One morning this summer, I woke up and realized that I really wasn’t giving the “unbelievable” a chance. So I stopped and conversed with Life for a moment and said. “Ok. Today, I believe. I believe, Life, in your power to present something that I think is unbelievable.”
There is power is opening the door for Life, even just a little crack like that one conversation. While I thought a bit longer, trying to stretch my mind to even conceive of something that would be unbelievable, I quickly became swept up in the rest of the day and the people around me.
That evening, Drew asked that we take a walk to “Sunfish Beach” and do his favorite task – look for sharksteeth along the shore. Ever since we had arrived at Camp that summer, he was enthralled by the fact these tiny beaches along the Neuse River were a treasure trove of hidden sharksteeth. He certainly held the record at that point of the biggest tooth found that summer, having found an two inch fully intact tooth. This one particular night, he was ankle deep in the water about 25 feet from me, as we both were scanning the brackish water for some of these fossils.
He reached down, expecting to flip over a rock, and before I knew it, he was holding his hand high in the air, screaming for me.
From where I was, there was no way what he held above his head was a sharkstooth. What he was showing me, was literally “unbelievable”.
It is strange when you come in contact with something that completely destroys a limit of your thinking and capability before. There it was. A six and a half-inch sharkstooth, fully intact (about the size of my face). I rushed over running and skipping through the water, in utter shock. He had found the largest sharkstooth the camp or that neighborhood had found in decades. He brought my “unbelievable” up from the bottom of the river.
It was so fun to celebrate this “unbelievable”. I can’t help that I am awkward at such times of celebration because it’s so rare that I am faced with something hard to believe. It was joyous! It was fun! It was liberating!
It was also, very clearly, an answer from Life. To me, that sharkstooth spoke more to the fact, that yes, if we recognize our limiting thoughts and beliefs, even if it is just about a belief about what the day can hold, and invite, ever so gently and subtly Life to come in and break those barriers – It will.
I had forgotten this lesson until last night. As we were about to head to bed, Drew received a call from a student’s parent. This wasn’t about homework, though. This parent was calling from the hospital, where she has spent the last few months by the side of her sixth grader, who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Drew and others from the school and community worked tirelessly in the past few weeks to organize and set up a “Marrow-thon” to find this student, Kajal, her match. While the students were too young to register and become a donor, they organized and began this drive to find the 1 in 20,000th person who would be the right donor for their friend.
I don’t know where I stopped believing, but along this whole experience, I was too much of an adult. I thought it was sweet that these students, and one in particular, with blind faith, continued to look, hope and raise awareness that “You could be the match. You could be a hero for Kajal.”
I thought my disbelief was shattered the day of the Marrow-thon, when this group of parents, students and teachers broke a world record of number of people swabbed in a 24 hour period – over 2,800! I thought my disbelief was shattered when an Atlanta news reporter followed the story for the 24 hours, reporting on the hour, of the progress of the effort. But the truth was, I was still in disbelief. I couldn’t bear to tell the student, who spearheaded this entire project for her friend, that I still thought the chances were against her. That she did such an amazing job and should be so proud, but to not get her hopes up too high that there would be a match.
But then came the call. Kajal’s mother told the good news to Drew. That afternoon, the doctors informed her that they had found a match. Kajal was going to be able to get her bone marrow transplant. Kajal was going to get another chance.
In the quite moments of my normal day, in came the unbelievable again.
It hurts me that I have become so guarded, so judgmental – so cynical at times. It is very painful for me to see the doors that I shut, out of fear of being let down, when all I need to do is invite the unbelievable in. While I have said it before, I will say it again – Nothing is too good to be true. Nothing.
Thank you, Life, for these reminders of this. And thank you for the faith of children. May I be more like them and remember to open the door for the unbelievable everyday.