What does a miracle sound like?
A dog breathing.
A dog breathing calmly. Unrestrictedly.
Specifically, Teva. My sister’s golden retriever.
I woke up up this morning to the sound of him breathing beautifully but three days ago, I found him faced down in the carpet, swollen and panting, with blood dripping from his nose.
The vet said it’s probably a cancerous tumor in his head. Like with my dad.
I called my sister as soon as I opened my eyes the next day.
She was crying.
Teva was barely moving and his left eye was now swollen shut.
I drove an hour and a half through a snow storm to get back there.
It was Sunday, and I knew he would have to be carried into the vet’s office to be put to sleep on Monday.
He’s almost a hundred pounds and I knew I’d have carry him, but only if a miracle didn’t unfold first.
During the drive, I experienced all sorts of thoughts: I’m just going to give him as much love as I can on his last day because chemo and radiation are too brutal for a dog. Why is life so awful? This is too much for me to take now. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle this so soon. Maybe I’ll just surrender all of my hopes for him because the universe is acting at as it must and maybe this is his best case scenario. How can there be a god? What’s the point of life?
But with about twenty minutes to go in the car, I sat up straight and had a change of heart:
Fuck this. I’m not going to be dictated to. Not even by divinity. He’s going to live. I don’t care how he looks or feels. I don’t care what the vet says. I don’t care what’s posted on the Internet about pure breed goldens of his age. He’s going to be okay. Miraculously. And that’s the end of it.
I turned off the depressing classical station I was listening to and allowed myself to jam out to some Zeppelin.
My sister, along with Teva whose tail was wagging, greeted me at the door.
“I don’t know what happened but his eye is less swollen and he’s been running around,” my sister reported to me.
His nose stopped bleeding by nightfall.
The vet was perplexed on Monday morning and instead of just the two of us walking out of the office after the appointment, we were accompanied by Teva and he sniffed around in the snow before hopping back in the car.
I’m looking at him now as I type to you and it’s fair to say he’s 95% better.
And I am so grateful.
So very grateful.
Now listen, I’m not prepared to say anything about this in either direction. Maybe it was a miracle. And if so, maybe it would have unfolded regardless of my “fuck this prayer” in the car. Maybe this was all fated. Predetermined. Or maybe it was a combination of chaos and dumb luck.
But I will say this: where there’s life, there’s hope.
And as tempting as it is to give up hope to soften the blow of the a worst case scenario, we mustn’t let ourselves.
Throughout history, the world has depended on the bravery of heroes.
And maybe we can expect more miracles by choosing to act more miraculously.
may god bless you,