Albert Einstein said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

You may remember this story. It’s in one of the Chicken Soup books written by Marjorie Wallé. One day Mrs. Smith was sitting in her doctor’s waiting room when a young boy and his mother entered the office. The young boy caught Mrs. Smith’s attention because he wore a patch over one eye. She marveled at how unaffected he seemed to be by the loss of an eye and watched as he followed his mother to a chair nearby.

The doctor’s office was very busy that day, so Mrs. Smith had an opportunity to chat with the boy’s mother while he played with his soldiers. At first he sat quietly, playing with the soldiers on the arm of the chair. Then he silently moved to the floor, glancing up at his mother.

Eventually, Mrs. Smith had an opportunity to ask the little boy what had happened to his eye. He considered her question for a long moment, then replied, lifting the patch, “There’s nothing wrong with my eye. I’m a pirate!” Then he returned to his game.

Mrs. Smith was there because she had lost her leg from the knee down in an auto accident. Her trip today was to determine whether it had healed enough to be fitted with a prosthetic. The loss had been devastating to her. Try as she would to be courageous, she felt like an invalid. Intellectually, she knew that this loss should not interfere with her life, but emotionally, she just couldn’t overcome this hurdle. Her doctor had suggested visualization, and she had tried it, but had been unable to envision an emotionally acceptable, lasting image. In her mind she saw herself as an invalid.

The word “pirate” changed her life. Instantly, she was transported. She saw herself dressed as Long John Silver, standing aboard a pirate ship. She stood with her legs planted wide apart – one pegged. Her hands were clenched at her hips, her head up and her shoulders back, as she smiled into a storm. Gale force winds whipped her coat and hair behind her. Cold spray blew across the deck balustrade as great waves broke against the ship. The vessel rocked and groaned under the storm’s force. Still she stood firmly – proud, undaunted.

In that moment, the invalid image was replaced and her courage returned. She regarded the young boy, busy with his soldiers.

A few minutes later, the nurse called her. As she balanced on her crutches, the young boy noticed her amputation. “Hey lady,” he called, “what’s wrong with your leg?” The young boy’s mother was mortified.

Mrs. Smith looked down at her shortened leg for a moment. Then she replied with a smile, “Nothing. I’m a pirate, too.”


About Sarah The Vicar of Hogsmeade

I'm an United Methodist clergywoman with two daughters. I read. I geocache. I look for excuses to laugh. My Ph.D. is on Clergywomen and Grief.
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Overheard at the Three Broomsticks

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