So here I am at a Psychology conference in Wichita, walking toward the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel with my young friend Anna, when out of the blue I hear someone say, “Doc. Doc!” I stopped and turned and saw a young man walking toward me, athletic in build with short-cropped hair.
I immediately recognized him as one of the Quiz Bowl team members I used to coach at Highland. “Hey, Sean, man, how in the world are you?!”
We shook hands and simultaneously did the one-arm man-hug. “I’m doing great, Doc. What are you doing here?”
I explained the reason for my trip and introduced Anna, “She’s sort of my unofficially-adopted niece.” They shook hands and Sean told us that he was there as part of the security detail for the conference. That explained the blue tee shirt with “Security” printed on the front. He apologized, “Doc, I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch with you.” I assured him that I understood, “Everybody gets busy, Sean. Don’t worry about it.”
We talked for a couple more minutes. Sean went back to his station by the door of the Exhibit Hall and we walked on to the lobby. I paid my parking fee and Anna went up to her room to change clothes. As I walked back through the hallway toward the parking garage, I wondered whether or not my “chance meeting” with Sean was really just chance. I suspected it might be something more.
I stopped and spoke with him again. There was a question I wanted to ask but was afraid of what the answer might be.
Four years ago, when he was at Highland, he’d come to my office. I knew something was wrong but he didn’t know how to bring it up. So I just asked, “Man, I can tell something is eating on you. Do you mind telling me what it is?”
Sean is one of the most masculine-looking guys I know. The kind of guy you’d sure hope was on your side if you ended up in a bar fight or anything like that. His facial features and mannerisms remind me of the actor Roger Craig. But he did tear up just a bit as he told me about his half-sister. “She’s in the hospital and she’s really sick. They’re afraid she might die and even if she doesn’t, that she might lose her other leg. She’s already lost one.” I asked him if it would be okay if we prayed for her. “Sure,” he choked out, even though he wasn’t sure how we would do that. I got the impression he’d never had anyone pray with him before.
I took his hand and prayed out loud for his sister. I asked for her strengthening and healing; I asked for a miracle. “But Lord, above that, I ask you to give her peace of mind. Take away the fear and the anxiety and just bless her with your peace.” We talked a little while longer and then he left.
Not having heard anything about her in these few years, I was reluctant to even ask Sean about her? What if she had died? In spite of my reluctance, though, I had to ask. “How’s your sister doing?” He looked puzzled for all of two seconds and then smiled and shook his head enthusiastically, “Oh, she’s doing great! She’s got her prostheses now and she’s just doing great.” I told him how glad I was to hear that and gave him another hug. “It really is awesome to see you. Thanks for coming over and speaking to me earlier.”
We said our goodbyes and I walked down the hall with a sudden hit of goose bumps and a tingling along my spine. You see, I realized that if Sean’s half-sister was up and around and doing great with her prostheses, the Lord had given her the peace we’d prayed for. Otherwise, she’d be in a wheelchair, feeling sorry for herself and griping about all the stuff she couldn’t do. People who have been blessed with peace move on with their lives, focused on their capabilities and the possibilities.
Sometimes, the miracle we get is even greater than we expected.