Tonight was a meeting of people who shouldn't be alive.
My youngest daughter was abandoned to die, at birth, in the woods; she has overcome almost total blindness, allergy to sunlight, and infectious disease that drove her temperature to 106. My wife was so sickly at birth that her family was told she would never be born alive, and she has a long laundry list of medical conditions. I was born under similar circumstances, and I’ve come within inches of death several times, in addition to foreign folks having a price on my head years ago (plus cancer). My oldest daughter was born in a Siberian prison, abused, and abandoned; along the way she survived a head injury and two bouts of pneumonia.
By all the laws of probability, there is no way the four of us should all be alive, and together this Christmas.
Tonight I learned that the four of us are a bunch of sissies.
Tonight the four of us met another member of the club. This was a friend of a friend, a woman from Tanzania, an albino like my daughter. She spent most of her time being fed soup by our friends, because she has no arms. Hired thugs working for African witch doctors hacked off her arms and left her to die of blood loss or infection – the body parts of albinos are believed to have magical powers in eastern Africa. She miraculously survived, and managed to get all the way to America to get prosthetics, which she hasn’t received yet. When she was done eating, she sat, serene, and sang quite happy African songs. If you had to pick the trauma victim out of all the people in that room, you never would have guessed it was her – she had the kind of calm that Buddha would envy. She didn’t even flinch at coming from a boiling equatorial country to below-freezing weather. The women who had hosted the party were crying like babies, but this woman never even blinked.
For a minute I thought the five us should go to the 711 and buy a lottery ticket for Christmas, because clearly the laws of probability don’t apply to us. On the other hand, maybe we’ve used up all our good luck.
But we’re all having a merrier Christmas than we really should be having.
Incidentally, my blind daughter. While we were with the woman from Tanzania, she was in the other room with the other children. First she destroyed all of them at chess, even though she could hardly see the chess pieces. Then she destroyed all of them at air hockey, even though she could hardly see the puck.
The season of miracles indeed.