17: Christmas Vision

17: Christmas Vision

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

Christmas Vision

It is hard to wait and press and pray, and hear no voice, but stay till God answers.

~E.M. Bounds

Two months before my family sat around a Christmas tree, we were sitting around a hospital waiting room hoping for good news. My sister Jessica, thirteen at the time, had just been diagnosed with a brain arteriovenous malformation, an AVM. The doctors were relatively shocked and they told us it was a miracle she hadn’t dropped dead after one of the aneurysms in her brain burst the previous year. The details of her condition were somewhat complicated but the simple diagnosis was this — she needed another miracle. Her rare condition had doctors unsure of how to proceed and had us anxiously waiting for them to decide on a plan of action. They told our mother that her chances weren’t exactly good and tried to prepare us for a worst-case scenario.

She was sedated heavily in order to help with her pain and was made to go through numerous procedures so the doctors could get a better idea of what they were up against. Speaking to her on the phone was comforting but difficult, since she sounded so far away because of the morphine and seemed to be in so much pain. It seemed so unfair that such a young girl could be facing so much. I passed through my teenage years without so much as a broken bone and here was my young sister who had barely made it to adolescence and was now fighting for her life.

Our family did what we always did; we turned to prayer. We prayed constantly for her recovery and our church, extended family, and friends all did the same. Prayer groups from one end of the country to the other prayed that we would, in fact, get our miracle.

And remarkably, we did. After a surgery to stop the bleeding and repair some of the damage, the doctors told us she could go home. We were overjoyed, but it wasn’t the end of her struggles. When she arrived home she was still recovering from a stroke, a consequence of the surgery they had done on her brain. She had to be in a wheelchair and had partial hearing loss in one ear. She also had double vision and, to avoid vertigo, needed to wear an eye patch every waking moment. It was a devastating blow to see her like that and to hear how weak she sounded, but we had to focus on the positive; she was alive. We were so thankful to have her with us that we felt we’d never have to ask God for anything else. He had given us our miracle and that was all we needed.

That Christmas we were happy to be celebrating as an entire family again. No matter the bumps in the road we faced that holiday season, our mantra was this: it could have been so much worse.

It seemed, however, that we were in for one more holiday surprise. On Christmas Eve Jessica woke up and she could see. Her vision had somehow corrected itself and she no longer needed her eye patch in order to function. It was our very own Christmas miracle. That night at our Christmas mass, we all stood a little taller, prayed a little harder, and sang a little louder.

Even though there were piles of presents under the tree that Christmas the unspoken feeling in the air was unmistakable. Jessica’s regained eyesight was the best gift by far and the one nobody had even thought to ask for.

~Melissa Pearn

More stories from our partners