MIRACLES and other ordinary things
Miracle: An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature.
It’s hot, standing on the burning pavement behind the Safeway store in Sedona, Arizona where the wreckage of my belongings has been dumped. I have been given seventy-two hours in which to find the tangibles that will hold the gentle reminders of my life as it used to be.
Just days earlier I had picked up a Ryder truck to begin a cross-country move from Cottonwood, Arizona to Pamona, New Jersey. Driving a Ryder truck was not new to my Gemini nature, nor was the idea of a cross-country move.
I had picked up the Ryder Truck on a Thursday just before the Fourth of July week-end. Admittedly not the ideal timing; the date was simply selected because it fit my schedule. All my belongings had been in storage for more than a year as a result of a vision quest. Vision quests, while opening higher levels of awareness, do have a tendency to come to an end. The end for me was that, financially, I simply needed to go back to work.
As a long time college professor, I was no longer interested in just teaching. I had arrived at the point where Dr. Suess’ words echoed in my head to such an extent I decided to run my own zoo. Not a zoo really; I was about to undertake developing the only holistic Occupational Therapy Graduate program in the country. I had taken the job in January of that year, knowing that I would hang out in an off-season beach condo for six months prior to making the cross country jaunt.
On that particular Fourth of July, as I got ready to drive the empty truck from the Flagstaff rental office to Cottonwood, Arizona, both my friend and I “intuited” something was wrong with the truck. Being “wise women” but not mechanics, we checked under the hood and kicked the tires but to no avail. Nothing was apparently wrong. Nor did I find any problems driving the empty truck to the storage unit.
Within four hours the truck was loaded and I decided to begin the drive across the desert. My friend and fellow-packer (with as many moves as I) reminded me I had left a vacuum cleaner at her house. With a slight “miraculous” change of mind, I decided to follow her back to Sedona, driving the narrow canyon road, instead of getting on the interstate.
I was on the road for about thirty-five minutes when I managed to get the outside right rear tire off the lip of the road (not knowing the inside rear tire was off the rim – unable to support the loaded truck). Within seconds my oversized outside rear view mirror was filled with the broad side of the truck coming around the left side to greet me. I was in a jack-knife position.
I don’t know if you have ever been in a roll-over accident. I assure you it occurs in seconds, far less time than it will take for you to read the words on this page. For me, it was not a span of seconds; it was a moment of endless time. I was simply an observer inside and outside both body and truck. Time didn’t really stand still, it just seemed to be passing in slow motion. I heard an audible voice in my head commanding me to take off my seat belt. I reached down through the molasses of time and unbuckled my seat belt. Fascinated and spellbound by the horizon that was becoming vertical, I was suddenly completely inseparable from everything – the road – the trees – the sky – the pavement. All danced in suspended animation.
Words flew out of my mouth, startling me so much I was sure I had ripped a hole in the fabric of time and space. “Angels get in here now. You have to catch me. I am going over!” In the blink of an eye I was catapulted into a round ball suspended in space (as the truck rolled around me.) All I could see was miracles, miracles, miracles in full and living color.
The dust cleared and I managed to open the door on the passenger side of the truck. Still in a much expanded state (convinced I had just had a direct experience with the Divine) I surveyed the wreckage. Amazingly, the truck had come to rest against a lone pine tree – had the truck stopped twenty feet in either direction of that single tree, the truck would have rolled down the canyon. I embraced the tree and wept tears of gratitude as she whispered: “I have been here for one hundred years; I have been waiting for you .”
Miracles– Etymology – from the Latin “to wonder at.”
When a truck is upside down, jack-knifed across the highway, the only choice is to bring in large cranes, attach cables to the axle, and turn the truck right side up. I stood in wonder as the truck was righted, astounded at the sight of all of my belongings flying out of the topless cargo container. My crumpled belongings were then loaded onto flatbed trucks and later off-loaded onto the pavement behind the Safeway store in Sedona.
I refused medical treatment (to the chagrin of the emergency team, who was convinced I had hit my head because of my ranting about the Divine). The crowd eventually cleared to allow questioning by the State Police. “So who packed this truck?” barked the one in charge. “I did—no, my friend and I did,” I stammered. “And just what was in the front of the truck?” “Books,” I replied nonchalantly, “in fact about forty boxes of books packed from floor to ceiling.” He wandered away, shaking his head, and replied over his shoulder, “Well, whatever it was—it saved your life. Otherwise the cargo part of the truck would have been crushed and likely offered you no protection inside the cab of the truck.”
Then the flashback. As the truck rolled I remembered the visual images of miracles, miracles, miracles. I had left a box of the books on the front seat of the truck. When the truck rolled, the books lifted gently out of the box in slow motion and floated all round me. My newly published book was titled: Miracles and Other Ordinary Things. A miracle appears to require something beyond the reach of human action and natural causes.
I am going to digress here, to the University of Kansas in 1973 where I had just begun a teaching position. I was married, with a son who would soon be nine months old. While getting ready for a party hosted by my students, I suddenly had a sense the world was closing in on me. Objects lost their color and eventually disappeared; my entire visual field disappeared from right to left. In the interim everything was connected with golden threads of light. Then there was neither white nor black, there simply was nothing; “no-thing.”
For the next several months I found my way through the maze of medical testing, the definitive test being an X-Ray showing a rather large white spot in the middle of my head. (Note – in the 70’s there were no CT scans and no MRI’s). Multiple tests ensued and within two months I was informed that I had a tumor of the optic chiasm, a tumor that was inoperable. I was “given” six months to live.
The remarkable thing about the experience was that I was never afraid; fear simply didn’t come up for me. I was fascinated! Suddenly I began to “see” differently. I continued teaching and found I could tell who was present in the room by how the “energy” felt. I began to navigate across campus sensing the trees and following the sounds of footsteps in front of me. All my senses were expanding – well, except for the visual one.
When I didn’t die as prescribed (always having had a problem following rules and with those in authority), my physician said: “We will treat you as if you have Multiple Sclerosis.” Well “as if” did not sound promising to me, and, frankly, I liked the first option better. I would rather just check out quietly. Again I was offered no assistance from the traditional medical community. So I began to entertain the outrageous notion that if I created my own condition, I could simply “un-create” it. I would simply visualize and create a new nervous system. After all I had been teaching anatomy and neuroanatomy for years. It was time to internalize that knowledge.
Busying myself with the task at hand, while mastering Braille diapering and teaching full time, my life became very inward-directed. As my script unfolded I discovered I was not paying close attention to other aspects of my life—found myself pregnant.
Off to the neurologist again. This time I was told by my physician “Since you have M.S., you know you can’t carry a baby to term. It is best you have an immediate therapeutic abortion.” I didn’t remember going from “as if” to “since.” My reality was getting pretty slippery.
“Miracles are spontaneous, they cannot be summoned but come of themselves.” – Katherine Anne Porter
That was sort of IT for me. “Strike three and you’re out,” became my inner phrase. In my case, three diagnoses (which I elected not to participate in) would have me never again venture into the world of traditional medicine. Instead, I buried myself in unraveling my story and my history. In the ensuing six months after my daughter was born, my vision began to return. My story, however, would remain unvisited on the back burner of my life for ten more years
When my children entered high school, the nagging questions returned. So I completed a Ph.D. in Neurocognitive behavior – the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and physiological states. With more questions than answers—and deciding to go further down the rabbit hole—my post doctoral studies were in the wild and wacky world of quantum physics. That field of study did indeed open Pandora’s Box. I began to study in earnest things like energy medicine, past life influences, quantum entanglement, and consciousness itself. After my children graduated from high school, I took a serious sabbatical. Hence, my vision quest led not only to the publication of my first book, but to the deeper reason the books remained in storage in Arizona for several years.
Back to where I began this article. Standing on the hot pavement, it was very clear to me that I had neither the time nor the inclination to explore every box of my so-called prized possessions. I had just purchased a home in New Jersey following my narrow transit time and was told that if I did not come to the closing on the tenth of July, I would forfeit the twenty-thousand-dollar down payment.
Funny how life puts you at “choice point” when you feel you’re between a rock and a hard place. So I salvaged what I could and called an auctioneer. I then flew back to New Jersey to close and claim my empty house.
Remember that “therapeutic” abortion? As I have hinted, she did indeed grow up. Just prior to my so called “accident,” she was working in Michigan, and agreed to come to New Jersey to help me settle the house. After two days of sleeping bags and take-out food from cardboard containers, we made another decision. Vacation time was precious to her and camping out was not high on her agenda. So we decided to drive to Richmond, Virginia, where I had taught in the late 1970’s. This was one of my first positions as a single parent, a fall-out of my non-communicative journey into self.
We stayed at the home of my best friend, who had been a surrogate “parent” to all of us. When my children were in grade school, we spent many nights crashing on her couch and singing in the tree house she had built for my birthday. On the second day of our visit, the three of us ventured like royal musketeers to the art district on Cary Street. I was determined my daughter would return to Michigan with a memorable gift.
Barely into our venture, I turned around to peer into the very green face of my beloved daughter. No slow moving this time; in nano seconds I knew what was wrong. Putting the fear of God into her by driving through red lights at neck-breaking speeds, I delivered my white-knuckled daughter to the emergency room. Within an hour she had undergone an emergency appendectomy.
Had I not rolled a truck, we would have been in the middle of boxes – hardly a comfortable haven for healing. In Virginia she had a bed and TV and two loving people to care for her. Far better than what I could have offered with my empty house in New Jersey.
Miracle: A supernatural event; an act of God
Some two thousand words later, it looks like these events are merely little bits and pieces of my life experience. They appear as random disconnected snapshots from my life. However, my preference is to look at events like pearls strung together. You don’t wear the precious jewels until they are long enough to entwine your soul and re-weave the tapestry of your life. The other perspective is to look at my life as being Divinely orchestrated – far beyond my ability to be either that outrageous or that creative. Herein are the miracles. Miracles happen all the time, you just have to be willing to look for them.
I had to have a miraculous health challenge in my life, so that I could write a book. It was a book about miracles that I would pack in a truck so that I could experience the miracle of my life being spared. Again! And just as importantly, that would-be “abortion” who turned out to be my daughter, and an important part of my own journey, would begin to experience her own gift of interconnectedness. Not a bad gift to take back to Michigan. She would also begin to discover that it is not what we are connected to; it is who we are connected to that matters. That gentle guides and special friends show up when they do – well, that’s another miracle in itself.
Lana J. Ford, Ph.D., FAOTA is a neuroscientist and a former Occupational Therapy college professor. She offers clinical services in the Asheville area, assisting others to heal themselves by removing distortions in the mind-body Quantum field. As a Licensed Life Coach she empowers clients to reclaim their own gifts and talents—that each might experience greater peace, love, and harmony. [804-929-3327]