Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cherishing everyday miracles

"It's a miracle," he said.

"I can't think of any other way to describe it."

The excitement in his voice offered confirmation that he had witnessed something rare and special.
Andy, Susan, Haley and dad Andy McLean
before Haley's cardiac cath procedure.
I couldn't disagree with him. I witnessed my own medical miracle once.

His miracle was every bit as precious - perhaps even more so because the source of his miracle was a six-year-old girl with a bum heart.

A child who possibly faced her fourth open heart surgery in the span of a very young life.

Only this time...this one miraculous time...the cardiologist offered great news. The girl's mitral valve - the source of concern this time around - was in much better shape than anticipated.

There would be no surgery that day.

She'd have a chance to grow older and stronger, to have her regular checkups and monitoring, as she and her family prepared for an inevitable surgery to replace her donated valves and set her on a path toward a long, full life.

Haley and Dad at Maine
after the procedure.

Miracles are funny things, it seems.

For those who pray and believe in a higher power - as the McLean family does - they are an expected part of life...but something that occurs on God's terms and timetable rather than man's.

They do not respond to demands or bargaining and often manifest themselves in ways one hasn't contemplated.

Yet they are miracles just the same.

We see them in the birth of a child or the arrival of spring after a cold, harsh winter.

We see them in a beautiful sunrise to start the day or an equally stunning sunset at day's end.

We see them in response to fervent prayer - by one person or many - or sometimes simply by the intention of one's heart with no words spoken.

And all too often we diminish the nature of a miracle by assigning it to something it is not.

But to witness a miracle...a true a special and, often, life-changing event. Andy and Susan McLean will tell you that.

And the unexpected functioning of the little heart that beats inside the chest of their daughter Haley - a heart uncommonly strong despite its physical weaknesses - is proof that miracles can happen.

They do - every day - if we know how and where to look for them.

When you see the small miracle of the sun rising tomorrow morning, think of the larger one that is Haley McLean.

She'll be hopping out of bed, ready to embrace the day - another day of kindergarten - with a spark and vitality not usually seen in someone who has been through so much.

I hope you'll embrace it the same way.


  1. Beautifully written John, once again. It brings tears to my eyes as I recall our miracle, Sophia, almost six years ago after she suffered a stroke. A nice reminder to embrace our miracles every day.

  2. This is such a beautiful story. God shows us miracles in everyday things, but then there are those that make us a take notice just a bit more. Thanks for sharing this.