Since Thanksgiving is near, I found an article that played my heart strings so much I feel obligated to pass it on to you. From all indications the story is true. If not, it should be. It tells of a child's love and innocence, and the distance she would go in search of a miracle. It shames me to know that we are blinded by things we deem impossible, and, as a result, are shackled by that blindness. If we would but only search and ask, then we, too, might find many miracles.
Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. Only a very costly surgery could save Andrew now, and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now."
Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully; three times even. The total had to be perfect for there was no room for a mistake.
Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to the Drug Store with the big Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was busy at this moment.
In an attempt to gain his attention, Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally, she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did the trick!
"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago, whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick..., and I want to buy a miracle."
"I beg your pardon?" asked the pharmacist.
"His name is Andrew," she said, "and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"
"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry, but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.
"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs." she pleaded.
The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man, and had listened to the conversation. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of miracle does your brother need?"
"I don't know," Tess replied with tears welling up in her eyes. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."
"How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago. Barely audible, Tess answered, "One dollar and eleven cents. And that's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."
"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents is the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand, and with the other, grasped her hand and said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."
That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.
Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. "That surgery," her Mom whispered, "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost..., one dollar and eleven cents. Plus, of course, the faith of a little child.
A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.
Galen White lives in Homer. His column runs on Friday in the Minden Press-Herald.