I was in an airport one day and a man came up to me and asked me why I used a cane. I told him about the balance problems I have since my injury. He says to me, sure as sure can be, “The reason you aren’t cured and you didn’t get a miracle is because you don’t have enough faith in God.”
Now, this was a total stranger and our conversation, up to that point, had consisted of about three fairly brief sentences. But he was sure. Confident. I said to him, “Sir, you don’t know anything about me or my relationship with God. Perhaps it never occurred to you that my standing here, given the circumstances of my car crash, is exactly the miracle God intended?”
Wherever I go to speak and whenever I come across survivors and their family members and friends online, I’m often asked if I will pray for their loved one who has been traumatically brain injured. At one particular event, a woman came up and pulled me aside and told me how important it was that I meet her son who was severely injured, almost dead, in a vehicular crash. As I was walking to meet the kid, she told me how they pray daily for him to be healed and asked me several times if I’d pray for him to be healed. She described how awful and serious the car crash was and how her son had been through this and been through that.
I met the kid. Nice, handsome young man. I spoke with him for several minutes. He didn’t have any obvious problems speaking or processing. He wasn’t using a chair or a cane or crutches. I asked him what his biggest challenges are and he said his only real problem was that, when he was tired at the end of the day, his arm hung a little at his side. But he joked that he played soccer so it didn’t really matter because you can’t use your arms anyway. His mother confirmed the hanging arm and said, “Yes, we are praying for a miracle that his arm returns and doesn’t hang at the end of the day. Kara, please pray for him too.”
I looked at her and quietly said, “I think your miracle has already come,” and I walked away. Incredulous.
Natasha Richardson, by all accounts, barely bumped her head and was talking and joking after it. And now she’s dead. They call it the “Talk and Die”. Brain bleed, coma, no brain stem activity, death.
That’s it. Here’s a young woman with a loving husband and teenagers, in the prime of her life. Close-knit family. Talented, well thought of, attractive, personable. Gone.
If you’re a TBI survivor and you’re reading this right now, maybe your miracle has already come. So many of us spend so much time hating this and cursing it and praying for miracles to cure symptoms which, in the big picture, shouldn’t be measured when qualifying successful recovery. When you have come inches from death and when others are dying every day after seemingly innocent and less severe incidents, do you really need to have that slight hanging arm at the end of a long day healed and cured by God????
Natasha Richardson is one of the latest who doesn’t get to curse this injury and hate this injury. That is left for her grieving family, friends and fans.
Maybe the miracle has already come. Maybe instead of waiting and hoping and praying for residual symptoms to disappear and spending time cursing their stay, perhaps it’s time to acknowledge and be grateful for the miracle that is this. Right here.
I never believed that God needed to provide me any more of a gift than I already enjoy. When someone gives you a rainbow, you don’t go looking to see if they brought roses too. I could have been so easily dead that day…Seems ridiculous, and worse, to ask for more.
Maybe we need to take a look at what it is we’re praying for. Instead of asking that my legs would start working right or that my speech wouldn’t get messed up when I’m tired, I ask that I don’t ever waste the opportunity to hug like I mean it, to forgive, to be kind, to show love, to do the right thing.
Instead of asking that I remember better or deal with crowds better, I ask that I don’t waste another day failing to appreciate the people, pets, abilities and opportunities I am so blessed to enjoy.
More than most, we survivors of TBI and other death-defying events and conditions and diseases, must remind ourselves every day that we are, in fact, the lucky ones. Make no mistake about it. We still get to choose every morning what kind of day ours is going to be when so many are gone by nightfall.
There’s nothing to be bitter and angry about when you realize that the miracle has already come.