...and spiritual awakenings.

I come from a small, Scottish, Roman Catholic town. Don't get me wrong, those who were not Scottish or Roman Catholic were still aloud to enter town limits. However, when I was growing up, most of the people I knew were a lot like me. We all looked the same, spoke the same language, and, above all, went to church on Sunday mornings. It was just what you did on Sunday. We got up early, complained that we didn't want to go, and got yelled at by our mothers. You had to go to church. It's what you did.

As I grew into an adult, I did so with all of the religious knowledge instilled in me at a young age. However, I also started forming my own spiritual beliefs and ideas. I believed in the importance of being a good person and surrounding myself with other good people. I believed in treating others the way that I would want to be treated. I, however, did not necessarily believe that, in order to be the kind of person I wanted to be, I had to go to church every Sunday. I believed that it didn't matter where you practiced your spirituality. I believed that it's not where you are that matters, it's what you do. For some, that means going to a place of worship. For others, it means something else.

In university, and in life, I began to question religion and spirituality. At one point, I became jaded. If there was a Supreme Being, why were there so many atrocities in the world? Why were so many innocent people tortured and killed every day? Where were the miracles I had heard so much about as a child? During this time, I met many people who believed strongly and had answers for all of my questions. However, I just had a hard time buying it.

When I was in the hospital after my second surgery, I shared a semi-private room with a lovely girl who I only met and got to know through the curtain that hung between us. She was there because she was suffering from a horrible, painful childhood disease. This was the same disease that her brother had died from as a child. She was in a lot of pain, and very ill most of the time. This is why I was so shocked when she asked me one day if she could pray for me. I thought she was so kind to be worried about me when she was much sicker than I. What was even more interesting, was that she wanted to pray out loud. That was fine, as long as I didn't have to join her. I wouldn't know what to say.

The next day, my roommate asked me if I felt any change in my foot. I did not. She then explained that she believed that she had the gift of healing but that, in order for it to really work, she had to lay her hands on me. Would I be OK with this? Now, normally, I would have just politely declined the offer. However, I was desperate and was willing to take anything I could get. I just wanted to get better and, truth be told, the church-going child of my past wanted to believe. So, I allowed this ill and pained young woman to leave her bed and sit at the foot of mine. She put her hands on my right foot and said a prayer for my complete recovery. When she was finished, she went back to her bed and we continued on as acquaintances who spoke through a curtain.

I left the hospital a few days later. I tried to put this experience out of my mind but, deep down, I was hoping for a miracle. I truly hoped that one morning I would wake up fully functional. I pictured myself jumping out of bed while yelling, "I am healed". I would have given anything for that. Of course, it didn't happen that way. But it did happen. Over the next several weeks, I did heal to the point of slowly gaining back the movement of my foot. During this time, I suffered bouts of depression and pain, but I was healing. It was true.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, my parents were at our house for a visit. We were all sitting around the table, eating supper and I was explaining my progress. Then, just out of the blue, my father mentioned that, every night since my surgery, before he went to sleep, he would wiggle his toes and foot, think of me, and wish for my recovery. This information shocked me. My father has always been like me. He's a good person who believes in kindness to others, but who has never really been outwardly spiritual. However, every night, for 2 months, he had been sending me healing thoughts and prayers. This knowledge really warmed my heart. I would even go as far as to say that my father's love for me and his willingness to pray for me has brought about a change. I would even go as far as to say that my father's love combined with the caring of a total stranger has brought about a spiritual awakening.

Yes, I am healing. It is not the "I am healed" kind of healing. It has been a slow and difficult process. Yet, I have learned from all of my research that most in my situation do not heal. Most remain paralyzed from the nerve damage and live in chronic pain. I tell people that I am very lucky. But, I know, deep down, that it's more than luck. It's a miracle.


  1. Vanessa,
    You are a wonderful writer! I've learned so much from this blog. I'll look forward to reading it to see how your hip/foot is recovering. And by the way, you totally had me fooled! I thought you performed cartwheels just as professionally as all of us other brownies!!

  2. Thanks, Kris! I was a great pretender :)