Back in school

February 17, 2010

Faith Outdoors

It has been a little more than a year since my friend, John Nesheim, had both of his feet amputated after falling into a ravine and getting stranded there for almost two days. Now, he is able to walk on prosthetic feet and is back in school charting a new career course.

He is enrolled at St. Mary’s University, which has its main campus in Winona and a smaller campus in Minneapolis. He started in January and is working toward becoming a certified public accountant (CPA). The program will last two years, then he will spend a third year studying for the CPA exam.

I marvel at how John has worked hard to move forward with his life and conquer the many new challenges he has faced throughout the last year. And, he has done everything with his trademark sense of humor. It was evident again when I asked him if he thought there was any connection between what he has gone through the last year and the season of Lent. The question came on Ash Wednesday. His witty reply was classic:

“I decided to give up my feet for Lent,” he said. “They just didn’t tell me that I don’t get them back on Easter Sunday… I kind of got gipped on that deal.”

Those who know John understand how deep his sense of humor runs, even when dealing with something as traumatic as the loss of his feet. His many wisecracks not only help him get through everything, but they help others around him who may feel awkward and not know what to say.

I’m thankful for our friendship, and I think that gratitude is part of Lent, too. When Lent is over, I hope to plan a spring wild turkey hunt with John. He has a special permit to use a crossbow in both Minnesota and Wisconsin and I think I have a nice place for him to hunt in Wisconsin. We’ll talk about that when we get together for breakfast next week. That would be cool to help John shoot his first wild turkey.

But, as he pointed out, if we fail in that attempt, we can simply stop at the supermarket on our way home and buy one.

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek