"I'll push you." The words came easily to Patrick. But he had no idea of the struggle that lay ahead. Meet Justin and Patrick. Born in the same hospital two days apart, they grew up together, faced life shoulder to shoulder, and were best man in each other's weddings. It was the way things had always been. It was the way things were always going to be. But then the unexpected struck - Justin was diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease that robbed him of the use of his arms and legs. As Justin transitioned to life lived in a wheelchair, Patrick stayed by his side, and together they refused to give in to despair or physical limitations. So when Justin shared his dream of traveling the famous Camino de Santiago - a spiritual pilgrimage through the mountains and rough terrain of northern Spain - Patrick immediately volunteered to push Justin in his wheelchair. Their six-week, 500-mile trek, whit its physical challenges, host of colorful characters, and deep inner battles, would prove to be the most difficult and important journey either man would ever take. Full of love, humor, and faith, I'll Push You exemplifies what every friendship is meant to be. This epic travel adventure shows the incredible risk and reward that come with trusting someone else to have your back - no matter what. Discover how friendship can push all limits... and help us become the best versions of ourselves.
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About the Author
Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray have been best friends all their lives. Together they run The Disabled Traveler, an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities successfully navigate the challenges of everyday life and travel. Their work has been featured on NBC, ABC, Fox and Friends, the Huffington Post, People.com, Tedx, the Meredith Vieira Show, and many other worldwide news media outlets. I'll Push You, the story of their 500-mile epic pilgrimage across northern Spain, is a forthcoming documentary film. Justin and his wife Kirstin, are the parents of Jaden, Noah, and Lauren; Patrick is married to Donna and they have three children: Cambria, Joshua, and Olivia.
Read an Excerpt
I'll Push You
A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair
By Patrick Gray, Justin Skeesuck
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2017 Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck
All rights reserved.
ANSWERS AND QUESTIONS
– JUSTIN –
How many hours have I spent in the waiting room of a doctor's office over the past thirteen years? I've lost count. During that time, I've endured an unending series of muscle biopsies, MRIs, blood tests, and various other forms of poking, probing, and prodding. And still no diagnosis I can depend on.
When I was in high school, my best friend, Patrick Gray, used to come with me to a lot of my appointments, but the distance between his home in Idaho and mine in Southern California makes that a little difficult now. Since moving to San Diego, I've often sat here alone, waiting for answers. Today, I'm grateful that my wife, Kirstin, is able to be with me.
The door leading back to the exam rooms opens, and Jennifer, my doctor's medical assistant, surveys the busy waiting room. We make eye contact, and even though she knows Kirstin and me well, she goes through the formality of calling my name.
"Justin Skeesuck, come on back."
By the time I get to my feet, with my leg braces and cane keeping me upright, Kirstin is already at the door. She knows I want to get there on my own, even if it takes me a while. As we continue down the hall, Kirstin and Jennifer slow their gait to allow me to keep up.
"I like your cane, Justin," Jennifer says as we approach the exam room. "Is it new?"
I look down at the dark purple wood. "Yeah, my best friend made it for me."
When the weakness spread from my left leg to my right, Patrick purchased a four-foot slab of purpleheart wood and spent hours in his garage with a jigsaw and hand sanding tools, fashioning a beautiful cane. It has become a cherished symbol of our lifelong friendship.
"The doctor will be with you in a few minutes," Jennifer says as my wife and I take our seats. Smiling, she closes the door softly.
Kirstin has come prepared for the wait. She pulls a magazine out of her purse and begins to thumb through the pages to pass the time. I settle into my chair, lean my head back against the wall, and close my eyes as time seems to stand still.
"It's taking longer than normal," Kirstin says after a while, as she replaces the magazine in her purse.
"There were a lot of people in the waiting room today," I reply. "I'm just hoping that when he gets here he has some answers this time."
For years, my team of neurologists has struggled to identify what exactly is going on in my body. Though my symptoms are similar to those of some well-known diseases — such as ALS — they don't perfectly align with any of them. We're hoping this latest round of tests, blood work, and muscle biopsies will bring a breakthrough — anything that will give me some insight into what the future might hold.
I would be satisfied at this point just to have a name for what I have. My team of physicians has gone through four diagnoses so far, and all have proved to be incorrect. Whatever I have is so rare, they aren't sure it even has a name.
The doctor finally walks in and takes a seat on the rolling stool. His white lab coat hangs loosely over a tweed sport coat, and his salt-and-pepper hair is combed neatly. He glances at my chart in his hands and looks at Kirstin and me through his large, metal-rimmed glasses.
"Hey, guys, how are you doing today?" he says with a faint hint of a smile.
"Hoping for some answers," I reply with a chuckle, "but expecting more questions."
"Fair enough. Well, today we have a little bit of both."
Never one for chitchat, he quickly begins his exam. Working his way from head to toe, he checks my eyes, listens to my heart and lungs, checks my blood pressure, tests my reflexes, and probes for any pain in my joints. He finishes the exam by testing my hand strength to make sure the weakness hasn't spread.
Seemingly satisfied, he says, "Let's head down the hall."
We follow him, as we have dozens of times before, to finish my appointment in the quiet of his office, a surprisingly small space filled with a large desk in the center surrounded by walls of bookshelves full of medical journals and books with names I can't pronounce. His diploma from Harvard and several framed awards have a prominent place on the wall.
"We've never been more certain of a diagnosis than we are now," he says as he settles into his desk chair and we sit down across from him.
"All right," I say. "Does it have a name?"
The doctor's face tightens almost imperceptibly. "We're pretty certain you have what is called multifocal acquired motor axonopathy. Or MAMA for short."
"What exactly is it?" Kirstin asks.
"It's similar in many respects to ALS. Which is why Justin was misdiagnosed the first time around."
Turning to me, he continues, "Your immune system is attacking your nervous system, and your motor nerves are shutting down. This disease doesn't affect your sensory nerves, just your ability to move. Normally, it hinders limited portions of a person's body, but in your case, it has attacked everything from your waist down. That's one of the reasons you've been so difficult to diagnose. MAMA typically starts in the hands. To see it affect such a large portion of the body is quite rare."
My wife leans forward and grabs my hand. "Will it get worse? Do we know how long we have?"
"Like I said, we have both answers and questions today ..."
He pauses for a moment before continuing.
"It will get worse over time. To what degree, we still aren't sure."
"So, what's the deal?" I ask.
"It's likely this disease will result in complications that will lead to your death."
Kirstin takes a slow, deep breath as her eyes well up with tears.
This isn't the first time I've been told I'm going to die. When I was originally diagnosed with ALS, the doctor told me I had four years to live. That was nearly nine years ago. This time there's no known life expectancy, but the prognosis feels different; it feels more real.
"Do we know what causes it?" I ask.
"Well, we don't know precise cause and effect, but sometimes traumatic events can trigger certain diseases."
He pauses again to gather his thoughts and then continues. "Our best guess is that the disease was dormant throughout your childhood, and that it may have been awakened by your car accident."
That accident was thirteen years ago.
It was a crisp, clear spring morning in April 1991, but I remember it like it was yesterday. The brilliant blue sky over my hometown of Ontario, Oregon, was devoid of clouds, and the rising sun sat low, just above the horizon to the east, making silhouettes of the mountains as I stepped outside my front door to wait for my friend Jason to pick me up for a basketball tournament that was scheduled to start in less than an hour.
"Where is he?" I wondered aloud. "We're going to be late."
As if on cue, Jason rounded the corner in his small, dark red 1987 Toyota pickup. I poked my head back inside the house to say good-bye to my parents before walking out to the driveway, where Jason was now waiting.
A few months shy of my sixteenth birthday, I was still too young to drive, but Jason had recently gotten his license, and he was eager to get his well-traveled truck out on the freeway. As I fastened my seatbelt across my chest and lap, I looked over at Jason. His lap belt was secure, but the shoulder strap was hanging loose.
"You should probably get that fixed," I said with a raised eyebrow. Jason just smiled and put the truck in gear.
In a matter of minutes, we were on I-84, headed east toward Northwest Nazarene College in nearby Nampa, Idaho. Even with our sunglasses on, the rising sun made us squint as it filled the gap between the pickup's sun visors and the mountains in the distance. Because we were running late, Jason put some extra weight to the gas pedal.
As the sun climbed a little higher in the sky, the glare from the east intensified. At 80 mph, Jason was doing his best to get us to the gymnasium on time. But the faster he went, the more noticeable the poor alignment of his truck became.
As I leaned forward to find some good music on the radio, the twist of the dial was interrupted by a loud thump, thump, thump from under my feet.
Looking up, I saw we had drifted hard to the right and both passenger-side tires were off the edge of the asphalt, bouncing through the dirt, gravel, and tufts of grass on the poorly maintained shoulder. As Jason struggled for control, I could see we were rapidly approaching a concrete support pillar of an overpass.
"Jason, look out!"
He jerked the wheel hard to the left, trying to get us back onto the roadway, but overcorrected, sending the truck into a 180-degree spin. For a split second, we were facing west, with traffic speeding toward us — until we slid onto the median and began to roll. The explosive sound of metal on gravel filled my ears as the truck slammed against the ground. Everything happened so fast, I soon lost my bearings as we rolled across the median and caught some air.
It was a brief moment, but time stood still.
So many thoughts rushed through my head as the ground outside my window came at me in slow motion. When the passenger side of the truck collided with the ground one last time, the sound was deafening, and the impact reverberated throughout my body.
Is this how my life will end?
What will the paramedics tell my family?
What will my parents say to Patrick?
When the truck finally came to rest, I was suspended from my seat by my seatbelt and Jason was below me, with his upper body partially out the window of the driver side door, the door frame across his back. A small depression in the ground was all that kept the truck from crushing him.
Looking out through the fractured windshield, I could see multiple vehicles stopped in the distance and many people running toward us to help.
"Jason, are you alive?"
"Yes," came his muffled reply, as his upper body was trapped between the truck and the ground below.
"I have to get out of here!" I yelled as I kicked at the windshield, but it wouldn't budge.
Desperate to help my friend, I unbuckled my seatbelt and tumbled down on top of him. I heard him moan in pain.
"Get off me!" he said through gritted teeth.
I shifted my feet and straddled his body while pushing against the passenger door above me. It didn't move. Somehow, though, I was able to wiggle my way out through the slider in the rear window.
As my feet touched the ground, several people approached me. I shouted, "My friend is still trapped! He needs help!"
Someone yelled, "Let's see if we can get the truck back on its wheels."
With a collective effort, the assembled onlookers were able to heave the truck up high enough for Jason to pull himself back into the cab and release his seatbelt. As they continued to hold the truck off the ground, Jason was able to crawl out the driver's side window.
Somehow, I walked away from the accident with only a few scrapes and bruises. Jason wasn't as lucky. He ruptured some discs in his back. But considering the severity of the accident, his injuries could have been much worse.
Four months later, at the beginning of my junior year, I was running down the soccer field during a game when I noticed that my left foot wasn't moving normally. I could plant and push off to make a cut, but I couldn't raise my foot back up. No matter how hard I tried to control it, my foot would flop around. Sometimes the toe of my cleats caught the ground as I ran, causing me to stumble.
When I brought this to my parents' attention, we began looking for answers. The problem seemed to be isolated to my foot, so we went to a podiatrist. He was completely stumped and referred us to a neurologist. The neurologist had no real answers, but he had a plaster cast molding made of my left foot, which resulted in a custom-fitted white orthotic brace made of lightweight plastic. This new support was a foot bed insert for my shoes that curved around my heel and snugly supported my calf. This brace provided the support needed to maintain a relatively normal level of activity.
For one of my fitting appointments, Patrick went with me.
As I stood up and took a few steps with the brace securely fastened across the front of my lower leg with a Velcro strap, the aluminum hinges on each side of my ankle squeaked.
"Dude! You can totally play the sympathy card with the ladies!" Patrick said with a laugh.
Raising my eyebrows, I replied, "Not a bad idea!"
"How does it feel?" he asked as I walked around the doctor's office.
"Better than dragging my foot."
"I kind of like you dragging your foot," he said, chuckling to himself. "Makes me look better!"
"You're an idiot," I said, laughing out loud.
"Seriously though, you're moving pretty well. I can barely see a limp."
Running a few steps, I felt my confidence rising. "Yeah! It feels great. I think I can still play tennis with no problem."
With this new support system, I took up my racket and played both my junior and senior years. I kept close tabs on the weakness in my foot, and it seemed the worst was over. But not long after graduation, I could feel it spreading to more muscles in my lower leg.
* * *
I'd never made the connection between the weakness in my legs and the accident — until now. Kirstin is still sitting quietly next to me, holding my hand tightly. I'm squeezing hers so hard I can feel her pulse against my palm. So many thoughts are racing through my mind.
Turning to me, my wife says, "You need to call Patrick."
Excerpted from I'll Push You by Patrick Gray, Justin Skeesuck. Copyright © 2017 Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Donald Miller xi
Part I Beginnings
1 Answers and Questions 3
2 Phone Calls 13
3 I'll Push You 19
Part II Preparations
4 Time Off 27
5 As Ready As We'll Ever Be 33
6 Departure 47
Part III Camino De Santiago
7 I Wonder If… 63
8 Blind Faith 83
9 Measure Twice, Cut Once 93
10 Paddy Wagon and Skeez 105
11 Taking the Bull by the Horns 111
12 Unexpected 121
13 The Lies We Tell Ourselves 135
14 The Ridiculous and the Absurd 147
15 Much-Needed Rest 157
16 Pursuit 171
17 Countdown 181
18 How Did We Get So Lucky? 191
19 We're Not Alone In Here 199
20 Pride and Joy 209
21 Who Do You Think You Are? 219
22 You're Not Pushing 233
23 Provision 249
24 A Beautiful Way to Start 259
Discussion Guide 273
About the Authors 279
What People are Saying About This
I’ll Push You is a powerful story of friendship and faith, defining what it means to a part of a community. The love that is so evident in Justin and Patrick’s story is a brilliant reminder of how we should engage with one another, a reminder of what the church is meant to be.
When I met Justin and Patrick and heard their story, I cried, and I wanted everyone I knew to hear this important story. We live in a culture that values romantic love and to a certain extent familial love, but we have very few stories of brotherhood like this one: a story about lifelong friends who, when life became challenging, didn’t back away, but instead became more committed to one another, more connected, more willing to sacrifice. This is an important, beautiful, inspiring story.
I’ll Push You is not just the remarkable story of one able-bodied man pushing another man’s wheelchair on a five-hundred-mile journey. It’s the story of two friends who’ve spent their entire life’s journey pushing each other to be better people. Through their courage, grace, and dignity, Justin and Patrick remind us that we are stronger together than separate. As it turns out, we all need a push.
This is an inspiring story of love and commitment. It’s the kind of story Jesus would have told to his friends. You’ll learn a little more about the power of love in these pages.
A life changing read. Thank you for sharing so we would be able to take a deeper look within our own souls.
The words to describe how this book captured me and held me for one sitting (yes, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it) are hard to describe. It was a beautiful picture of what I believe the world is capable of and gives hope that there is still such goodness to be found in close community, if we let ourselves be vulnerable with each other. I laughed out loud (Bat story) cried, sobbed (Claudia's story) and still feel the power of those emotions as I type this now. Well done Justin and Patrick! Thank you for writing your story and letting us see your struggles, joys and triumphs. BUEN CAMINO! Can't wait to see the film.
On the surface, this is a book that chronicles the impossible task of one man pushing another in the wheel chair across 500 miles of the Camino. It is inspiring and motivating to read about the highs and lows of their journey and how they overcome the obstacles. But deep inside this book is another story… a story about how we see ourselves and how much we depend on those around us to live abundantly through community. Justin and Patrick remind us that we cannot live in fear or alone. That there is a powerful, life-changing practice in vulnerability. That through friendship and faith, mountains can be conquered in a wheelchair. That through community, we can find ourselves living a fulfilling life beyond expectations. I couldn’t put this book down.
Oh my goodness! I read this on a 3.5 hour flight and could not put it down. What a BEAUTIFUL story of friendship and devotion we can all look for and create in our own lives. For anyone needing inspiration to step out and follow dreams, this book will ignite within you a renewed passion for taking life by the "handles" and setting off on a course of your own destiny! I am amazed at the optimism and vulnerability shared by these two men and their perspective on the importance of accepting help, building community and achieving what would seem impossible. I am giving it to my teens and everyone in my circle as a "must read" wherever you are in your life. The world needs stories like this now more than ever!
A MUST READ!!! I’ll Push You profoundly portrays the power of faith, true friendship, community, and the triumph and resiliency of the human spirit. Patrick and Justin’s astonishing journey will leave you laughing, crying, and filled with hope. Their story will remind you that there is still good in the world and that true joy is found in community; in boldly stepping out to lend a hand to “push” others toward the goal in front of them while at the same time allowing them the joy of pulling you along toward yours as well.
For more than 1,000 years, pilgrims from around the world have traveled along the Camino de Santiago or Way of Saint James; an ancient 500-mile pilgrimage that stretches from Saint Jean Pied de Port in southwestern France, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in the northwestern region of the country. While most pilgrims travel by foot with mounted backpacks, others ride bikes or horses or mules. But there is one mode of transport not many consider an option and may deem downright impossible, except for two dreamers from Idaho, one of whom heard the call of the Camino de Santiago and also just happens to use a wheelchair. "I'll Push You" is a remarkable testament to the unconditional bonds of friendship—chronicles of their spiritual trek across the Camino filled with stories of love, sacrifice, perseverance and community. Best friends since childhood, Patrick and Justin born two days apart, grew up together, set out on adventures together and faced life's obstacles together as well. But at the age of 16, Justin was diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular disease, multifocal acquired motor axonopathy or MAMA for short, a disease that causes the immune system to attack the nervous system, specifically the motor nerves as opposed to sensory nerves. Despite the spread of the disease, life went on their bonds strengthened into an extraordinary relationship of unconditional love. As Justin dreamed of his adventure, he proposed the idea to Patrick during an annual get-together and while Justin anxiously awaited his response, three words that would transform their lives soon followed, "I'll Push You." What may have seemed an impossible feat for someone who is physically challenged like Patrick, was becoming a reality for two best friends who dared to test their passions for life on an epic adventure in northern Spain. After two years of planning and preparation, not to mention the rigors of physical training that Patrick underwent to prepare for the journey, the two embarked for Saint Jean Pied de Port, France. Throughout the journey, Patrick and Justin met pilgrims from 27 different countries, all of whom wanted to contribute in some small way to their heroic plight. I laughed and I cried through the struggle and the outpouring of love, kindness and generosity from fellow pilgrims; some became friends who traveled alongside, while others interrupted their own lives, even pulled off the road, to offer their assistance during some of the most challenchallenging terrains of the hike. And just when you their endurance was tested to the limit and that they would succumb to utter exhaustion; just when you thought all hope was lost, a fellow peregrino (pilgrim) appeared to offer their help during the times they needed it most. An old adage that you hear quite often from pilgrims who have completed the Camino de Santiago is that the "Camino provides"—those words rang true on many an occasion! But as much as "I'll Push You" is a story about the physical demands of the Camino de Santiago, it's a spiritual journey for our two pilgrims as they look inward and reflect upon the circumstances of where they've come from and where they're going. I empathized with their internal struggles so much so that tears flowed during many revelations, and more tears flowed as I rejoiced in their triumphs; all the while witnessing their transformations within. Our pilgrims certainly have found their way!
I finished this book 3 days after receiving it in the mail. It is a truly touching account of an amazing journey. I laughed out loud, I had tears in my eyes and I learned from this story. I am in awe of these two and how they choose to live their lives and share themselves with the world.
Enjoyed the book very much. There was much repetitive things mentioned but I got over it. Also got a bit too religous for me but I do understand where ther are coming from.
I read many books every year and this book is one of the best books I’ve ever read. So sad, but so inspirational. Everyone should read this book.
Friends To The End! We may have lots of “friends,” but most are little more than surface acquaintances. But who can be called on in a time of need? That person is a true friend. Justin and Patrick have that kind of relationship, and they have been friends for decades. They were both born in the same hospital within days of each other. Growing up in the same little town, they lived near each other, and attended the same church. It was only natural they would play together, but as they did, they became fast friends. As the years rolled by, they both experienced marriage, parenthood and living long distances apart. Despite that, they maintained their friendship. When their wives and children entered their lives, they, too, formed strong connections with each other. While they were still young men, Justin began having physical problems that took years to diagnose. As time went on, Justin slowly went from walking normally to needing braces, to a wheelchair, to needing help to eat, bathe, or use the restroom. Finally diagnosed with MAMA, and told it would eventually kill him, Justin has continued living life to the fullest. During one of their visits, Justin told Patrick about a TV program that documented the walk called Camino de Santiago in Spain. It goes up and over mountain tops, frequently the uneven ground is strewn with large rocks, and at times, it might be almost impassable due to mud. The journey has often been done for spiritual reasons, or deep reflecting. Justin wanted to go, but didn’t know how. Patrick told him to go, and said, “I’ll push you!” With those words, the two men’s lives were propelled into an experience they would never forget. On the very first day of the Camino, they found all the months of hard training didn’t come close to the difficulties of the actual path. People often told them someone in a wheelchair couldn’t attempt this journey, or they would quickly fail if they tried. This book chronicles their experiences they as they attempted to conquer 500 miles of the Camino, along with the hardships they faced—and the ways this changed them. I really enjoyed reading this true story about Justin and Patrick, as well as, the tales they included from their past. Not to be missed is the bat story (page 202 in my edition). It is one of the funniest stories I have ever read, and I dare you not to smile. Other pilgrims were met along the way, who shared their amazing life stories with the two men. European adventures ranged from the lack of handicap accessibility, to taking part in a Spanish bull-run, to generous acts of kindness by strangers. Both authors shared life-changing, spiritual insights they gained from this trip. More than anything else, this book is a tribute to friendship, and the incredible things good friends will do for each other. Proverbs 18:24 sums it up: “Some ““friends”” pretend to be friends, but a true friend sticks closer than a brother.” Having recently endured the death of just such a friend, I can testify to the depth of such a relationship. Lots of filming was done during this trek, which was then made into a documentary. I recommend this five-star book to everyone who likes true-life stories, or adventures from a Christian viewpoint. Tyndale House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of I’ll Push You, for the purpose of review. Disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
This book is truly a must read for everyone. One of the best books I’ve read this year! Yes, it’s the story of two friends traveling the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I’ve seen documentaries of the Camino, so could have some slight understanding of what was ahead for these men. But it’s so much more! I’ll Push You takes the reader on a personal journey with Gray and Skeesuck. They share their intimate thoughts, fears, and failures with us. To see their unconditional love for each other as best friends is truly a gift. Author Patrick Gray shares the raw feelings he has when he views himself as a father and husband. I won’t go into that because I don’t want to spoil the story he tells but it definitely made me look at my life as a wife and mother. Needing help with everything physical, Author Justin Skeesuck teaches us how to depend on others with grace and even with humor. A powerful story of community, do yourself a favor and read this story. It will change your outlook on life. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
I read through page 95 in one day and paused....then couldn't put the book down when I picked it up again. There must be fifty incredible life lessons woven into this remarkable story of two friends making the impossible possible. It captures the heart of humanity as it is intended. It reminded me of the goal of my life and challenged me to continually strive for more in so many areas. Justin and Patrick did more than simply share some moments from an inspirational story. They opened up about the deepest parts of their friendship, individual fears, hurts, struggles, and blessings of their lives as a way to motivate and compel others to keep pushing.
So, a few weeks ago I was browsing through the available books at Tyndale. Don't ask me why, I was so booked up with so many review books that I was just torturing myself with book options I truly didn't feel I had time to read and do justice. But then this book jumped off the screen. I could hear it calling to me, a whisper at first growing louder in my head as I attempted to do a quick scroll and on with my evening. But it kept calling louder until it was the only thing I could hear in my overfull, scattered brain as I rushed through yet another evening of responsibility (OK, we all know the R word is not a complete truth) and on to what really matters...reading time. I kept going back to this book and it kept saying 'pick me', 'you have to read me', 'you must read me', 'I said me!'. Talk about pressure. I mean where would I find time to toss in yet another book. So I expanded the schedule, threw a few things on Saturday, mainly, I can't pass up a book period but this one HAD to be read. I requested it and it came in 'book mail' which makes me ecstatically happy. And then sat in the 'to read' pile as I whittled away at everything that was scheduled before it. It called to me from that stack 'read faster!' Some books are so pushy. (Totally an unintentional pun mind you.) It called to me for a reason, it changed me just a bit, and I'll never regret choosing (or perhaps more honestly being chosen) by this book. You know how when you read a book for pleasure but are occasionally lucky enough to take some small gem away from it that alters you, typically for the better. There is a world of growth opportunity and introspection at the very core of every page of this book. You just have to be open to it. Hoesntly, I think it is one I can happily reread multiple times and always find even more to take away from it. It's not an overt, in your face 'God' book but it's so many subtle layers of faith and Holy Spirit and deeper understanding all rolled up in one big ole squeeze of friendship and compassionate understanding. I think anyone of 'faith' not religion can take something away. Even those without 'faith' per se but an open heart to their fellow man can take soemthing away without feeling preached at. It's just that good. Every last one of us needs a Justin in our lives. Someone who helps us see that even dark clouds have silver linings, that it's OK to let others do for you what you can no longer do for yourself. A Justin to impart the understanding that letter others 'do' is not about giving up or being indebted to someone else or being weak, that letting others 'do' is about strength. Strength in your faith in yourself as well as that person. Every last one of us needs a Patrick to jump in, no matter what no matter where, and step up to the plate. Always willing to lay it all on the line in utter confidence that there is always a way. A Patrick to help us understand that just because you can doesn't mean it will be. That even the able bodied and strong also need help, sometimes from the very person they think they are helping. Last but for me the most important thing I took from this reading of 'I'll Push You' (becaue you know it has to be read again!) is that we need to learn the balance of what is sabbath (not the literal calendar meaning) really is, choose to practice it in the most real sense, and understand how it can positively impact all areas of our lives. Seriously, this book people. You have to
I'll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair by [Gray, Patrick, Skeesuck, Justin]This is such an inspirational chair of two friends and a journey to remember. Justin and Patrick were best friends practically from birth. They have always been there to support and cheer each other own. Justin was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease which took away the use of his arms and legs and Patrick was there for him. Even when the two and their families lived in different places, they still had the connection that only best friends can have. Justin saw a travel show about the Camino de Satiago, a 500-mile journey in Spain, he called Patrick and asked what he thought about this trip. Patrick's response was simply, "I'll push you." This is the story about this friendship and the journey. There are moments that made my heart swell and made me laugh out loud. All along the way, I felt the spirit that these two have enter my heart and helped my love for God grow. I recommend this book very highly and as a former teacher I would give it an A+ and as many stars as I could find. I was given this book by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.