for two years. However, he received healing after attending a church service nearby.
"I was at the church and the pastor just called me up to the altar and I got up out of that wheelchair and walked right up to him," he said.
For the next few years, Rowe worked hard at trying to get his life back together, but there was another hurdle for him to overcome.
"I was on my way to Montego Bay one morning for an airport trip when I stopped for gas in Mandeville. While I was in the car, I felt like someone hit me in my chest. I got out of the car and tried to stand, but I couldn't," said Rowe.
With the little strength he could find, Rowe drove himself to the hospital to find out what was wrong.
"I spent the day to and from the hospital and a lab, but there was no result. they couldn't say what happened to me and I remember my sister-in-law saying I should get a transfer because me nah stay here and dead like me brother who had died from a heart attack."
He continued: "When I was finally transferred to the Tony Thwaites wing, they realised the artery that carried blood to the top of the heart was ruptured and required immediate operation. after the surgery, I was in a coma for six days. I spent seven weeks there and everything cost me about $1.9 million and, of course, it jerked me financially, but through all of this, my children were my main inspiration, especially my first son who called me every day. he was my tower of strength," Rowe told Family and Religion.
death of his son
But if Rowe was told that three years later that very same tower of strength, his firstborn son would be snatched away from him, he may not have believed.
"On the Wednesday before Holy Thursday, I was at home sleeping when I got a call that my son was shot in Pennsylvania. I got up instantly and drove up to my church, sat on the step and started praying to God to help him through," said Rowe.
While at work the next day, he got the call he hoped he wouldn't. His son had died.
"It took me a while to accept it. even after the funeral, it just never truly dawned on me that he was gone. I was angry toward the persons responsible, and if I was easily influenced, I would have done something I may regret, but thank God for Jesus," said Rowe.
He added: "I never questioned God for all that has happened to me, but as my best friend told me, God chooses his strongest to fight the hardest battles. I have learned to forgive and forget and to put God first at all times."