Ryan’s Story: An inch & a half of comfort changed my life forever


Ryan's Story...Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

Greetings fellow ground redeemers.  Last week I upped the RYG ante a bit and challenged you to consider your story…and then tell your story…believing that when we do, we affect others’ stories for the better.  But you may be asking yourself…That’s great and all, but what in the frick-n-frack does my telling my story – whatever that is…have anything to do with helping me at home in my yard?  I get it. In one sense it doesn’t really…so I hope you find other posts on RYGblog that will help you there. However, in another sense, understanding and owning your story at home has everything to do with helping you at home…in your yard, much more than how to fertilize your shrubs.  You see, it’s my belief and it’s been my experience that when you consider your story that you will more likely slow down long enough to spend time at home, in your yard…connecting and being with those who matter most.  Keep reading and I think you’ll get what I’m saying.

Ryan's Story...Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.comRemember also from last week, my not-so-jerky friend who challenged me to feature stories on RYGblog that would motivate and inspire others to do some ground redemption of their own? Well, his name is Ryan and he’s accepted his own challenge by telling his story today.  I’d heard Ryan’s story before…and now after reading it in print I see even more how precious life is and how important it is to take everyday as a gift.


In 1999 from mid-August through the first of October, while the world was preparing for Y2K, I was fighting for my life due to a plane accident. I, with my wife always by my side…

    • Endured three surgeries.
    • Lost a massive portion of my intestines.
    • Fought for each breath as my right lung collapsed while my left lung was 50% collapsed and quickly filling up with fluid…I know what drowning feels like.
    • Spent two & a half weeks in the ICU with tubes coming out of my abdomen, neck, lungs, nose, but most irritating was the blue tube shoved down my throat, exiting my mouth to a machine that’s only job was to breathe for me.
    • Went from 200 lbs of lean muscle to a 135 lbs bag of bones.

Every day hundreds of thousands of people take their seat on a plane and are forced to watch a 2-minute safety video explaining how to fasten your seat belt by inserting the silver “tongue” into the silver “buckle” until you hear it snap into place and then we are told when seated, please keep your seat belt fastened tightly at all times.

Enter the inch & a half of comfort I…along with each of you so desperately crave…1 ½ inches.

You see, had there not been an inch & a half of “comfort” or slack in my seat belt when the small aircraft I was traveling in violently fell out of the sky due to an unexpected downward air current that caused us to abruptly lose altitude and force an emergency landing…I would not have endured the struggles previously listed…BUT I would not have gained a couple valuable lessons either!

    1. Always wear your seat belt low and tight across your waist. That shiny, silver piece of metal referred to as the buckle on the seat belt can cause A TREMENDOUS amount of damage if given an inch & a half.

Ryan's Story...Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

After my accident I Redeemed My Ground by deciding to try to be a blessing to anyone I came into contact with. In the past I had gone about my business, never trying to engage a stranger…now I do it every day. Giving a simple smile, paying a compliment or asking how someone’s doing has made a world of difference in my life. Some of the people I’ve met by stepping out of my comfort zone have contributed to my life in unimaginable ways! From strangers to family and friends to successful business partners!

My hope is that followers of Redeem Your Ground will share a blurb of their story, always wear their seat belt low & tight and most importantly…get uncomfortable! Just try it for a portion of each of the next 7 days. And if you do, will you share the cool things that happened to you over those 7 days? I’d love to be inspired by what lessons you’ve learned and how it has changed your life and the lives of those who have crossed your path.


Thanks Ryan…for your friendship, your big-picture thinking, your challenge…and for telling your story.  By getting uncomfortable and approaching a stranger (me) at our daughters’ basketball practice you’ve contributed to my life in many ways.  Thanks.  I look forward to being challenged and changed more…by your story and the stories told by others.

Take care all,
Doug initial

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  1. Elliott Hawkey on May 30, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Great story! I met Ryan on a plane several years after his accident and he practices what he preaches. Both of us were exhausted from a red eye heading back to Orlando, FL – home. While I know he would have rather dozed, we talked the entire time and had so many things in common. I met his unbelievably awesome wife, Jessica, and we all became fast friends. They are honestly, the most amazing couple I have ever had the honor to know.

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