Do you believe in miracles?
By GILLIAN POLLOCK
Miracles do happen. Sometimes, something happens that, in the end after much trying to rationalize away and justify the outcome, you are left with the same conclusion: the event was nothing but miraculous.
Many people use the word lightly. I’ve done it myself. I have had miracles happen. I can clearly remember saying to my husband, just the other day, that it was a miracle that I didn’t slap that awful grin off his face. Yes, I know that was an ugly thing to say, but we will leave that story for another time.
I have seen miracles play out in getting a parking space when no other seemed to be found, in zipping up a pair of jeans that there was certainly no way without divine intervention they would have ever zipped, to getting a seat at a table in a busy restaurant. These are the daily miracles; but are those events really miraculous?
Words can be powerful, and I do believe this one to be powerful when given its due. I use the word too lightly when I attribute it to a pair of pants or parking spot.
More than a year and a half ago, a little girl named Ashley, known to me only through a friend, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. Now the in and outs of the whole story are more than my 500 words could ever begin to express, but, in the end, in hindsight, every single aspect of this child’s story has been miraculous. From the angels who rallied around her and her family, to the crazy series of events that played out, to all the ups and downs life could possibly hurl at them — the doctors, plane rides, tests, treatments and surgeries — all of it was a miracle.
This week, after much trial and tribulations Ashley was deemed “NED,” which in the world of this awful disease means “no evidence of disease.” Those three little letters were more than anyone could have hoped for, but were quietly praying for all along. From my distant place in this story, as a bystander watching it all unfold, I find myself basking in the glow of the joy and happiness that those three little letters have brought.
When I write my columns, I try to stay away from faith and God as much as possible because of my job. I don’t ever want people to think I am up on a soapbox preaching. However, I would do Ashley’s story an injustice if I didn’t give credit where it is due.
Webster’s dictionary defines a miracle as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.” Each an every person in the story has affected the outcome; they have supported and encouraged on every level imaginable.
But when you step back and see those three letters, NED, you can clearly see God’s handiwork from the beginning, weaving His way through her extraordinary story, intervening and granting a miracle. For that, I must give Him thanks and praise.
A Yankee with a Southern soul, Gillian Pollock is a wife, mother of two ever-challenging children and director of Christian Formation at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.