True miracles are mysterious. No matter how a miracle is explained, something headed in one direction suddenly reverses and heads another way. Why? That’s the “mystery” part.
Doctors and scientists may be able to explain in minute detail how a cancer suddenly disappears without treatment, but they can only theorize why this happens. A “misdiagnosis” is a common explanation for the mysteriously well cancer patient.
Eleven days ago, my granddaughter’s husband, a healthy young man, was comatose after severe seizures. A day after he was hospitalized, the doctors were not hopeful that he would make it through the day. The cause of the seizures was an adverse reaction to medication.
He was put on a ventilator. The doctors said he would be on the ventilator for anywhere from two weeks to four months. If he woke from the coma, they would not be able to assess his brain function for up to a year.
At the beginning of this week, his doctors decided to try to wean him off of the ventilator. One time, he “crashed” and panic set in again for all of us. Then, suddenly, he started to show reactive signs; he would briefly open his eyes when someone spoke, he would occasionally squeeze my granddaughter’s hand. We took this as a wonderful, positive sign.
What happened next blew us all away.
Day before yesterday, the doctors removed his ventilator. He started to wake up. He followed people with his eyes. Yesterday, he started to speak. My granddaughter called me at seven yesterday morning to laughingly complain that her husband had woken her up (she was sleeping in a chair by his side when the ICU nurses let her) at four that morning, talking. “He won’t shut up!” she ecstatically told me.
It’s been uphill ever since. From near death two weeks ago to this evening as he’s moving into a regular room and fed regular, albeit, soft, food. His coordination is slow right now, but his mind is not.
What is a miracle? Unknown, unseen, unsettling. Trying to answer this question brings up more questions. Ultimately, we simply accept the miracle.
Skepticism is the biggest drawback to believing in the miracle. In real life, miracles are like history: unless you are a personal witness or have a personal connection to the miracle, it’s hearsay and biased by the one who records the event. As a fiction writer, though, I can get away with miracle after miracle just like I can get away with, well, anything and everything.
There’s a distinct line between miracles in real life and miracles on paper. On paper, we need to give some semblance of an explanation. Even if it’s supernatural, the miracle has to pass the skeptic’s, I mean, reader’s test.
Witnessing a miracle is unnerving. As logical creatures, we need answers. Writing a fictional one is easy. Writing a fictional miracle a reader will believe takes a delicate skill.
When I write about seemingly miraculous happenings, I always have a backup explanation. I’m highly skeptical. If I read a fictional miracle that appears out of nowhere with no plausible reason and only an admonition to “believe,” I mentally go, “ughh” and stop reading. I need a little bit of an answer to keep me going.
In real life, I’ve become less skeptical. There are too many unexplained events and occurrences, and like an X-Files chaser, I’ll believe, even if I hear about it second or third-hand.
What do you think about written miracles? Do they go over as well in some stories as they do in real life? Or do most fall a little flat? How can writers make the miracle more believable?
Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch