I don’t believe in miracles anymore. Haven’t for a while. I know really that every breath we breathe is a miracle, and every time our eyes open in the morning and we lay our head down on our pillow at night, and we have made it safely through the day, it really is a time to celebrate a miracle.
There are times in life when we really need a miracle, where we do everything right. We pray and we believe in God and we do all the things in life that are right so we SHOULD get our miracle. There were three times I really wanted a miracle to occur, to save my son, and to save two dear friends that died young, and it didn’t happen. What happens when we don’t get our miracle is we suffer a double hurt.
We suffer a hurt of losing the person we wanted the miracle for, and we suffer the hurt, the disappointment of not having the miracle occur for us. Jesus parted seas and gave people fish and loaves and did a bunch of cool other stuff, so why couldn’t he give us our miracle? We did everything right, we prayed and we are led to believe if we do the right things than miracles happen, so when we don’t get the results we want, what happened???!!! Our heart breaks because we don’t understand why. People get angry at God for not getting their miracle, there is pain from not understanding, and life becomes a complicated slippery slope. I have learned when I pray for people in a crisis, I don’t pray for a miracle, I pray for peace. Because miracles are complicated stuff. Disease and sickness, it’s really hard sometimes to heal from. But peace, we all need peace, whether it be physical or mental, peace is something that we can strive for in any situation.
Last month when Katie fell into the window at church and lacerated her face, I was devastated. As the plastic surgeon sewed up her beautiful face, layer by layer, she laid perfectly still on the stretcher. With its stark white sheets, she had black vomit covering her gown and blood all over her face. I held her little hand with its chipped pink nail polish and put my head on the stretcher. Even though I couldn’t imagine my heart breaking any more than it already has in life, I felt it crack again, I felt my body go into that altered conscious state of knowing there would be pain and heartache for a child. All the air left my body. For I felt this was “it”. The “it” I had been fearing, the one I wake up in cold sweats from. The “it” was watching another one of my children have their heart broken and live in pain for the rest of their life. For I was thrown back in time to when I held another little hand and watched as doctors held down a child and there were medicines, and sutures, and blood and so much pain.
People tell me I have lived the worst nightmare, I have lost a child, there is nothing else left as worse. I remind them lightening can and sometimes does strike twice. Just when you think you have lived the nightmare, the next day can bring something just as bad. Being hit once, does not prevent it from striking again, you are never immune. You never say never, not ever.
In all the years I have been a nurse and in the 20++++ surgeries Joe, and Christopher and I have gone through in 16 years, never have I prayed for a surgeon’s hands to guide sutures. Not even in all the years I worked in an Operating Room. Because I am realistic to know, thine will be done. But I begged God, with my face placed in that stretcher, and holding that little hand, to help save my child’s face, for it was the worse laceration I have ever seen and I didn’t know if everything would be ok.
A few weeks later:
Somehow, the skin didn’t go necrotic as feared (probably because of my crazy dressing changes), and we didn’t have to “take a flap” to sew the skin back on. Somehow the skin approximated, somehow it’s going to be ok. Multiple plastic surgeon and doctors’ visits later and the bones in the nose and face are still intact and we will see where we are in a few months. Her hands, legs and arms took weeks to heal from where they had been bruised and hurt to move. Being told a month ago she may need multiple surgeries, and today she’s wearing three bandages across her nose. Maybe, just maybe, I finally got my little miracle I wanted.
There were tears from Katie’s, and bad days, and tough questions and answers, and in that moment I realized how lucky we were that we didn’t have to answer those tough questions with Christopher. Even though he was a baby in a hospital, and never knew a different life, we never had to have those tough conversations. He wasn’t out smiling and riding his bike one day, going to school, and than have a diagnosis of a disease that would change his life. It hit me in that moment, how fortunate we were to never have to answer those hard questions, yet it broke my heart for all my friends whose children have died as children and teenagers. The children who lived a normal life, than one day have to be told their life would forever be changed.
What I didn’t tell anybody, the one thing I didn’t mention to anybody, is the day before Katie got hurt I was at her brother’s grave. I still go every few weeks, by myself. I clean it off, place fresh flowers and a new stuffed animal. Even though he would have been 11, I always take stuffed animals a baby would like. The one thing I always say to Christopher before I leave, the last words I always say to him with tears in my eyes are: “Take care of your sister, and your little brother and your daddy, because I don’t know what I do if something happened to them.” So perhaps, because Christopher didn’t get his miracle, he gave it to his little sister, I think he gave her his miracle. What a wonderful big brother he is, after all, it’s a big brothers job to look after his little sister.