Jan showed up at Mentor Training in an electric wheelchair and with a service dog.
To attend, she drove over 1200 miles (each way), pulling over as needed to sleep in her van, despite the physical discomfort. In her words:
“I read Leslie’s book The Jackrabbit Factor. It awakened something in me that will not go back to sleep. I feel an energy that I have not felt in years, as if I am being driven toward a goal I did not know was there, until everything started to ‘work’ so I could come to Mentor Training.”
Here was a woman determined to make a change in her life, despite a past full of some extreme and traumatic hardships. She has given me permission to share a few of the many difficulties she experienced:
When she was a baby (13 months old, with medical records that prove it), she was sexually assaulted. Her childhood was un-loving. Nobody ever told her they loved her, in her entire childhood. Neither parent, no grandparent, friend — only men who wanted sexual favors. Her mother was violent. She was spanked every day for some offense or another, “walked on eggshells” and hid from her at every opportunity. Later in life she was married twice to cruel and abusive husbands. She says,
“It’s difficult to describe the feeling of going through life without a goal, other than ‘to survive.'”
In July of 2001, she was taken to the hospital with supra-ventricular tachycardia. The echogram showed damage consistent with Congestive Heart Failure. She was never able to do strenuous exercise, as she had Rheumatic Fever twice as a child. She ended up on Disability.
In 2003 a nurse determined that she was no longer able to take care of herself. She needed to either go to a nursing home, or have a daily caregiver. In her words:
“Over the years …I steadily gained weight. I knew it was ‘protection’ … My weight climbed to a height of 310 pounds. [After falling] I broke a rib once trying to climb up the furniture.”
“In October, 2008, I fell [again]. It didn’t seem like a bad fall, as I’d been having falls for about the past two years, but this time I couldn’t get up. It was the worst pain I can ever remember feeling since falling from a horse across a fence and breaking some ribs back in the ’60’s. Another run to the Emergency Room. X-rays revealed a fractured vertebrae. A subsequent MMRI revealed THREE MORE fractured vertebrae, all old, long healed. But the way they healed, they put on calcium on the inside, putting pressure on the spinal nerve.”
“So THAT’S WHY, all my life, I’ve been in great pain when I had to stand for any length of time, and when I had to walk. I’ve always avoided it. I’ve been called ‘lazy’ more than once because of it, but the pain can become incapacitating. It wasn’t the kind of pain I could just ignore!”
“Long ago, before I knew I had been a victim of child sexual abuse, I heard Spencer W. Kimball state in General Conference that the man who betrays a young girl’s trust is her destroyer, as surely as if he has put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Well, I guess that something inside me that remembered what happened… refused to be destroyed! I had always thought I was given the life I was given because I needed to learn to fight, but from this end of it, I realize I was given this life because I WAS ALWAYS A FIGHTER, and I had a chance to overcome it…”
Never giving up on the hope that she could find peace, and doing the best she could, step by step she held to the vision of a better life and worked for years to improve her condition – emotional and physical.
Long story short, she says,
“I’ve found healing. I had not realized the level of hatred and rage I had harbored toward all men, until it was gone. I feel a peace inside now that I’ve never had before. I feel safe.”
These were Jan’s remarkable words in 2010. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear from her again seven years later:
“About two years ago, I met a man I could not walk away from… he’s a Disabled Veteran who served as a Navy Seal for ten years. …We are now engaged to be married.
“And…he owns land in two other states, one unit is large enough to qualify as my ‘ranch’ and I can have all the horses, dogs, and cats I want there! Also most of the other things I dreamed up while I was writing (and drawing) the details… Including windmills and storage batteries for electricity independence, greenhouses for 12-month/year fresh food production, the barn of a size I want for the domestic livestock I need to supplement the greenhouse enterprise… it’s all there…
“His own dream of rehabilitating Felons will bring us the students I will need to teach the Program to while they make plans for their own futures, meanwhile learning skills with which to establish an independent business of their own instead of being reliant upon ‘finding a job’ which, if you don’t know this, is very difficult to do if you have ‘Felon’ on your record.
“My dream was to find people who needed to become independent business owners in order to earn a living, build a life, keep their family close by involving each family member in the business, keeping each one ‘needed’ and appreciated as they grow. I feel I was guided to appreciate the needs of felons for this purpose. Of course, anybody who wants to come and learn the Program will be welcome. 🙂
“My dream is coming true! And with a bonus I …had not even considered: my Sweetheart…
“I’m only 65. My life is far from over. …If my experiences can help another, they are not wasted. Not my fears, my tears, nor my triumphs.”
I love stories like this, which show that the principles aren’t just about money. As far as I’m concerned, they are even more about the kinds of things that money can’t buy.
If you want to feel renewed, encouraged, and inspired as well, read or re-read The Jackrabbit Factor now. (It’s free!)
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