Friday, April 18, 2008

My mother's miracle

EVERY DAY I'm confronted by tough decisions.
Which side of the bed should I get up on?
And there's an even more pressing problem: How do I hide the ever-spreading bald spot on my bumpy head?
There are just no easy solutions in this life.
Another concern happens to be this space.
What should I write about to fill it?
Will it be about Oprah's "new/old religion"? That's always a page-turner.
No, I think I'll wait a few more days for that one.
Or how about my favorite phrase from the late Roberto Clemento of "baseball has been very good to me."
I'll pass on that one, too, since baseball now stretches until Christmas Eve so there's really plenty of time.
When The Missus walked into my office the other morning, I was still looking up at the ceiling, and asking, "What in the world am I going to write about?"
That's when the answer came when she sighed: "Stop your whining" and followed it up with, "Say, when's your mother arriving?"
The lightbulb suddenly went on, not about whining, but about my mother even though I've written about her a number of times before.
The tall, handsome mother, who had a very active life, including being on a national women's softball championship team, was suddenly struck down with the supposedly incurable disease, multiple sclerosis, in her early 30s.
It's a disease of the brain and spinal cord caused by an unknown agent that attacks the covering (myelin) sheath of nerve fibres, resulting in temporary interruption of nervous impulses, particularly in pathways concerned with vision, sensation, and the use of limbs. The hard (sclerotic) patches produced by the disease eventually result in permanent paralysis. And death.
She spent many hours in doctors' offices, attempting to alleviate the pain associated with M.S. She also spent hours and hours praying, along with her close friends, for she had great faith in her Creator.
Despite her affliction, the tall, handsome mother managed to smile and even tried to play games to alleviate the worries of her husband and young son. A daily ritual for the young boy and father was to play "choo-choo" in which the boy would stand in front of his mother and the father behind her and push her legs to move her around the small house.
However, after a year or more the disease started to take a great toll and she was forced to use a wheelchair. Her legs and then arms became, increasingly, dysfunctional. Her vision became severely impaired and her glasses resembled Coke bottles. The doctors didn't have any encouraging news. Multiple sclerosis would soon claim another victim.
The tall, handsome mother, nevertheless, still had her faith. Maybe, prayer would help. It seemed like the only answer left.
One day, as the woman wheeled into the bedroom, she heard a voice as she looked into her closet.
"Annona, put on your shoes," the voice said. The woman looked around to see who was in the room with her. "Annona, put on your shoes," the voice said again.
"You know I can't put on my shoes, Lord, I can't walk," she said. Immediately, when she said, Lord, she realized the voice wasn't human. She leaned over, put on her shoes, unused in more than a year, and shakily got to her feet.
Immediately, an unseen hand seemed to strike the top of her head and warm, yes, even a hot mercury-like ball streamed and penetrated to the very nerve endings of every part of her body.
She walked out into the kitchen of her home, where the young boy was playing.
Her mother-in-law was also standing there in awe. They all started crying. Her husband and father-in-law were just as dumfounded when they returned from work.
The tall, handsome woman abandoned her wheelchair, and within a year had a "miracle baby." The doctors had said it was impossible to have another child because of the effects of M.S.
She then returned to high school and would later obtain her teaching certificate and would teach for 22 years in the Calgary school system.
The "miracle baby" -- Garry -- grew up to be an excellent athlete, and now a noted Winnipeg psychologist.
She believes in miracles. So do I, for I was that young son, who was there when his mother walked again.
While you probably have read about this miracle before, it always brings tears to my eyes.
Yes, for a world filled with shattered dreams, there are also answered prayers.
Incidentally, my 92-year-old mother will walk in the door to the Ol' Homestead Monday afternoon.


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