Words of Wellness

March 03, 2011 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

"Miracle Workers"

     It’s not every day that you get to visit the site of a modern day miracle, but I had just such a chance this past weekend while visiting a dear friend, and doing some work at a church in Sheffield, Alabama.  Sheffield, in the very northern part of Alabama, is located right next to the community of Tuscumbia. Do you know what modern day miracle occurred in Tuscumbia, Alabama?  I did not recall, but my wife who was with me, realized it immediately.  Tuscumbia, Alabama is where a teacher by the name of Annie Sullivan taught Helen Keller how to sign, write and eventually speak.  


     My wife and I toured the home of Helen Keller, which contains much of the original furniture that was in the home as Helen grew up.  The tour guide pointed out that the china on the dining room table was original as well, and was the little that remained from the original china, so much of which had been broken by Helen.  Behind the house we saw the pump, where Helen had her first breakthrough when she came to the  understanding that Annie Sullivan’s signing meant the word “water.” This was just the beginning of Helen’s connection with the bigger world.  To witness the very site of this miracle brought tears to our eyes.  


     We toured Helen Keller’s home the day before the movie “The King’s Speech”  received an Oscar for Best Picture.   We could not help but note the parallel between the relationship of speech therapist Lionel Logue to King George VI, and that of Annie Sullivan to Helen Keller.  In both cases, a miracle worker had the courage, tenacity and love to believe they could make a difference in the life of someone with a special need.  


     You and I know many modern day miracle workers in our own lives.  They may not become famous and appear in movies, but they are no less of an inspiration to us.  We know them as parents, teachers, spouses, aides, family members, nurses, therapists, and a variety of other titles.  They care for family members with dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or other health issues, for children with autism and other special needs, for family members with mental illness, and for students, clients or patients with special physical or emotional needs.  


     Miracle workers are an important reminder that we all have the capacity to be mediators of grace, love and healing.  Their commitment to the care for others reminds that every person, no matter what their needs or challenges, is a child of God, and that therefore we must see and celebrate the dignity and worth of every human being.   They also show us what a miraculous difference it makes when one human being truly believes in and faithfully cares for  another human being.  


     Many of us, at some point in our lives, will have the opportunity to fill the role of miracle worker in someone’s life who is experiencing a special need or challenge.  It may be for a short time, or for a very long time.  It may be with a close family member, a friend, a neighbor, or someone we know through our work. When we are presented with this opportunity, I pray that we may fill it with as much courage and grace as the likes of Annie Sullivan and Lionel Logue.   

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