Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Call Them Miracles

I've started working on my holiday cards (while it's early and someone reprimanded me that you aren't supposed to do them until after Thanksgiving, aren't I known for being relatively fast?). Gathering addresses since I mail them the old fashioned way, I was amused people were asking if I was putting together a wedding invite list (with that said, if you're someone who reads this from out of town and I don't see you in person please send me your mailing address so I can send you one. It's not a snub, just blame my damaged memory). While no single picture would nail down best part of the best year of my life, it was a lot of fun to pick out pictures which highlighted a few special moments.

Being guy who uses quotes regularly I know there is nothing else all year that is likely to be put up on people's fridge, I try to put a good quote on there and this year what went in there was, "sometimes very rarely impossible things just happen and we call them miracles." The entirety of that quote is actually, "The universe is vast, and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely impossible things just happen and we call them miracles" but that's a big long for a holiday card.

Trust me when I say it's not lost on me that this year I was again highlighted in media and got to speak all over the country. But some of that occurred last year as well so on that holiday card I used some professional pictures and some from my phone. This year, I decided it was probably more appropriate if they were all just "amateur" pictures. It was actually really hard getting it down to just five pictures. In the end, there was one highlighting that marathon where after two and a half years, I finally beat the time that I'd put off brain surgery for. There was one showing the race me and my little brother did together in the world of Spartans that would air on TV (the second one I'm in is showing this Sunday at 3/2 central on NBC). There was one highlighting the first time I'd skip the Austin marathon for the privilege of running Kiana's first 5k next to her. But the two biggest pictures by far are one from Dr. Seuss Day where I made Kiana green eggs and ham and another where we enjoyed a butterfly garden.

Because I take it as a miracle that it's been over a year since a seizure happened but also that each time I've had a seizure I've been lucky to wake up from it to friends. I take it as a miracle that somehow it almost seems scripted that the guy who put off brain surgery to run a marathon would win one with his daughter one second slower that would translate into trips beyond my wildest dreams. And I take it as a miracle that I'm a few days past the median survival rate and hit the fourth anniversary, the fruit and flower one.

But just as big to me (perhaps much bigger than those miracles?) continue to be the very, very extraordinary ones that impress you the moment they walk through the door. What's the bigger
miracle that on the fruit and flower anniversary blood tests come back better than you would have dared dream? Or that you make a joke about fruit and flowers anniversary and two different friends congratulate you with fruits and flowers (one was a guy, one was a girl and I'm reminded sexuality is found in the left temporal lobe where I'm damaged)?

I've been recently featured in a new website called be a dad not a fad ( And they highlight many good dads in many ways but ultimately it's the day to day stuff where you try to find a way to both cause and catch the smile of your child that makes for good discipline in my book. When you get it right, that's the miracle. And I've seen it, in Pamela Leblanc who wrote two articles about me and whose father passed away from cancer recently. He was a rocket scientist, an actual rocket scientist whose best intelligence was in raising that woman. I wondered how she captured stories so well when we met. She believes and I echo that it's because her father told stories to her so well. And as we sat and talked about the passing of her father recently she was heart broken for the loss while realizing the complete gain she'd had in having that good of a dad.

In case you weren't aware, this blog's title is from the fact that I've actually never passed by a hitchhiker that I didn't pick up (that hasn't been very useful for most of the last four years due to a driving restriction). While there are some quirky stories were one  told me where their outstanding warrants were, and once where I picked up Jesus Christ (I'll tell you that story in person if you ever buy me the right drink), and perhaps my most heartbreaking/heart warming hitchhiker story is the only person I've ever picked up twice, but simply put, most of the stories are fairly inane. It was someone who had a car break down on the way to work and they were on thin ice with their job, a grandpa who had a flat tire and really wanted to get to grandkids special day on time instead of waiting for a tow truck, an incredibly hippy engineer, someone who was conducting a social experiment etc. Oddly enough, it was actually on the way back from the 10k that I picked up only the second hitchhiker I've gotten to since being cleared to drive again. He was a heck of a quirky conversationalist who told me about how certain parts of the economy were ponzi schemes, how the cure to my cancer was apricots and told me some amusing stories about his girlfriend who he fondly referred to as his baby mama. But the interesting thing about both of the people I've picked up since then is that the first was someone who wasn't allowed to drive because of seizures and the one on the way home from Port Arthur was someone whose baby mama had seizures. Now you're welcome to lecture me on the safety of this hitchhiking thing and I'll roll my eyes at  you (with that said, I'm not endorsing anyone else picking up hitchhikers; but I also don't recommend sneaking out of the hospitals to run or running a marathon with a stroller either). Perhaps it's just a coincidence but I am the guy who depended on many rides because of seizures so I'll take the risk. If the universe balances itself out in the end, (somehow simultaneously a very comforting and rather scary thought) but on this aspect, I dare to dream it did/does.

So I'll keep enjoying what I still consider a major miracle, that once I struggled to get into races with a stroller and this week, the stroller will get to be part of at least two more races before the end of the year. One of them is this weekend ( and the other is the only race that I did between diagnosis and surgery that I hadn't gotten do with Kiana yet ( So while the day is probably coming that the stroller races are behind us, well that day is not today.

But the biggest miracles to me will always be the daily ones: that moment where you meet an attractive lady that you know you won't forget and you're not sure if it's because she balances you out, lowers your inhibitions or raises your IQ. That great friend who makes fun of you in a way that is so demeaning but you know that no one else could pay you a higher compliment. That meal that sings your heart comfort, that song that makes life taste so good you realize they invented digital music so you wouldn't scratch the record.

And these rare miracles, which we think happen everyday but really each of them comes only once in each forever, well I hope that Kiana loves them always as she does now. Kiana's art teacher tells them a quote that she loves that earth without art is just eh. So when there wasn't school because of Veteran's day, we caught some of the parade but also did an art project where we went all over town taking in murals. It was many artistic methods, some which were clearer than others to my non artistic mind. But Kiana was supposed to make her own mural. She would make one of us playing in the sun among flowers. When I admired what she had done on our driveway, well I'll call that a miracle.


  1. An eloquent essay on miracles...Since my epiphany 2 1/2 + months ago which was a miracle w/n itself...I find miracles every day...there was some kind of confluence 4 years ago...have had discussions w/ many people and all mention 4 years had brain surgery, I had stints inserted in heart, a friend quit his job as a therapist to travel the world, etc etc etc...and here we all are...exuberant folks experiencing miracles...wonderful...enjoy your blog entries...pick up hitchhikers...meant to be as is everything else...Kiana's mural is great...very esoteric...Am disappointed in myself that I didn't go uptown to meet you when you were here for the marathon...all things in their time///even "the Queen of Malarky" can't always have it her address is 424 East 13th Street, NYC 10009...look forward to a Christmas card from you two...guess your return address will be on envelope...this is the first holiday season that actually has me more depression...Life is grand...Have a supercalifragulistic day !!!

  2. Love. Thank you, Iram. Thanks for listening to me. P