Inspiration Report

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Andy Murray became a professional tennis player in 2005 when he became the youngest Briton to play in the Davis Cup. A month later, he was given a wild card entry to a clay-court tournament in Barcelona, the Open SEAT. Shortly thereafter, Murray reached the semi-finals of the boys’ French Open but lost in straight sets to Marin Cilic. That same year, Murray competed in his first Wimbledon and became the first Scot in the Open Era to reach the third round of the men’s singles tournament.

The following year Murray became the British No. 1 and became one of only two players to ever defeat Roger Federer. It was not until 2009, however, that Murray won his first Master’s title. That said, he made his titles worth the wait when he closed out 2009 with two Master’s titles.

Murray continued to rack up titles both in singles and in doubles with his brother, Jamie. In 2012, Andy Murray competed in the London Summer Olympics in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. He took home the silver in mixed doubles with Laura Robson and won the gold medal in singles. This made Murray the first British man to win the Olympic singles gold medal in tennis since Josiah Ritchie in 1908. For his service to tennis, Murray was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 New Year Honours. That same year, Murray became the Wimbledon champion despite having only 11 days to recover from a hip injury sustained during the Rome Masters. In 2016, Murray took home another singles gold medal at the Rio Summer Olympics.

The tennis star, however, has stated that his career will end after this season. The former world champion and three-time slam champion stated that hip pain has brought his serious playing days to a conclusion. Murray has made it clear that he does not want his career to come to a close, but the chronic weakness in his hip had made it almost unbearable to play against Stan Wawrinka in the 2017 French Open. Murray stated that he was “not sure [he] would be able to play through the pain” any longer. The champion had to leave the press conference to compose himself after he teared up while making the announcement.

Murray will certainly be a loss to the tennis world. He is the reigning Olympic champion, two time Wimbledon champion and has a total of 45 singles titles including three Grand Slam titles, 14 Masters 1000 Series titles and an ATP Finals title. While Murray himself would like to keep playing if he were healthy, the odds of him returning to the game are slim. One can only hope that Murray has a successful recovery and a happy retirement. He has certainly earned it.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to what appears in most media, the bad news dominates. Scandals and disasters sell, so most news media focuses on the unhappy and depressing. The worse the catastrophe, the better. This can give people the impression that nothing good ever happens in the world, but that is not true. Despite the impression that the news may have given, 2018 was actually filled with stories of courage and heroism. Here are some of the most inspirational events that took place in 2018.


Miracle in a Thailand Cave

The entire world watched as a miracle unfolded in Thailand. Twelve boys and their coach were trapped in a cave for more than two weeks when the monsoon rains unexpectedly flooded the cave system. The boys were trapped for nine days without food, water, light or any hope of rescue. Despite that, their coach kept them calm through meditation and alive by showing them how to collect the clean water dripping from the stalactites. Meanwhile, Thailand Navy SEALs made a series of blind dives into the flooded tunnels despite visibility so poor that they could only see a few inches in front of them. Over a thousand people from at least seven countries joined in the search, but finding the boys turned out to be the easy part. Rescuers had three options when it came to rescuing the trapped team. They could drill a hole in through the top of the mountain, wait for the waters to recede after the monsoon or use divers to swim them through the frigid and filthy floodwaters. The first was all but impossible, and the second would leave the team trapped for months in the dark with falling oxygen levels. The last option was the best chance of saving the team, but it would be extremely dangerous even for expert divers, much less boys that could not even swim. Despite that, all thirteen members of the team were successfully rescued, though Lieutenant Commander Samarn Kunan, one of the SEAL divers, lost his life during the rescue. In response, the boys were ordained as novice monks in order to pay their respects and accumulate merit for Kunan’s soul. Such an action is considered the greatest honor one person can give another in Theravada Buddhism. Lieutenant Commander Kunan, and all the divers, certainly earned it with their heroism.


Hope Amongst the Ashes

California saw its most lethal wildfires in history in 2018, but there were dozens of heroes to be found among the flames. From firefighters and first responders to the everyday men and women who went above and beyond for their friends, neighbors and complete strangers, there seemed to be almost as many tales of heroics as there were destruction. Brad Brown, a hospital chaplain, assisted in the evacuation of his hospital, and when they ran out of ambulances, loaded three patients into his minivan. As they were surrounded by fire, he told the story of Daniel who survived being shoved into the furnaces. They dodged the flames for some time but were eventually cut off by a wall of fire. The patients desperately needed care, two of them were from the intensive care unit, so Brown pushed the gas pedal to the floor and drove straight through the fire to safety. Similarly, Tamara Ferguson, a labor and delivery nurse, and her colleagues evacuated their patients and kept them calm. When their evacuation spot was surrounded by fire, the hospital staff fought the flames themselves until help arrived.


Bravery at Breakfast

A Waffle House near Nashville was almost the site of a horrible mass shooting when a man entered the building with an AR-15 and opened fire. James Shaw, Jr. was one of the patrons at the restaurant that morning. When the gunman briefly paused in his assault, Shaw charged the shooter bare handed. Shaw managed to wrestle the rifle away from the gunman despite suffering a bullet-graze and burns.


Fearless Flying

On April 17, an engine on a Southwest Airlines plane exploded in midair. The lives of the crew and all 143 passengers abruptly stranded at 32,000 feet were left in the hands of Tammie Jo Shults. Fragments from the damaged engine shattered a passenger window, killing Jennifer Riordan and depressurizing the cabin. Shults, however, remained calm and guided the Boeing 737 safely to the ground. Shults was hailed as a hero, but she humbly declared that it was the passengers and crew who were the true heroes.


Korea United

There are likely no two nations quite as simultaneously similar and different as North and South Korea. They share the same language, history and some elements of culture. South Korea, however, is a free and prosperous nation while the totalitarian North Korea is hell on Earth for those living there, complete with frightening and creative tortures. Despite that, the Korean peninsula came together for the first time in decades during the 2018 Winter Olympics. North and South Korean athletes marched together during the opening ceremonies and shared a single flag.


Box Office Underdogs

Hollywood has long insisted that Christian movies do not do well at the box office. As such, Hollywood cheerfully continues to refuse to make them. “I Can Only Imagine,” however, shattered that misconception. The Christian movie was a smash hit at the box office and blew every expectation Hollywood had out of the water.

“I Can Only Imagine” was not the only unexpected success to appear in 2018, either. “Sgt. Stubby” told the tale of the first modern War Dog and his role in World War I, a period of time that rarely gets its due on the silver screen. Meanwhile, “Black Panther” was expected to be the latest blockbuster to come out of Marvel Studios and did not disappoint.


Even though the media may have focused largely on the disasters and disappointments of 2018, the year was filled with people who stood up for what was right and went above and beyond the call of duty. There were tales of courage, stories of justice and a number of people who truly earned the title of hero.

Sean Gillies/Flickr

Sean Gillies/Flickr

A British skier who “died” for twenty minutes after being trapped in an avalanche revealed today how she “saw a peaceful forest” while experiencing the “afterlife”.

The 29-year-old, Rhianna Shaw, had been skiing with friends at the St Anton ski resort in Austria when she collided into another skier in February 2012.

As both of her ski’s flew off her feet and she tumbled down the slope, she felt what she thought was a “wash of snow” shower her. It turned out to be a massive avalanche.

“Our crash was so powerful, it created a massive fracture in the mountain and forcing a ledge to break off, setting off an avalanche which pushed me 200 meters down.”

She had realized that no one could hear her screaming for help.

“Suddenly I stopped moving and all I could feel was this weight. Heavy snow just stopping me from moving, seeing and thinking. I could feel everything, but within seconds I couldn’t breathe. I was just focusing on breathing.”

Shaw said “everything became so peaceful” after she made the hard decision to stop breathing due to being encased in snow.

Initially the skier thought she was having a vivid dream. She had died, but her brain was still working.

“I started walking along a pathway in this peaceful, pale forest. It had big tall evergreens on either side. Everything was as bright as day. Weirdly it was so calming, and it looked like there was some kind of snow on the ground but not like snow as we know it.”

Rhianna believes she was conscious for at least five minutes before she decided to “let herself die”.

Her friends had tried to call her phone for nine minutes after she collided with the other boarder.

“It’s actually only by chance that I was found. My friends told me they had just been sticking their hands in random parts of the snow. At first they found one of my ski poles. But then they found my leg.”

She says her doctor told her there was a six per cent chance I would have survived from the suffocation she endured.

Roxli Doss was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an inoperable brain tumor that has no cure according to KVUE. It is the type of cancer that starts in the brain stem and spreads.

“[The type of cancer] is very rare, but when we see it, it is a devastating disease,” her doctor, Virginia Harrod with Dell Children’s Medical Center told KVUE. “You have decreased ability to swallow, sometimes vision loss, decreased ability to talk, eventually difficult with breathing.”

While there is no cure for this type of cancer and survival rates are low, Roxli still underwent radiation treatment in hopes of temporarily shrinking the tumor.

Roxli’s family also prayed without ceasing.

Then the family received some very unexpected news. During her next MRI scan, the tumor was gone.”

“When I first saw Roxli’s MRI scan, it was actually unbelievable,” Harrod said. “The tumor is undectable on the MRI scan, which is really unusual.

Doctors double checked the scan and still couldn’t find the tumor. They have no explanation for what happened, KVUE reports. They prayed for her healing everyday.

Roxli’s parents are crediting the miracle to God saying he healed her.

“Everyday we still say it,” said her mom, Gena Doss. “It’s kind of our family thing that God healed Roxli.”