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Sam's Story



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Samantha, or as everyone else calls her Sam, is my riding partner, my friend, and my daughter.  She has been doing horses with me ever since she was old enough to crawl into a saddle.  My wife and I raised Samantha to be the wonderful young lady that we sent off to college this year (that was a bit hard on the old man but I survived).  Samantha's two favorite things are Softball & Horses.  She started playing shortstop and barrel racing at about the age of 10 and has never stopped.  I started this page to print a story that Samantha wrote her junior year of high school.  I felt it worry of print and wanted to express my feelings on a few subjects.  In today's world it seems so very hard to raise children to be good, god fearing adults that try to do the right thing.  They're influenced by television, peers at school, and movies so much so that all the wrong things seem to be OK.  I would like you to take a moment and read Samantha's story about a very hard time in her life and ours.  I thank God everyday for Samantha and the privilege I've had of being her father.  I hope this story blesses your heart as it did mine. 

Heres Sam's Story Titled "Your Joy is my Strength"

            “I’m sorry, Miss Versolenko, but x-rays show you have three breaks in your fourth metacarpal, and two adjacent fractures in your wrist,” the doctor told me. I stared at him in disbelief, as though he was telling me a lie. I couldn’t believe it was possible. “No! It can’t be! I have a softball team that needs me this summer. I am the starting shortstop, and lead-off hitter!” No matter how I denied it, his words haunted me as I gave him a cold stare. I wanted to blame the doctor, the nurses, anyone, do anything to make my frustration go away. Little did I know, this would be the least of my worries in this coming summer.

            It was the summer before my junior year. I had taken a job at a nearby ranch, exercising and training horses. I had been working there for a month and I was starting to get familiar with the horses I had been riding. Then one day my boss brought in a new horse. She seemed to keep the fact from me that this horse had never been ridden. I went about putting the saddle on, as the horse danced around nervously. “Are you sure he is okay to ride?” I asked. “Yes, of course! Just jump on him, and see how he reacts.” With that reassurance, I proceeded to hurl my leg over his back, with which he started bucking witlessly. When I fell, my hand and wrist became caught in the paneling of the pen as the weight of my body was pulled in the opposite direction.

            The pain in my arm and wrist couldn’t be felt compared to the anguish of being benched for the summer. The summer seemed longer as I quit my job, and was forced to watch my team practice, with an itchy cast in the summer heat. I wanted to blame anyone I could think of. I couldn’t believe how my summer had been ruined. Anger had filled me as I sat disabled. I couldn’t have expected what was waiting for me in the days to come.

            “Mom, why are you crying?” I asked. Just then my dad walked through the door, and tried to comfort my mom. Both of their looks shared a secret which I knew was soon going to be shared with me. “Your mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer,” my dad said through choked up tears. Once again, I stared in dismay for the second time in two weeks. I sat in disbelief as he explained the details of her treatment, and what she was about to be forced to go through.

            My mother’s chemotherapy started shortly after being diagnosed. Her body was being filled with poison every week and she had a bald head to prove its potency. Many days she would be too sick to come out of her bedroom. She didn’t allow us to come in either, because any smell of perfume, food, pets, etc. would make her vomit instantly. Nausea, fatigue, and sometimes depression overtook her. My mother was locked upstairs in her bedroom, away from me, for weeks on end.

            Soon it would be time for our softball team to go to the state playoffs in Baker City, Oregon. I rode there with the team, and our families followed in their own cars. Accompanying my dad was my mom, sick and bald, but with a willing heart. You see, she had supported me in softball since I had been a little girl, and nothing was going to stop her this time. Though I was sitting in the dug out pouting because I couldn’t be out on the field, my mom was still in the stands, cheering on my team. I would look over at her, and though her eyes would tell me she was tired and her body was sick, the smile on her face told me she was pushing through it. I looked down at my cast, and took a look at myself. Who was I to sulk because of this unfortunate accident, when my mom was also given the cancer without request?

I know my teammates saw her strength to, her pure joy, even through this adversity.   “The championship game ball goes to the heart and strength behind this team. It goes to the reason why we never gave up. It goes to Mrs. Versolenko.” My team had won our state championship, and was sent on to the regional tournament in Missoula, Montana. My mom had taught me and every girl on my team many lessons through her trial. She had demonstrated pure joy, even though she was sick, and cancer was still residing in her body. My mother had surgery two days before I left with my team to Montana. It was going to be a major surgery: a radical mastectomy with seven lymph nodes being removed. I knew she could not make it to this tournament. It was sad for me to leave her, and that she could not be with us. She was the heart behind our team.

            Our first game started with a long introduction, the national anthem sang, and prayers. Everyone on the team was nervous as we watched our opponents from southern California, who towered over us in size. Yet, the spectacle of that day was not how we could overcome our opponents.

            “I don’t believe it!” my coach exclaimed as his eyes were diverted from the field to the stands. As I looked to follow his gaze I saw my mom, sitting in the stands, leaning against my dad. Her face was tired, and her eyes were heavy. She carried drainage bags on her hip still left there from surgery. She could hardly sit by herself, but yet she wore her famous smile. My eyes filled with tears, when she glanced my way and waved at me. The poison, the cancer, the surgery, nothing could keep her down. The joy of the Lord permeated her and there she sat, my role model, my hero, my mom.

            That summer was filled with trials that I never want to go through again. But those same trials were the ones that taught me lessons that couldn’t be learned any other way. I had forgotten about my broken bones, my inability to play, and my selfish wants. “The joy of the Lord,” and “be joyful in everything” is what I have read about so many times, but that summer it was made real to me by my mother. I am now ready to take on anything, because I know the joy of the Lord will be my strength.


Last Modified : 06/16/11 09:29 PM

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Copyright 2003