Nine years ago today I woke cloaked by darkness and breastfed my firstborn son. Within a couple of hours we bundled our infant into his pushchair and headed towards the train station. We began a journey of Truth with Hope travelling alongside. Sam had an appointment in London for an MRI scan of his brain. Our little boy was nearly ten weeks old, soft and adorable as any other newborn. We chatted and he cooed the whole way there.
The return journey was quite different. Silence sat in the seat Hope had occupied. The seat we had expected Miracle to fill.
The Doctor’s words echoed in our ears and weighed heavily on our hearts.
Catastrophic and severe brain damage.
Affecting every part of the brain.
During the consultation it was explained that Sam would have permanent, life-changing disabilities. He would hopefully be able to feed, sit and one day walk a couple of steps but he would always need our help and the path would be rocky.
The Doctor was wrong.
Nine years later Sam cannot eat, sit independently or stand. His communication is limited and his life has hung in the balance many times. The slither of optimism we came home with was unfounded. The miracle we had hoped for didn’t materialise.
A couple of thousand years ago a nation also waited expectantly for a Miracle. They hoped for someone to release them from the tyranny of occupation and oppression. Then, I believe, a baby was born. He was a baby that didn’t fill any of their criteria for a Miracle and didn’t display the Hope of revolution.
The misshapen Nativity standing outside my home reminds me that sometimes Miracles come in disguise. Sometimes the thick fog of life and heartache can hide our Miracles from view.
Nine years on I occasionally pine for my lost miracles. It can feel as though Miracles happen to everyone else.
I wish the Doctor had been right.
Then I look back and see other miracles littering our path. They aren’t the Miracles of sight or steps but of Love, Perseverance and Transformation.
In one sense the Doctor was right; our lives have been changed forever. Life is no longer clear-cut and miracles are not so easy to define. The hard days can be tear-stained yet good, challenging but full of smiles.
As my family steps into 2015 I’m determined to carry with me the lessons of the Nativity. I won’t be duped by appearance but instead I will keep my heart and eyes open to hidden Miracles.