Episode 84 God Is Good – Interview with survivor and young poet, Marty Zimmerman
Marty Zimmerman is a survivor. Five years ago at the age of 25, he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke due to a brain AVM. His left side was weakened, but much has returned since March 7, 2013. Marty wrote a book about the incident and my recovery. It is entitled “Life Interrupted – The Story of a Young Stroke Survivor.”
Marty lives in his hometown of Greencastle, PA. He graduated from Messiah College and earned a Master’s degree in applied history from Shippensburg University in December 2017. Marty currently works as a part-time deli clerk at Kline’s Grocery Store and as a part-time instructor for the Renfrew Institute. He is the oldest of three.
Besides working Marty spends his time going to the gym, taking day trips, spending time with family, writing faith-based poetry, sharing his story with groups throughout the area, reading, and studying history. Life is sweet again.
Poem by Marty
I visited the graveside where I laid a dream to rest
it was unjustly slain by an unforeseen circumstance
how it grieves my heart –
my tears stream down and fall on the disheveled soil
How long shall I weep for what was lost?
How long is too long?
What was, what had been planned; time and energy had been invested
a part of me lies buried beneath the ground
I shuddered, wept, and groaned as my sorrow came pouring out
I could barely see as the tears blurred my vision; I wiped them from my eyes
Then, I looked down at the grave and there saw a beautiful, golden lily
It had sprung up from the mound of dirt covering the deceased
I was taken aback by its beauty, by its loveliness
How could such an exquisite specimen grow here, a dark and solemn place
While kneeling, I heard a voice say,
“The dream you had will be resurrected
What now lies dead will be revitalized
What was lost will be given back, with more attached
Amends will be made for what was stolen
I have greater plans in store for you,
dreams far beyond the scope of your imagination to grasp
I will pour out blessings, like a waterfall, and you will be drenched
Do you trust me to do these things?
Will you surrender everything and follow me?
Will you lay down what you consider precious,
those things and those people you cherish and entrust them to me?
Are you waiting for me to demonstrate my faithfulness, my goodness?
Beauty will arise out of tragedy;
what was intended for evil I will turn around for your good,
just as I did in the case of Joseph –
Your dream, though gone, will return, although it may look different
What has changed within you?
What will prevent you from fulfilling that goal?
Do you doubt yourself?
Do you doubt me, my abilities to upstage every impossibility?
I am not to be cast aside, placed into a neat, man-made box
You were not fashioned to live in mediocrity, obscurity
I have watched you, I have protected you, and I will provide for you
Ambition may diminish, but the spark has never been extinguished
Do not despair, do not be relegated to a hopeless stance
Anticipate a fresh wind, expect a furor to awake within
My Spirit will guide you, He will never lead you astray
New doors will spring open wide before you
You may mourn for what is buried here, but do not consider it finished
Do not think that I have brought you this far to abandon you now
Do not believe that you have now been reduced to an insignificant status
that life will be void of joy or peace…do not surrender to melancholy
Do not establish a camp here, above the wide chasm, beneath the dark skies
For this is not your home, it was never meant to be a permanent residence
I will lead you out of this barren and desolate region, into a promised land
Weeping will last for a night, but joy, I promise you, will come in the morning
Prepare yourself for the journey; you have struggled at times,
but I know what you can handle, and as you venture across the well-traveled paths and forge trails along new frontiers, I will be with you
and ensure your safe passage –
You will not be the same as you travel; this is intended to challenge you,
to force you to rely solely on me – humble yourself, be prudent, be bold
Deliver the Truth in a tender-hearted, compassionate fashion;
recite your testimony, for my loving, gracious nature is found in your story
Simple expressions, concise doses of Truth
can breach the barriers
can soften the hearts of those listening
can be received much more easily than the spouting of grandiose theology
which can be viewed as judgmental, harsh, even cruel attempts at domination
You are not so broken that I cannot use you, that you will have to endure this fragile mindset for the rest of your days
Exercise frequently thoughts that empower you,
Set free a string of blessings that enrich the lives of others
Steer far away from uttering curses or hurling insults at your enemies
May faith tumble out of you and knock loose the mountains before you
Be brave in the face of giants as each will fall at a given time
You are being re-forged, refreshed, rebuilt according to Christ
You have been endowed with power and authority,
And you are backed by Heaven,
given my seal of approval to vanquish the darkness,
to radiate light,
to advance my Kingdom
I have equipped you, conditioned you, set your feet upon the solid rock
In due time the pieces will interlock, and the picture will be made complete
Life is for you to enjoy, it is a practice field of being in covenant with me
New dreams will emerge,
clarity will be given, perception improved
Love of unparalleled dimensions will be felt
I will not relent, and if I am in you, neither will you
Find Marty’s Book on Amazon