Learning to communicate grace in our difficulty and brokenness—including the physical kind. . . .
John M. Espy. Irrevocable: A Story of Human Aphasia and Divine Grace. 400p., $17.99, Deep River Books.
The ability to express and understand written and spoken language is impaired in individuals who are experiencing human aphasia. The disorder is considered common with over 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year. While it can occur suddenly or more slowly, it is always the result of some type of brain injury.
Pam Espy experienced human aphasia following a stroke when she was 53 years old. Doctors and therapists said they had done all that could be done for Pam. Her church family was loving and welcoming but placed no expectations on her. Pam’s husband John held tightly to his firm belief that God’s still had a plan and a call on Pam’s life. In the New International Version of the Bible, Romans 11:29 says, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
Clinging to this promise from Scripture, John believed that Pam was not diminished; she was merely broken—just as he was also broken, just as we all are also broken. It is in that brokenness that God’s love and mercy can be seen, as it shines through our broken places when we invite him into our brokenness.
This is the story of how John and Pam learned to embrace their brokenness together and invite God to shine in the midst of it, making it more beautiful than they could have imagined. This memoir is also a work of reflection, drawing on Scripture, poetry, neuroscience, and more than forty accounts of other stroke and brain injury survivors. Ultimately, it is a love story, a meditation on what remains when everything is shaken.