STANDING ON MY OWN TWO FEET
By Clare Sultmann; Halstead Press; $24.95
Reviewed by Br Tim Scott CFC
I HAVE just finished reading this incredible book with a powerful message.
Author Clare Sultmann is the daughter of Bill, who many of us know as director of mission with the Christian Brothers Oceania Province and former executive director of Catholic Education Services in Cairns diocese.
Clare had moved to Sydney after completing her law degree at Bond University.
She had been there only eight months when, on August 18, 2000, while out for an early-morning jog she was hit at a pedestrian crossing by a 10-tonne garbage truck.
Her legs were pinned under the truck’s wheels for 37 minutes as help arrived.
The next six months she spent in St Vincent’s Hospital enduring incredible pain and many operations.
She was only 22, but so began her incredible journey to recovery for more than 10 years.
Clare begins each chapter with a quote relevant to what she is writing.
One quote from Lao Tzu says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.
This first step for Clare cost enormous pain and much courage and determination.
Her parents and friends along the way continually supported her and their presence is noticeable as you read Clare’s story.
Throughout it all there were still doubts as to whether she would lose her legs, would she ever walk again, would she have a family of her own.
However, Clare leaves us in no doubt as to her aims for the future.
She expresses her feelings and thoughts and gives us an honest and candid account of what she was going through and, yes, with humour too.
Her quote from Blessed Mother Teresa at the beginning of chapter three says a lot,
“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”
This book gives us a great message about trust in God, being there when we are needed and using our gifts for others.
I think here of the extraordinary work of Clare’s surgeons, doctors and nursing staff.
I remember thinking that the Resurrection was about Jesus rising from the tomb not the cross.
We all go through suffering and the darkened times when we are “entombed” but we rise from here with God’s help.
The hurts and crucifixions are inevitable, but belief in Jesus’ resurrection promises that the effects of our pain will not be permanent.
Clare, certainly in this book, shares that message with us.
As one of her doctors said, “Ongoing medical management regarding her legs is likely to be a lifelong pursuit.”
During her recovery Clare began work with Youngcare, an amazing group and the profits from the sale of the book goes to this charity. You will not be disappointed as you read this amazing story.
Let me finish with Clare’s words: “Who knows where things will go from here.
“But I know one thing for sure.
“This path, this road to recovery and rehabilitation, will become less travelled as the years go by.
“It is now up to me to find other paths, to walk down different roads and to make use of every opportunity and blessing that has been bestowed on me.”