By Danea Horn
I am sitting in my doctor's office. It is 3:30, time for miracles. In 15 minutes, the doctor will tell me that I'm in "late stage 4" kidney disease, a.k.a. getting close to kidney failure. He will urge me to start contemplating dialysis "just in case your transplant plans fall through." I don't want to think this way. I don't want to contemplate if I want home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, and I certainly don't want to have a vascular access point created in my arm as a backup plan. This is all very scary.
It should be expected. I've had more than 16 years to get used to the idea that I have kidney disease, but I continue to get surprised at each doctor's visit to learn that it has indeed progressed. As I said, 3:30 is time for miracles.
It is literally late in the fourth quarter and someone needs to throw a hail-Mary pass in my direction. I need someone, something, to swoop in and regenerate my tired, worn-out and ready-to-go-on-strike kidney cells. If that isn't possible, then maybe that someone, or something, could grow me the left kidney that was missing when I was born. Except, life doesn't work like that.
For obvious reasons, I have been thinking a lot recently about the idea of a miracle. Our society seems to have a fairly standard, narrow view of what constitutes a miracle. We want an act or event, unexplainable by human standards, to save the day. The catch is that we want to be saved in the means of our choosing, usually the least painful and quickest solution that requires no personal growth. That is the category a miraculous new left kidney would so eloquently fall into.
Yet, I cannot bring myself to ask for that sort of specific miracle. How do I know what the best outcome for my life is? I may think I know. I hope I know, but life, at its essence, is more mysterious than my human mind can grasp.
To be blunt: I have a neurotic little voice in my head that dictates my life for me. She is rather unstable. The thought that she would know what is best for me, well, that's scary. She wants a specific miracle to avoid the messiness of life, yet, it is the messiness that is the point of life.
There is a point in the book Wild where Cheryl Strayed, the author, is praying for her mother who is dying of cancer. She writes:
"I prayed fervently, rabidly, to God, any god, to a god I could not identify or find…I prayed to the whole wide universe and hoped that God would be in it, listening to me. I prayed and prayed and then I faltered. Not because I couldn't find God, but because suddenly I absolutely did: God was there, I realized, and God had no intention of making things happen or not, of saving my mother's life. God was not a grantor of wishes."
3:30 is still miracle time, but that miracle may come in ways that are unexpected, uneasy and maybe even painful. I agree with Cheryl. God is "not a grantor of wishes." God is the solace we find when our wishes do not come to pass. That is the miracle.
It is miraculous to have life do the exact opposite of what you long for and find the grace to have peace anyway. That is the miracle I hope to find at 3:30 each day.
How do you define a miracle?
Danea Horn is the author of Chronic Resilience: 10 Sanity-Saving Strategies for Women Coping with the Stress of Illness. You can find her online at www.chronicresilience.com.