The news from the MRI was devastating. The brain had shrunk considerably showing little to no function. According to the doctors, there was almost no hope for improvement. The child was destined to be a non-responsive "vegetable" until the inevitable happened. Hospice was called.
Months passed. The child suffered ups and downs. Surgeries were done to provide comfort. Followed by infection and more surgeries. Lengthy hospital stays ensued. The child continued to show no response to anything other than pain.
After stabilizing, the little girl was finally taken home. She was in her own bed in her own room. Familiar surroundings improved the spirits of her family, and as a routine was established, things settled down. The girl still did not respond to much, but a flicker here and there provided a few sparks of hope.
Weeks turned into months. And then, the little girl laughed. This caught the parents and siblings by surprise. Laughter? Sure enough. They videoed the event to offer proof to the doctor on the next visit that this indeed was happening--you know kids, they never cooperate when visiting the doctor.
The father shared this information with the pastor one day. The pastor replied, "You know, laughter is a higher brain function. The brain stem doesn't control that kind of stuff."
"That's true," said dad. Another sign of hope.
The doctor was impressed. He put the girl on a medication to help her remain alert more during the day. Small improvements continued. The pastor came to visit one evening.
The pastor and dad went to the child's bedside. "The Lion King" was playing on her television set. Without much thought, the pastor had placed himself between the child and the television set as he came in to visit.
"It's good to see you. How are you doing?"
The child moved her head side to side. She glimpsed up at the pastor with an unmistakable look. SHE WANTED TO SEE THE TELEVISION!!!
"I'm sorry," the pastor said. "You want to watch your movie. I'm moving. (to dad) That was obvious, wasn't it?"
Laughing, dad responded, "Yeah."
An evening full of conversation ensued including dad telling the pastor that the young girl often responded by smiling at her sister.
"Yeah, H. can actually make her smile almost on demand," dad said.
Later, as the pastor was about to leave, dad said, "H. go make your sister smile."
A few raspberries and nose tweaks later, the smile appeared. The child responded. Not a full recovery yet, but a miracle none-the-less.
And I got to see it! Of course, on the way home, I was smiling. It was contagious.
The miracle of a smile.