Finding Healing

Meet My Dad: A Father Daughter Story of Redemption

Me Ra Koh

Meet my dad, and hear a father daughter story of redemption.

My dad celebrated his 73rd birthday this week.  He’s a powerful example of never giving up, regardless of how impossible the obstacles.

Over 5 yrs. ago, he was hit by a teenage girl who was texting while driving.

We almost lost him that day.

He lost his left leg, the right leg was crushed, and he suffered through endless surgeries.  But he never stopped smiling.  He never stopped encouraging people to believe in hope.  I kept waiting for him to lose his temper with the doctors or nurses.  But it never happened, even when he lost in court, he always had this deep peace.

After almost a year of physical therapy, he taught himself how to walk again.  He went to the gym almost everyday.  In the beginning, his workout was often just getting out of the car (often in the rain), getting into his wheelchair, and rolling himself to the gym doors.  By then, he’d be so exhausted that he’d turn around and go back home.  And then he’d do it all over again the next day.  He still goes to the gym everyday, rain or shine.  He even reinvented his golf swing and is up to golfing 9 holes.  And recently, he told me that he wants to re-learn how to downhill ski again, and create his own gym at home.

Through it all, he still deals with phantom limb pain.  The leg that is no longer there constantly burns with extreme pain most hours of the day.  But you would never know looking at his smile.  We know as his family, my mom most of all.  But most people only see his joy.

My dad wasn’t always a pillar of hope and joy.  When I was younger we had a difficult, painful relationship.  It was the impossible relationship.  But can I tell you that God healed our relationship?  He did the impossible for my dad and I.  He took a relationship that had pretty much died and breathed new life into it.  It makes me cry just typing that because even though we’ve had 15 years of powerful healing…it still feels like yesterday.

You have to understand.  My dad is a first generation Korean man.  He was raised in a culture of pride and hierarchy during the Korean War.  For a Korean father to ask his daughter to forgive him is simply unheard of.

He’s also a Tae Kwan Do Master with an 8 degree black belt.  My mom has old newspaper clippings of him breaking bricks with his head.  He even trained Bruce Lee in form when he first came to this country!  For a father like this, so proud and accomplished, to ask his daughter to forgive him…that is asking for a miracle.

Miracles still happen.  The impossible is still possible.  My dad asked me to forgive him, and his heart began to soften.  Over the years, pride has been replaced with joy.  Anger replaced with hope.

People often ask me how I can dream so big, go after such impossible things, and not give up.

When you’ve experienced healing with the one thing that your heart thought was most impossible–to difficult for even the God of the universe to heal–you realize the impossible becoming possible is still alive and well!

This is one of the reasons I love Easter.

My relationship with my dad was all but dead, and it’s been restored beyond measure.  It’s more alive than I ever thought possible–dared even to dream of.  If you saw us today, you wouldn’t see a hint of the old pain because it no longer lives in either of us.  That is something you can’t fake.

What impossibles do you face in your life right now?

What relationships seem to impossible to heal?

May my dad’s story of endurance and strength encourage you today.

May our story, a father daughter story of redemption, give you hope.

My dad has become one of my heroes.  He sends me texts with encouraging, loving words.  He is the best Papa to my kids.  And he chooses to fight everyday through pain’s isolation and discouragement.  He chooses hope and joy instead of pride and anger.  He’s the living proof that the impossible is still possible.

May the breath of hope breathe new life into your impossibles.


*Big thank you to Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and fellow Sony Artisan of Imagery, Brian Smith, for taking this special portrait of us at CES in Vegas.  Words can’t express my deep thanks Brian.