I’m no different than anyone else in that today is a tough day. It’s hard for a lot of reasons, really. It was a couple years ago I had a bunch of little girls running around the house while I was working and one wasn’t quite as engaged as the others. I noticed Mira was swaying a little bit. You know, kind of woozie maybe… I think I remember mentioning it to Michelle when she came to pick her up.
There’s no blame associated with not knowing something you cannot know – I understand that now. I didn’t have x-ray vision, nor did Mitch and Michelle. We didn’t have any idea that Mira’s body was already consumed in the fight of all fights. Do I blame myself for not focusing more on the little thing I noticed that day? In some small part, yes, I guess. Of course during the days that followed I felt as if I could have altered the outcome if I’d done something different on that Monday, August 11th, 2014… Most of you have read or understand what I’ve written in the past about bargaining with God and pleading for a swap in order to take it all away or lessen her pain and that of her family, my dear friends.
Of course, that isn’t the way this works. The Lord takes requests, but there’s no promise you’ll get the music you asked for. Instead, whether we understand it or not, the ballad you get is the ballad you need. It looked bleak at first and seeing my friends wrestle with all that followed was pretty hard to swallow. Here I am speaking of how gut-wrenching it was for me, and it wasn’t even my little girl battling against mortality… Only God knows how they have done it in the last two years. Well, Him and a very inspirational crazy haired little girl.
I think back often to that day. It’s amazing sometimes the things you remember or the things you don’t, and then all of a sudden a recollection for no apparent reason. I remember meeting Michelle at the door of the shop to pick Mira up that Monday. I remember Mira saying that afternoon she wanted her mommy. I remember the girls playing in the front room and outside both. I don’t remember the call. I don’t remember what I did. I don’t remember my prayer to God. I do remember my best friend draped across his daughter as she lay motionless in the hospital. That one is burned into my brain. The lighting was soft and Mira’s hair was braided off to the side out of the way. Mommy and sissy sat staring over towards a Dad and his daughter as they communed void of speech. If I were blinded today I will be able to see that image for the rest of my days.
The story doesn’t end there however. As you know, August of 2014 was a really low point. But that was the bottom, and from there Mira took the rest of us to all new heights. She got a lot of help from her caregivers on so many levels. Their dedication made the unbearable bearable when you couple it with support from friends, family, and total strangers. Add a generous helping of the prayers of thousands across the world and you end up understanding just a smidgen of how the Lord works.
I learned more about life than I figured I was able through this time. I was shown grace, humility, penitence, and awe. I was drawn like a magnet to deeper faith. In a time that the world seemed pretty crazy, I was witness to the kindnesses we have within us to foster and bestow upon one another. Although I didn’t know it at the time, Mira had consumed us all into her rebirth, and we were all going for a wonderful ride. She improved, as did we.
She came back, but kept us honest about where she’d been and why. It’s important to me that I illustrate to you what that meant for me. Mira was improving and making progress, but it wasn’t without the reminder of just what she’d been through and was still deep within. Miracles are rare, but every now and again we see a perfect example of an extremely serious situation, and a recovery that can only be described as miraculous. Unfortunately, some take that miracle for granted. Some are touched by the finger of God, yet they later forget the Big Guy and move on as if it were supposed to be that way – an entitlement recovery if you will. I felt the healing power of Mira’s miracle, but her physical condition improved in a slow and gradual way. This was an admonition that we don’t always get everything the way we want it. I knew things were never going to be the same. Not because we couldn’t be healthy again, but because there had been the experience of deterioration itself. I was hoping for a complete recovery, a cancer-free diagnosis, and a future full of cookouts with the McKnights as the girls played together. Rather, God and Mira joined hands to give me, and others, what we needed, not what we thought we wanted necessarily. Or at least that’s the way I have come to understand it. When I state that she came back but kept me honest, what I’m really saying is, she was able to enjoy more of life, help us enjoy it too, give us time to heal, and most of all learn more about the grace of God. How else does a person explain it all?
Mira’s miracle was as much for us as it was for her. I have no doubt. None whatsoever.
So while I get teary on days like today, I no longer ask “why” and alternately give thanks. I cry because I miss her; we all do. I feel sad because I see all the people who hurt in her physical absence; that’s normal and we share it. But I also rejoice and pay her as much respect and honor I can muster because she became a catalyst in bringing me closer than I thought possible to Christ. That’s not something you skip past and quickly forget. I pray I never do.
God and little girls – gotta love em’… Is it possible to smile and cry at the same time? If so, I have Mira to thank for it.
Miss you sweetie. Thanks for the lesson. God worked by virtue of you to pull and push us kicking, screaming, doubting, and crying through the breach. You delivered us to the other side and we owe you and Him no small debt.
If there was ever an example of the book, “A Child Shall Lead Them” I have personally experienced in my life, this has been it.
Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.