If I prayed for a man to come to my door in a clown suit with a green and blue shoe, purple hair and deliver me a free pizza and a $1 million dollar check for winning the lottery (which I never entered), and then the doorbell rang – and there he was! I suppose under the Church’s definition that “could” have been a remarkable “coincidence”, and not a proven miracle. My own standard for a miracle given me is far less rigorous.
So, for those of you who are feeling a little down today under the weight of life’s circumstances, I offer you the following series of emails when I and my family were also weighed down. The emails are between myself and a doctor who intervened into the care of my dying sister – while the doctor herself was undergoing a kind of death. For the people referred to in the notes, we believe miracles happened. But even if you view them only as “coincidences”, the answer to our prayers had the impact of lifting great weights off of our shoulders – and making us feel greatly
May your burdens be lightened today, my friends. Even if it’s only a “coincidence”.
I want to take a few minutes to tell you something you probably don't hear often enough. Tuesday morning my sister, Sally went home in peace. While in the hospice care someone from the family was at her side 24 hours a day. On Tuesday, her daughter was there saying the rosary with her when she left. And it may not have happened that way if it wasn't for you.
I believe we are all tasked with using the talents we are blessed with to love God and neighbor. We go thru life spreading them as seeds for the benefit of God and neighbor. Unfortunately, as we follow the path of our life to God, we don't often see what happens to the seeds we sow. Sometimes, we may doubt and ask: Is it all worth it? Does it really matter? Am I doing it well enough? Sometimes, on very rare occasions, God gives us the added blessing of being able to see back, and see some of the great fields of grain that have sprouted from our seeds -- and it gives us hope to go on.
I want to tell you of the great field of peace and hope that grew from your caring visit to our family last Thursday. You mattered. Your life, your love, your caring, your talents mattered. God used YOU to bring us his graces. Thanks for being open to be His servant.
After 10 days of tests at M Hospital, my brother-in-law, my nieces, and my sister were at their ropes end. She wanted a life-ending surgery to remove her spleen, the focal point of her cancer, in order to remove the excruciating pain. The doctors said no. More tests were talked of, painful tests, as my sister grew weaker and ate nothing because of the pain -- and I know that she, like me, can bear tremendous amounts of pain. I can't imagine what she felt if she was willing to give up. But knowing all this, I believed that if we could find the source of the pain, which doctors indicated was NOT the cancer, since it was in control (size-wise) thru the chemo, that we could remove whatever was causing the pain and she could continue to stay with her children and grand-children. Everything we were told throughout the long stay was that the doctors were searching for the source of pain. It was never mentioned that it could be the cancer, since the cancer was not present at the apparent focal point of the pain.
Thursday morning as I prepared to go to the hospital to consider moving my sister to another hospital where they might be willing to perform the surgery she wanted, where she might undergo even more tests and pain, I saw the picture she had of John Paul II on her bookcase. I prayed to him to intercede for us, to just show us the way. He who underwent so much pain must know what my sister was feeling, and understand. And we went to the hospital and you asked to talk to us -- we had no idea who you were, or that you were to see us. And the lights went on in our heads, and in my sister's. Thank you so very much. You truly were a blessing from God; He used you to answer a prayer.
D, I know in your job there must be times when you want to say: What's the use? Am I making a difference? Or, I can't do this anymore. Know, however, that God sometimes uses you to do His will. He won't always tell you that though. You just need Faith, and to go on doing the best you can with the talents He gave you. Trust in Him, He's always there. He was for us.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless you in your work and in your life.
July 07, 2006
T, I am so sorry to hear about the death of your sister Sally. My hope is that you were all able to spend some quality time with her and that those few days will leave you with peaceful memories.
I cannot begin to tell you how thoughtful and timely your kind words were. I've not shared this with anyone except family but for the past few weeks, I've known that I may have breast cancer and had the biopsy done on Wednesday (the day before she visited my sister). Your email was the first I opened yesterday and your heartfelt words really put me at peace.
My work is my passion and I've been blessed by meeting wonderful people such as yourself. God willing, I will continue my mission and go on to help others.
Please don't hesitate to stay in touch should you need some help getting through the tough times ahead.
God bless all of you.
July 10, 2006
D, I am sorry to hear about your concerns. I hope that YOU have someone you can talk to, sincerely, about your anxieties and worries. Although I only spoke with her briefly, I found E, the M Hospital chaplain to be someone very understanding -- and, although I can't tell you why, someone who I felt could also use an understanding friend.
I'm sure I don't have to recommend to you any of the very good books out there on the meaning and purpose of life, and (from a Catholic viewpoint) the value of suffering. No one goes through life without healthy doses of pain and sorrow, and it's how we deal with these things that impacts the quality of our life. It's the knowledge of what pain and suffering really are, both physically and spiritually, that helps us to deal with them. My sister and our family are very blessed with understanding the spiritual facts of suffering, and you helped us see the physical facts. The booklet at the hospice on the facts of death and dying was especially useful for my nieces, who initially felt frustration that we were giving up, until they read and understood that the decision was not ours to make.
My sister's death was filled with many minor miracles. From your showing up, to the wisdom to make a family pledge to her on her last day -- to tell her how very proud we were of her, her struggles -- which we know were for us, and her whole life which gave us an example how to live ours. And to make a pledge to her that, looking down from heaven, we would make her proud of us -- we will follow the examples she gave us, and always remember to ask in our troubles: What Would Mom Do? And then we'll know the answer. And the final miracle was her becoming aware in her last minutes, having her daughter say the rosary with her, and in her last moments as she saw the angels, having her daughter be calm enough to say: It's ok mom; don't be afraid. And she wasn't.
D, in your life's vocation you are able to be an instrument of peace from God. How very blessed you are. And having helped you find the very reason He created you for, God won't abandon you in your trials now. I pray for the best results from your tests, and your peace with them. All with turn out ok.
Thank you for your offer to be there for me. Keep in touch, and let me know how the tests came out -- and if they're bad have them double checked. You know you can't trust those doctors.
Peace and blessings,
July 10, 2006
I received the good news Friday night and the results are negative. I am thrilled and of course, have a lot to be
thankful for. So glad that you found minor miracles during Sally's final few days. These memories will sustain you during the rough times.
Please let me know how you and your family are doing. I will be remembering you in my prayers.
Note: Ain't God grand??