The Miracles Behind Closed Doors
I snapped a photo awhile back when I took my daughter shopping and she was trying on clothes in the dressing room. It was a photo of the dressing room door. Already, in that first sentence there are at least two miracles I’d like to highlight for you; one being that we were out shopping together. One of the last times we were out shopping together (at this exact store no less) things didn’t turn out so well. Like many moms and teenage daughters we had a difference of opinions as to what her “look” was going to be. The details aren’t super important, but I can tell you that things went sideways really fast once from that point and we ended up leaving the store shortly thereafter in quite a huff and we ultimately pulled over on the side of the road for an epic “chat”. I can count the number of our shopping excursions together since that day on one hand. But there were now: shopping together and having a really pleasant time for miracle number one, and then miracle number two was that she was in the dressing room, trying on clothes quite willingly and patiently, and I was fetching her new sizes as needed, and we were both totally calm and fine. So ya, a big WOW! and AMEN! to that! Don’t tell me miracles don’t happen.
So I’ve been thinking about that photo since then. At first I just thought about the photo with the door closed as a way to protect her privacy and not horrify her on social media that she was out shopping with her totally lame mom, but then I realized that a lot of miracles really do happen behind closed doors. And in this day and age of social media where if we don’t see an event or an announcement on Facebook we question whether it really happened or not, I think the closed door is symbolic in other ways.
The nitty-gritty details and drama of what’s gone on in our family behind the scenes can’t be shared publicly for a whole lot of good reasons, one of which is because it wouldn’t be fair to our kids, and really at this point the details aren’t super important. However, I can tell you it has been an INSANE 2018, to be sure. A couple of our friends know far too many of the gory details than they’d probably like to and they’re as stupified as we are. It’s just been nuts. Despite the insanity, there have been miracles. Boy have there been miracles.
The first miracle has been the connectedness we’ve experienced with trustworthy and caring people. I don’t know if it’s because of the fact that I’m an only child, or I’m an American where in our culture we encourage and applaud hyper-individuality, or maybe it’s stuff that’s happened recently where I was caught completely off-guard by some relationships that absolutely exploded in my face, or, maybe it’s a combination of all three. Regardless, being connected to others does not come naturally for me. My guard is up. My circle of trusted friends is small. But when our year started off with a huge unexpected “bang” I couldn’t and didn’t want to spend all the energy pretending everything was status quo. Fortunately for us, there were people in our lives who had some technical expertise in what we were going through and who had the character and grace to not only NOT judge us because of what we were going through, but who had genuine love for us and chose to walk through the insanity with us.
Another miracle that we’ve experienced is that the truth came out. It’s one thing to say “The truth always comes out”, and it’s definitely one of my favorite sayings, and indeed, prayers. But it’s a whole new ball of wax when hideous, horrible lies are told about you, lies that if they are believed by certain people, can have catastrophic and life-altering consequences for you and your family. It’s happened twice in the past six months that these lies have been told about us, and we’ve had to walk through the process of the truth being revealed. It didn’t happen overnight and we had to walk through some very uncertain days, which most of the time seemed to never end. We were transparent with the people we felt we could trust and they never flinched. We were flanked by some of the best people I could ever imagine and they stood with us and for us as we walked through a very dark corridor that most of the time seemed impossibly long and absolutely pitch-black. It’s extremely humbling to be surrounded by genuine love.
I’ve had a lot of time as a result of all the hub-bub going on to think about miracles. If you’ve ever spent any time at all with someone who knows and loves the game of baseball as I have, you’ve heard the phrase, “The game within the game”. Highly paraphrased it means that even if you think baseball is as boring as paint drying on a wall, there are a million riveting and totally engrossing subtle subtexts happening right in front of you, that you couldn’t possibly step away from the game for a refill of popcorn or soda (seriously, this is how baseball fanatics are, and I should know because I’m married to one).
So anyway……..the whole phrase, “The game within the game” has got me to thinking about “The miracle within the miracle”…….or more accurately put, “The miracles within the miracles”, because we’ve seen a lot of them. Or how about this, “The miracle within the NON-miracle”?
Let’s say you’ve been praying HARD for years and years and years about something in your life that you’d really like to see change. Could be a health condition you’ve been battling, or a loved one has been dealing with. Could be your son/daughter’s life has been permanently altered due to an accident or injury and you’ve been praying for the miracle that could change their lives for the positive. Could be you’re in a lousy marriage and you want your spouse to change so your lives together could get happier. Regardless, let’s just say that whatever it is you’ve been praying for, that one miracle that you really, really need, just isn’t happening.
Let’s look at the miracles within that time span that you’re patiently waiting through in the context of a couple of spiritual truths (regardless of your religious beliefs). The first is that God created us in HIS image. The second truth is that God created us FOR relationship, first of all to have relationship with Him first and foremost, but then with EACH OTHER. We are created to be IN relationship with one another. If God had waved His magic wand at the beginning of this post, or back in mid-January when our family began going through some serious stuff, I would have missed out on so many miracles. I had to let my guard and let some people in. That’s miracle number one. Miracle number two is that God strategically placed some pretty special people in my life who didn’t let me down. I don’t ever talk about this out loud to more than one or two people and I’ve never shared it here on my own blog, but I’ve been one raw exposed nerve for about three years and one month now. I can’t even articulate how everyday I feel like I am literally out there in the universe flying without a net, free falling in darkness since my dad left. There are just no words, only fresh hot tears that freely stream down my face in the middle of a busy coffee shop as I write this. But had not everything started going all wonky back in January and had I not confided in a few key people, I would not have experienced the tenderness and caring of those around me. People who really like me just for me, not for anything I can do for them or because I’m particularly special. I have come to realize that that’s been a miracle-within-the-miracle.
I’ve thought about all the tremendously difficult circumstances we’ve gone through with our children who have special needs. If God had just waved His magic wand when they were both born, removing the litany of challenges from both of their lives, I would have missed out on the innumerable miracles that they have partaken in and how I’ve seen people literally change their way of thinking as a result of getting to know my kids. God planted in both of them seeds of change. For us, their parents no doubt, but also for our world. If they were both middle-of-the-bell-curve “normal” others wouldn’t have had the opportunities to dig deeper within their own souls and value people at a soul level. People have literally thanked me for having these two special people because they feel they’re better humans for having known them. Wow.
I believe strongly that we can help people heal, even when the obvious healing isn’t happening. In the disability community I know many, many parents with children with traumatic brain injury, grievous conditions and progressive diseases. Often times the obvious miracle of their children being cured just doesn’t happen, for reasons I will never understand. But what I do see is people who reach out to each other in genuine friendship, going out of their way to make authentic connections. I see people praying for strength and grace for their fellow parents. I see kindness from strangers. I see organizations that exist in order to lighten the load of parents who carry so much. I have personally witnessed people welcoming us with open arms into places and they have revealed a generosity of heart I certainly didn’t possess before having a child who makes uninvited and often unexpected sounds at unexpected times (who am I kidding? It annoys me now at times!). Could that happen if God did the easy thing and just waved His magic wand way back when? I don’t think so.
I guess I’ve taken the incredibly circuitous route to encourage you, me, all of us, to look beyond the obvious, and through all the stuff we go through everyday. Life is not easy. People are suffering. People lose their jobs. Kids go off the deep end, despite having some pretty decent parents. Accidents happen. Marriages fail. But through it all, and mainly because I’ve been on the receiving end of so many of them, miracles do happen. As broken as we are as humans, our love for one another can bring healing. Our genuine care for one another can actually bridge the gap during tragedy. No man is an island, and though it may feel on most days like a free-fall, the miracles within the miracles can provide a soft landing if we can open our tear-stained eyes long enough to see them. Above it all and through it all, God is at work for us, and if we let Him, through us.
- Posted in: children with disabilities