A time when “medaling” made a difference…
by Daniel Moran, G.M. Calumet Park Cemetery
I was standing outside the Calumet Park office in Merrillville in mid-August. It was 91 degrees and very high humidity. I was walking a man out to his car after helping with his cemetery questions. For this story, I will refer to him as Bob. I made mention that I could see he was riding with Christ and he stared at me for a second. I pointed to the small statue on his dashboard.
“Oh! Oh yeah, that,” he answered. And then, as we stood in the scorching sun, he told me his story. A number of years ago, he spoke of riding his motorcycle and just loved the feeling of freedom this simple act gave him. His bike was not even a week old and he was putting it through the paces. He said he might have been pushing the speed limit a little when, from his left mirror, he saw a car headed directly into his path. To avoid being hit, throttled up to the max, lost control and veered directly into a concrete wall.
By all accounts, he said he should have died. In fact, he even thinks that maybe he did die. After three weeks in a coma, he awoke. His first wife had died a couple of years before, and when he woke up after the crash, his second wife teared up as he spoke. He whispered to her what you might expect someone to say when waking up in a hospital room. “Where am I?” he asked. “What happened?”
“Bob, you were in a serious accident,” she answered.
“Three weeks ago,” she replied.
Bob looked around the room. He was connected to monitors and wires and tubes connecting him to life sustaining gadgetry. He said a nurse came running in and doctors’ were called in to check on the return to life of this bandaged and broken body. As things calmed down, he resumed his talk with his wife. She explained that (please forgive the description of his injuries, but they are important to this miracle) his nose was torn to the side of his face. Some of his teeth were gone and his lower jaw was ripped to the side. Along with this were a number of broken bones but the facial injuries were the most severe. He was knocked out completely and was constantly being monitored and observed as regards to brain injuries.
They talked and prayed and thanked everyone they saw that contributed to his recovery. As Bob was wrapping up his story, I was sweating in the jungle-like heat and just wanted the story to be over so I could get back inside. I was three feet away from one of my favorite inventions of all time…air conditioning, but I did not want to interrupt his story.
“So, I asked my wife about my chain and medal. Did they find it?”
I figured it was maybe a medal from the service, or a gift from some special time in his life from some special person, or even a simple piece of gold jewelry that was important to him. But, as he continued his story, the medal was a medallion that had the Sacred Heart of Jesus cast upon it. It was a medal that Christians would wear as a reminder of the sacrifice made for all of our sins.
“My wife reached into her purse and stared down at the medal for a few seconds. She started crying again. I asked her what was wrong. She handed me the silver chain and the medal. My heart skipped a beat as I looked at my medallion. It seems that when I hit the wall, I slammed so hard that somehow the medal was torn and bent…at the nose, mouth and chin. My injuries were mirrored exactly on the medal. “
Bob stopped talking for a minute, and a chill ran down my sweat-soaked back. It took a minute to register in my mind that his own injuries were replicated on a medal by a simple artists impression of what Jesus, the man, looked like….and how they melded into one on that fateful day three weeks previous to his regaining consciousness.
Coincidence? Possibly. But in this business, I hear too many stories of such incidents in people’s lives to believe in coincidence. To me, his story rang true. There was no need to enhance what happened. It just happened. There was nothing to be gained or lost in the telling of the story but I received it as an affirmation of the fact that God still makes miracles.
“So, the fact that I am here talking to you, and showing you my scars, and telling you why I have a $10.00 statue on the dash of my car…man, I believe He was riding with me that day. Now, I go no place without Him. Before the accident, it was just an ornament that seemed cool. But believe me, I totally believe He was watching over me that day.
With that, we shook hands and said goodbye. I asked if I could tell his story and he said sure, I tell everyone anyway. His story reminded me of one of my favorite prayers. You know the one. Footprints, where a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him he looked back at the footprints and he noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me.”
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you and I would never leave you. During the times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
I don’t know the author of Footprints, but the bike guy was looking me in the eye and telling his own version of Footprints. You can read this and say it’s an interesting story, or you can read this and know that miracles still happen. Simply put, for you to even be reading this story, at this moment, is quite a miracle when you consider how fragile life is for all of us. I believe absolutely that we are here because we are supposed to be here, and if it is not our time to go, then we can run into a stone wall at 80 miles an hour and live to tell about it.
So, Bob, thanks for your story. I am glad that we met and you shared your story. Or…hey, maybe it was preordained that I hear your story so I could share it with those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
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