I am not a victim.


Four years ago today, my family and I were in a horrific car accident.  I almost died.  My wife and kids could have died as well.  The driver of the other car is dead.  My family was shaken to the core.  Everything we knew was turned upside down in an instant.  I have spent the last four years trying to recover everything I lost that day.  I have experienced great pain and suffering, but I am not a victim.  No experience but death could have prevented me from taking my current situation and  moving forward.  I could not control where my recovery started, but I could choose where it went from there.  God has given us free will, and free will is very powerful.  I can only be a victim if I allow myself to be one.  If I choose to let the pain and the setbacks identify me, than that is exactly what I am doing.

On Thanksgiving I ran the entire 5K Turkey Trot.  Just under four years ago, I laid in my nursing home bed, paralyzed, and told my family and friends that I was going to run it.  I am not sure how many people believed me.  I know my doctors didn’t think it could be done. It took me a lot longer to get that goal than I had thought, but by the grace of God and through perseverance, I succeeded.  It was a massive struggle to get there, but I learned so much about myself through the experience, that it was actually a blessing.

I am not a victim.

This blog is now one year old.  I wrote my very first post last Thanksgiving.  What a strange process all this has been.  Between the blog, magazines articles, TV interviews, newspaper articles, and speaking engagements, I have had the chance to share my family’s story with well over 1 million people this year.  This fact is very difficult to wrap my head around.  These opportunities have given me the chance to talk to many wonderful and inspiring people.  By simply giving a little of myself, I have received ten times in return.

I am not a victim.

I have come a long way over the past four years.  The first few months after the accident, I would think that all of it was just a bad dream and that I would wake up.  Now I feel like the time before the accident was the dream.  I remember those months right after the accident like it was yesterday, yet time has moved on.  Time is a funny thing.  It seems to go by so slowly on a day-to-day basis, but at the same time you question how your little babies grew up so quickly and why your hair is turning gray.  Only time will tell where my road to recovery will take me.  All I know for sure is that I will preserver. My family will always motivate me to overcome any adversity.

I am not a victim.

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14 Responses to I am not a victim.

  1. John: You are currently one of my sole figures of inspiration!! What s story you have to tell and you are able to share it with all of us to be inspired by your spirit and recovery! I know that the mercy and grace of God played a main role but you are a gift in itself. I struggle with my one knee replacement and the other knee failing and spinal stenosis and being blind in one eye but then I look to you and feel like I have it easy. Thank you so so much for your gift of writing and sharing with me. You truly give me the strength to not feel sorry for myself whenever I read your blog. Please continue to bless us with your awesome spirit. God Bless You.

    • John Ulsh says:

      Thanks Vicki for the kind words. Yesterday was a strange mix of emotions. In some ways it is reassuring to see how far I came since last year and in other ways it is tough to know that I am not where I want to be. However, I am starting to understand that God’s true Grace comes in the process of reaching a goal and not in the goal itself. That gives me a lot of comfort, since I have a lot of goals that I am yet to achieve on my path to recovery. As always, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to my posts.
      God Bless -John

  2. Becky Ulsh says:

    Nice post, Sonshine! Luv ya…….

  3. Sharon O says:

    What a powerful story. It shows how resilient you are as a person and how wonderful our God is as a savior. He saved you once and perhaps twice. Now keep telling your story so others can believe and get saved too.

    • John Ulsh says:

      Thanks Sharon for the kind words and for following my blog. Only by God’s grace am I alive to share my family’s story. I try to always remember that and put Him first in my life. I look forward to reading more of your comments in the future.
      God Bless -John

  4. Bump Leshko says:

    Incredible journey John, you are truly and inspiration to all. God Bless

  5. Liz Keller says:

    John you are not a victim, you are a survivor. You have inspired many keep it up and congrats on completing the turkey trot this year. I can’t imagine how proud Tonia, the kids, your parents and Andy and Bingham are for all you have conquered since that fateful day. We are proud of you too!! Keep on inspiring. Happy Holidays.
    Liz

    • John Ulsh says:

      Thanks Liz! It felt really great to experience running again, even if it was only a 5K at 12 min pace. I have been very blessed to have a great family who supports me unconditionally. I hope you have a great Christmas even though Nate’s Badgers will lose their bowl game! 😉
      God Bless -John

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  7. Saundra Hoffer says:

    John
    you are such a inspiration you just don’t know how lucky you are until you see someone else with more problems than you>>> Hospital n Dr’s are great but the power of GOD is phenominal he has more power than anyone<<<< we take things for granted somdays but when something like this happens you know you are blessed
    take care and keep the faith
    Aunt Saundra (Tonia's Aunt)

  8. Jessica Saley says:

    John,
    This is me being late as always! I am so happy for you that you have been given such a blessing from God to be able to experience life with your beautiful family. He definately has a purpose for your life and thank you for embracing that purpose. Some of us never realize what our purpose here on earth is, but I don’t believe that is the case for you!

    • John Ulsh says:

      Jessica-
      Thank you for the kind words. I have tried to be open to God’s plan for my recovery. Strange how He works. 5 years ago I never could have imaged standing in a room full of hundreds of people sharing my personal life.

      Thanks,
      -John

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