I remember that beautiful, golden day in November 1999. I had recently picked up my parents at the airport and thought of how fortunate I was, as they, at the age of seventy-two (my mother) and eighty-one (my father), were active and healthy. My mother played tennis every day and always outshone anyone she was around, her beauty almost shocking people.
I gazed outside my window and noticed that a large gardenia bush was profusely blooming with uncontrollable blossoms like it was the end of April. My yardman remarked, “That’s a miracle!”
Because of a cruel stroke of fate, one day later my mother was a crime victim. In one instant the beautiful, young-looking grandmother was pushed backwards, her head hitting the concrete, smashing her brain into the front part of her skull with a violent force. As some bystanders rushed to catch the perpetrator her eighty-one year old husband screamed for them to call 911. Blood was everywhere, matting her beautiful blonde hair and staining her tennis clothes.
At the hospital the doctors refused to operate and said it was useless—a hopeless case. At best, she would be a vegetable for the rest of her life. We chose not to listen, demanded they operate, surrounded her with love, support and positive energy, and after a tortuous time which seemed interminable, my mother recovered. When hearing of her recovery, one of the above doctors said, “That’s a miracle.”
I remember thanking God for the wonderful people of many different faiths who kept us from crumbling—Theresa, the Catholic postal clerk who prayed for us and gave me flowers from the reliquary of her namesake, St. Therese, “the little flower;” the Russian Orthodox priest who prayed for us; the Israeli gentleman who caught the perpetrator, visited my mother, gave her bibles, led us in prayer, and asked the head Rebbe of Israel to pray for her; the rehabilitation director from Egypt who fought for her and steadfastly remained on hold for over forty-five minutes to report her progress to the insurance company; and the multi-cultural nurses and therapists who treated her with tender kindness, yet helped me push her forward. I believe all who prayed—no matter to what deity or in what language—helped to make this miracle occur.
I believe in the divinity in nature as well—the gardenia bush bloomed unceasingly for the entire time my mother was in grave danger until the crisis had passed, when there was but one blossom left—the last gardenia. I believe the incessant and powerful blooming was God’s way of easing our pain, of telling us that He was with us and aware of what was transpiring.
I also believe there’s a part in each of us, a spark of goodness, kindness, no matter how small, that needs to be realized and nurtured. I believe we must cherish that part of us that is our connection with God. If we can accomplish that, how many more miracles would occur?