Monday, April 13, 2020

Eight Twenty Eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy


Eight Twenty Eight
When Love Didn't Give Up
Ian & Larissa Murphy
Published 2014
American Memoir

Eight Twenty Eight is a memoir about a young couple in love, Ian and Larissa Murphy, who were preparing to spend their lives together, when, in 2006, Ian was involved in an automobile accident that changed their lives forever. 

Ian suffered a traumatic brain injury, which affected his short-term memory and speech, as well as other functions. Naturally, he would have to relearn how to walk and talk; but would he remember Larissa? Would he still remember he loved her? Would he still want and need her? These were questions Larissa needed to know because it would determine what she would do with her own life.

Larissa knew she still loved Ian and wanted to be with him, but she needed Ian to decide if she should remain. Doctors had told her that he would not remember her the same way, yet she refused to give up.

When Ian came home from hospital care, Larissa lived with his family, learning to care for Ian, talking to him and helping him remember. Slowly, as his ability to communicate thoughts and feelings improved, Larissa believed she began to understand what Ian wanted. One thing was certain: he had retained his charming humor and keen wit.

Larissa got her answer on Christmas Eve 2009, when Ian proposed. Eight months later, they were married in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by loving family and friends, and they have continued being a testimony for God's grace, mercy, and enduring love, which never gives up. 

Much of Ian's and Larissa's story is about Larissa's transparent struggle with God. Who wouldn't be angry? But God used Ian's injury to expose Larissa's weakness in her faith. After Ian's accident, his love for God was a strong foundation, and it was the kind of faith that Larissa wanted. 

The last chapter is the best because it demonstrates Larissa's maturity in Christ as she learned to make decisions "based on dependence [on] God, trusting that goodness and mercy would follow." She rightly questioned her ability to be an adequate helper for Ian. She had to justify her decision to stay with him when many believed he no longer had value.

Larissa asked Ian, "How are you so nice?" He replied, "I have an incredible Savior." 

Ian's faith perplexed Larissa, and she knew "it was a faith she did not have but wanted to absorb." 
Isn't this what I have been called to? This life of dependency on the One who made me? This life that doesn't make me comfortable, because the discomfort is exactly what I need to make heaven more irresistible?
After the accident and a year before Ian and Larissa were engaged, Ian's father succumbed to his battle with cancer. But before he passed, he wrote about how he saw God's amazing love and sacrifice through Larissa's dedication and loyalty to his son, Ian. In 2008, he wrote:
I see God in the way that Larissa has stayed with Ian through this. I see the Savior in her devotion. When we see Larissa and Ian together, we should not be amazed by her devotion and love. Instead we should be pointed to Christ, amazed by His love for us and the miracle it is that we can reflect even a portion of that. 
Some critics of the book complained that jumping around from past, present, and future was confusing, but I was able to follow along, so that wasn't a problem for me. Others found Larissa's tone very angry, but I appreciated it because I felt empathy for her. She was young and had a future planned with Ian that did not include a brain injury. Marriage to Ian would mean she would be the sole provider, they would need to live with others who could help Ian, and it would never be a normal marriage. However, Larissa learned that there would be blessings even in what she called their "sovereignly disabled marriage." 



In this place, where I look at Ian and see God and the cost Jesus paid so that we could know and experience love, we see clearly that He does work all things -- together. 

2 comments:

Sharon Wilfong said...

Interesting. The story sounds just like another one years ago, only it was the woman who was in the auto accident. I think they made a movie about it as well.

I hope you're staying healthy and safe!

Ruth said...

Do you remember the name of the woman? I know a few other stories somewhat like this one.