Miracle Stories

"Daniel in the Lion's Den," Henry Ossawa Tanner 1907-1918
“Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” Henry Ossawa Tanner 1907-1918

Miracle Stories

We are just back from another of our week-long stays in Riverside, California.  We go there periodically to get treatments only available from the neuropathy clinic at Loma Linda Hospital.

Here’s how we “happened” to learn of this treatment.  We were headed out to Riverside to be part of the graveside service for Jerry’s father, L. B. Martin.  As I recall, it was at the Ontario airport that Jerry requested a wheelchair for me.  By that time, ordinary walking had become perilous.

         “What’s wrong with your wife?” the dispatcher asked.

         “She has peripheral neuropathy,” Jerry answered.

         “Oh, my husband suffered from that for many years but he was greatly helped at Loma Linda Hospital.  The treatment is not available anywhere else.”

No sooner had she said that

than she was gone

and we never saw her again.

At Jerry’s urging, but reluctantly, I made the call for an appointment to see the clinic’s Director, Mark Bussell, that same week — reluctantly, since the ceremony and family reunions would require his full attention.  However, Jerry felt that if this treatment could help, the sooner we learned that, the better. 

The treatment does not involve drugs or surgery, though it does include some dietary restrictions.  It uses a light-touch massage whose effect is to open targeted tiny blood vessels (in the micro-vascular system) that allow nutrient-rich blood to reach nerves previously starved.  This is the “hydraulic” part of the treatment, which induces nerves to regenerate, and it’s the easiest part to understand.  There are other aspects to the treatment, of which I’m less competent to give an account.

In my case, as treatment continued over the next few years, additional complexities peculiar to me were identified and addressed.  The process is slow, but from that first week it was clear that my condition had stopped getting worse and had begun, incrementally, to get better.

I don’t have a stoic bone in my body.  If something is wrong with some physical part of me – unless that ailing part’s been amputated and burned in fire – I don’t get “resigned” to the loss.  If I said I was, the hypocrisy would be an ugly thing to behold.  I’m not saying this is a virtue.  Or a vice.  Only that it’s who I am.  I’ve tried to be someone else.  It didn’t work.

Since you don’t have to be silent during the treatment, I generally find things to talk about with Mark Bussell.  One of the topics we discussed this week was miracles that may have come into one’s own life experience.  By “miracle” I don’t mean supernatural occurrences.  The things that have happened to me that I deem “miraculous” don’t break any laws of nature.  It would be perfectly reasonable to dismiss events that I call “miracles,” seeing them rather as instances of different event-streams, whose simultaneous occurrence had a meaning for me, converging by chance

If however you do see the hand of Providence in such stories, you have to be careful how and when you tell them, because – more often than not – they can be poorly received.  Anyway, in talking with Mark Bussell, it seemed to me pretty safe …

to share a story or two.

Or three.

Or more than three.

Holy Hannah!  I’ve got one miracle story after another!  In fact, if I blended the professionally respectable c.v. that I assembled two weeks ago in “Read it Here First! My Obit!“, with a parallel c.v. listing the miracle stories in chronological order – my word!  We have here a technicolor epic!  Where is Cecil B. DeMille now that we need him?

If my treatment provider, sober and data-driven as he is, hadn’t been willing to hear such a narrative, I doubt if I myself would have grasped the full extent of it.  There are people who have a good ear for classical music.  (I don’t.)  There are people who have a good eye for painting.  (I do.)  But the talent for listening intelligently to miracle stories has yet to be recognized.

For that reason,

I suspect,

most of us keep ours to ourselves.

About Abigail

Abigail Rosenthal is Professor Emerita of Philosophy, Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of A Good Look at Evil, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, now available in an expanded, revised second edition and as an audiobook. Its thesis is that good people try to live out their stories while evil people aim to mess up good people’s stories. Her next book, Confessions of a Young Philosopher, forthcoming and illustrated, provides multiple illustrations from her own life. She writes a weekly column for her blog, “Dear Abbie: The Non-Advice Column” (www.dearabbie-nonadvice.com) where she explains why women's lives are highly interesting. She’s the editor of the posthumously published Consolations of Philosophy: Hobbes’s Secret; Spinoza’s Way by her father, Henry M. Rosenthal. Some of her articles can be accessed at https://brooklyn-cuny.academia.edu/AbigailMartin . She is married to Jerry L. Martin, also a philosopher. They live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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4 Responses to Miracle Stories

  1. Your pal Judy says:

    One’s modern intellect has been trained to roll one’s eyes, and smile indulgently at “synchronicity”.
    But as my dumb little brother says “whaddo I know?” Sometimes, if one pays attention, and then takes action, hmmmm…..sure can seem like one has been Divinely nudged. Or that one’s chain has been yanked.
    Sooo, pay attention, ponder, choose. Giving God and Guardian Angels some giggles, if nothing else!

  2. Thanks Abbie! I recall meeting you at the French bakery cafe in New Hope! Am replying because this causes future emails from you to arrive in the best inbox folder. Sincerely, John Brennick

    On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 3:16 PM Dear Abbie: The Non-Advice Column wrote:

    > Abigail posted: ” “Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” Henry Ossawa Tanner > 1907-1918 Miracle Stories We are just back from another of our week-long > stays in Riverside, California. We go there periodically to get treatments > only available from the neuropathy clinic at L” >

    • Abigail says:

      Yes, dimly dimly I recall our conversation there. Nice to hear from you. Sadly, one of the “dietary restrictions” on my new regime forbids gluten, so I’ve had to renounce those divine treats at C’est la Vie. Emails to me can be addressed to >dearabbiesilvousplait@gmail.com<.

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