I believe in the power of miracles but not for the reason you might think.
Last spring my husband was hit by a car while riding his bicycle, sustaining an open head wound and traumatic brain injury. He was in Intensive Care for five weeks and in a coma for three of those weeks. Three doctors questioned me about whether life support for him should be continued, and what my husband would want. Hours, days and weeks went by while I wondered if he would wake up and who he would be when he did. I sat by his bedside, holding his hand and missing him at the same time.
He finally did wake and, unlike Lee Woodruff’s husband, did not sit up one day and ask, “Honey, where have you been?” Instead, he woke up very slowly. Over the next few months, my husband learned to swallow, to speak, to walk, to manage his personal care and to distinguish day from night. I watched him each day, never being certain if he would progress beyond that point or if I was seeing the end result. When it was time for him to leave the hospital, I was unable to care for him myself and found a foster home for him.
Five months after his accident, my husband came home. I believe that his surviving this accident is a miracle; our families and friends say this too. People say he looks great, but his disabilities are still there, just not immediately visible. Now, when people ask why he isn’t back to work, I do my best to patiently explain the problems of memory, reasoning and problem-solving that my husband has.
In the past year, I learned to negotiate worlds that were utterly foreign to me. I’m a physical therapist, so the medical world is not completely unknown, but now I know more than I ever wanted to know about insurance, law and a strange and mystifying disability. I learned the meaning of absolutely unconditional love. I felt the comfort of my faith and family and experienced incredible acts of kindness from friends and strangers alike. I discovered both how I handle myself and what I need in a time of crisis. I learned the meaning of humility. I learned that death is not the worst thing that may happen to one’s spouse and I no longer fear that for my husband or myself.
In the natural world, most processes take the path of least resistance. I now know that path is different than the path to enlightenment and self-discovery.
So I believe in the power of miracles – the power of one miracle that rocked my world in a split second, gave me back my husband, and painfully transformed me into a better person.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.