The word miracle in modern times has come to mean less of divine intervention, and more of a wish granting service by an almighty, omnipotent deity. To many, it seems more of a magic wand to come and kiss away the tears of life’s many foibles. A man down in the dumps might wake up one day, win the lottery and fall to his knees thanking God for the miracle that occurred. Perhaps a solution to a problem has suddenly come to fruition, would one then proclaim a miracle? Maybe a prayer that has finally been answered, a tangible manifestation of a recurring desire, deemed deus ex machina? In my short 33 years on earth, through a series of unanswered prayers, wishes never to see the light of day, and expectations met with fire and brimstone, I now know a simple and powerful meaning of this awe inspiring word!
Eight years ago, I was a struggling single mom. I worked weekends, some evenings, and went to Dental Hygiene School during the day. My son was a little under a year old, and ready to take the world by the tail with his cute sense of humor and curiosity for life. At the time, we had moved in with my mother, who worked nights as a cashier. She had just left for work, and I was busy scrubbing away at the dishes in the modest kitchen of our small one-bedroom apartment. Caleb was in the room next to us playing in the living room, and I popped my head in every few minutes to check on him. After awhile, I heard a squeal of delight coming from the living room. I quickly poked my head around the corner, and he looked up at me with his big, playful eyes and a wide grin. His face and mouth covered in what looked like chocolate. Where did he get chocolate , I wondered? Then it dawned on me, I hadn’t given him any chocolate. In fact, I don’t think we had any in the house. Just then, he slid his tiny hand out of his diaper, and a light bulb turned on! That was definitely not chocolate! Instead, a messy diaper he curiously decided to sample. In the midst of running him straight to the bath tub and dodging stinky, little diaper pail kisses, we both doubled over laughing. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but it struck my funny bone and we laughed and laughed like a couple of drunk hyenas. A tear of laughter adorned my eye. He was all cleaned up and in bed, and me in my bed too.
Just moments before drifting to sleep, a more serious feeling struck me from my silly,sleepy mood. A long-past prayer that went unanswered, haunted my memory and left me stricken with guilt. I suddenly remembered wishing and praying many years before, to never be burdened with the freedom-less life of motherhood. In my early twenties when all of my friends were having kids and settling down, I remember growing quite depressed at just the thought of it. It felt like such a predetermined, ordinary path that everyone was expected to take. I wanted no part of it. I recall selfishly praying about it many nights, and made every choice in life to avoid it. As I laid in bed, thinking of how nothing in the world has ever made me laugh as hard as my son had, I cried tears of joy thanking God he never answered that prayer, and saved me when I didn’t even know I needed saving!
July 2007, 2:30am, I remember the rhythm of my bare feet running through a dewy, open field, eclipsed only by the heavy breath that escaped me as I ran for dear life from my boyfriend’s condo in the middle of the night. I had known him a short-time and we found ourselves expecting a baby boy due in October. Trying to make an honest life, I reluctantly moved in with him, knowing little about this person I was starting a life with. I soon came to know all to well, his hidden anger fueled by alcoholic induced fits of rage, and tactics of instilling fear. Most nights with him, I fell asleep almost too scared to even breath loudly. Until finally I had enough, and made a plan of escape in the only way I could brave. I waited for him to pass out after a long day of drinking, and while he slept I carefully crept out of the house, too scared and nerve-stricken to bother with shoes. I ran like a wild mare, fast and far to safety.
I phoned my mom to pick me up, though she lived an hour away. After I left, he agreed to go through therapy and an AA program. I tried to be supportive and wished for a way to not enter motherhood alone, offering solace from afar. After numerous counseling sessions, I laid alone at night with my thoughts and prayers. I remember relentlessly hoping, wishing, and praying to God he could find some way to make him magically better, or find a way for us to stay together. After my son was born, many,many of his therapy sessions later, I realized those prayers had fallen on deaf ears. Not a stitch of progress, and I was left to give up hope and felt anger that God ignored, or forgotten me.
Tonight, I sit on the floor of my daughter’s nursery and listen to my recently wed husband make funny voices for her favorite Barney story, and help her tuck all of her teddy bears in before she falls asleep. Once again, I’m thanking God for never answering my prayers from those lonely,fearful nights I used to know. In my mind I apologize to God, for ever doubting he heard me. But he already knows, even before I do and that is the miracle of this private relationship we share. He listens to me, forgives me, never turns his back from me, and gives me the strength and courage to find the things he has planned for me even when I fight it like a stubborn child.
None of these events are extraordinary, no feats of magic have been performed, and I haven’t been miraculously cured of any horrible ailment. But that’s the beauty of it, our times of pain, tragic loss, and unanswered prayers are the everyday miracles in disguise. We weren’t meant to know everything now, and through pain and sacrifice we can grow and flourish to become stronger, more humble, happier forms of ourselves than we could have ever prayed for! Embracing the unknown and the challenges of giving your complete trust, is indeed the miracle. As I sit here now I think back to all the things I thought I wanted, needed, and prayed for. I am thankful, miraculously none of them ever came true!
Story contributed by Lyne.