Have you ever stopped to notice how many miracles take place in one day?
In January 2009, when our world felt like it had come to a complete standstill, when every moment was devoid of hope – I had a revelation. In the midst of horrendous circumstances, good things still happen.
In the dismal space of Royal North Shore Hospital, days after we were told she had three months to live (without treatment), we started to look for the good.
1. “Isn’t it good that I came with you and made sure you had that blood test!”
2. “Isn’t it good that my friend can teach my class until you get better!”
3. “Isn’t it good that we have our own room!”
4. “Isn’t it good that the orderly noticed your Bible and prayed for you before you went in!”
5. “Isn’t it good that the doctor made a joke with you when he saw you at the café!”
6. “Isn’t it good that Dad found a park today in under an hour!”
7. “Isn’t it good that we have that lovely nurse rostered on again today!”
8. “Isn’t it good that my friend works in the blood bank and they have B+ blood today!”
9. “Isn’t it good that the lady in the café was happy to toast our sandwiches!”
10. “Isn’t it good that we have our iPhones!”
And so began the ‘Ten Tiny Miracles,” things you might not normally rejoice over.
Grant made Sam a book so we could write them all down.
As the years passed (almost two now) the miracles grew. There is so much to be thankful for.
On Monday night I watched her leave the house to go to work at the Mall. The sun filled the sky with its hues of magenta, and bright orange light filled our living room. A moment worth capturing! It was very significant to me. It was the way she held her keys. They dangled over her thumb; she shook them like she used to when she was stronger. Before cancer came. Before her youth was taken.
“I’ll grab a cheeseburger at Maccas on my way and eat something else when I get home,” she announced.
“Sounds great!” I smiled.
“See ya then!” she replied, shaking her keys.
The door slammed and I was undone. I ran the water in the shower. I stepped beneath its torrent and let it pound against my head. To me this is the equivalent of crying.
I don’t cry much. That’s my mother’s fault, or maybe my dad’s? I am of English heritage – stiff upper lip! We slam things but we don’t cry – who knows why? We leak a little – tears well up and fill the rims beneath our eyeballs. The water swirls. Our noses run. We sniff. But we don’t cry. No idea why?
And in the steam, under the pressure of the water, I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes and remembered all the times I have prayed and dreamed that I would see her dangle those keys the way she did, the way she used to, when nothing else mattered except for having fun and being young. I thought of how, for so long, I took it all for granted. Of how I expected long life and success to follow my children. Of how I never expected for their lives to be challenged by sickness, least of all cancer. Of how I never expected that our lives would fall apart and yet we stayed together. Somehow, through it all, through all the stuff that has gone on, we are all still okay. Better than okay!
Early on in her treatment I heard God whisper to me, “I will be to her a wall of fire round about and I will be the glory in the midst of her.” It’s found in Zechariah 2:5, so it’s not just for me; you could borrow it for you, and apply it to whatever it is that you or maybe your daughter is facing?
My heart is heavy these days for the plight of our daughters and our global responsibility to stand up for their education. I keep finding myself here and listening to things like this incredible speech by Hillary Clinton at the TED conference:
I am re-reading the fabulous book by Sylvia Rimm called “See Jane Win,” and am remarkably relieved that somehow, by God’s grace, I didn’t do too badly in raising my girls to be successful women. I’m thankful to my mum for reminding me that my daughters needed to be told that they were not only beautiful (which they are) but also smart, hard working and resilient. I think when Sam lost her hair, her eyebrows, her eyelashes, when her face blew up because of Prednisone and her skin became mottled because of GVHD, it was important for her to really know that her beauty is more than skin deep.
Similarly, it was Emma who stayed in France for a whole 7 months, even though she begged to come home, even though her dad would have arranged for her to be on the next plane. Somehow I knew that if she came back early, she would never forgive me; and though it was immensely hard at only 15 years of age, she conquered her dream. We need to help girls achieve their dreams!
This Christmas I am thankful for so many miracles like Sam’s part-time job, her new business, her new lease on life, for my amazing family, for treasured friends, for new opportunities and the list goes on…
I’m learning so much in this season. I still have so much to discover, so much I do not know. But this I do know: that every day there are miracles – at least ten – and dreams are not impossible; they just sometimes need many people to gather together to see the possibilities.
What do you see?