It was all I could do to not reach over and tweak the cheek of the adorable imp sitting before me with the contagious, playful smile. I’d heard about him for years, followed his mother’s blog about his adventures and zest for life … I’d even read the amazing book about him, Miracle in my Living Room. And finally this week, it was my great honor to meet him.
His name is Samuel. He’s an honest-to-goodness miracle.
Samuel was born eleven years ago to a couple who were assured he wouldn’t … couldn’t survive. Doctors only thought that because no one ever had.
Diagnosed in utero with a rare and fatal form of dwarfism, Samuel wasn’t expected to live more than one day after birth. His parents, Evelyn and Ralph Mann, were encouraged to abort. And why not? There were only two known cases of children who had made it past infancy – ever. Both were Japanese; one died at age three, the other at seven.
But in facing this horrendous situation where they were offered absolutely no natural hope, Evelyn and Ralph found Papa God’s supernatural hope. Peace in the midst of chaos blanketed them as they clung to His promise: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV).
Today, more than a decade later, Samuel is their little Miracle Mann! And it’s become Evelyn’s burning desire to offer encouragement to other families facing “hopeless” situations; to demonstrate by this family’s joy in each other that even a negative diagnosis is not beyond God’s reach.
Just being with Samuel for a few short hours was all it took for the little fella to capture my heart. It took a few minutes for him to warm up to me, a stranger, but after I offered a steady stream of goofy-grandma faces and publicly inappropriate tthhhbbbtt noises that usually amuse my grands (we were in a restaurant), he began tossing some prize-winning smiles my way. He even showed off his expanding vocabulary and entertained me with some Olympic-caliber gymnastics in retrieving the prized cheerios his parents kept replacing in a plastic container for him to find and manipulate open.
The occupational therapist in me (for 36 years if you recall) was completely impressed by this brilliant way to supply him with simultaneous mental and physical exercise, as well as working on his fine motor skills in a way he obviously enjoyed.
So if you’re feeling a bit of those ole joy-sucking dully-funks sometime this week, I encourage you to visit miraclemann.com and soak in Samuel’s zeal for life.
You might even, like me, find a wee tear trickling down your cheek for the sheer joy of it.