Miracles & Answered Prayers : A Well Thought Out Scream by James Riordan
BOY FALLS SEVEN STORIES AND WALKS AWAY
You may have seen this story in the news this past week. A neighbor said the five year old boy’s guardian angel saved him. Others said that the tree in which he landed slowed his fall and gently dropped him to the ground. I say both! Miracles happen all the time but rarely are they reported or caught on camera, It’s no secret the media focuses on bad news but you really can’t blame them. That’s what people want to see. Nothing drives ratings like fear. In the movie Scrogged television network exec Bill Murray says, “”I don’t just want people to watch the upcoming Christmas special, I want them to be scared to miss it!” And it’s true. The ratings really soar in a drawn out news story with life and death on the line. A freaked out father kidnaps his own son and heads for the West Coast and the media loves it because it’s a continuing story. There’s a can’t miss update every night. Or if there is a cave-in in a mine somewhere and it takes several days to dig the poor guys out. People are glued to their set to see if they make it. But good news is usually saved for the smiling wrap up at the end of the broadcast, It’s like, “Well, the world is falling apart, but this nice thing still happened.” The truth is that good things happen every day. We just don’t hear about them.
After the 5-year-old boy got up and walked away from his seven story fall, neighbor Anne Varela told CBS Boston station WBZ, “An angel caught him with the tree.” The boy was leaning on a screen at the Captain’s Cove condos, in Quincy, Massachusetts, when he fell, according to police. His fall was broken by a tall tree before he hit the ground. Another resident of the building, Muhammad Khan, said he heard the boy tumbling by his window. “I heard something by my window and it fell down really fast, so I thought it was something random so I just ignored it, and then a few seconds later I heard a lady screaming at the top of her lungs and I saw a kid on the ground and I was like, oh my God, a kid fell.” Khan added, “Then I went back to the balcony and then I actually saw the kid get up, and he started walking.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 8,000 kids are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries every day. That is almost 2.8 million kids a year. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children and teens. Erecting barriers such as window guards and making sure young children are supervised can help prevent life-threatening falls. The boy in this case never lost consciousness and was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital. “It is really like a miracle, I think his guardian angel was definitely there,” said Kathy Hogan, a neighbor. ”
Ed O’Connor, another neighbor who saw the fall, said, “They neck-braced him up. He was screaming so that was a good sign. His lungs were good — that’s all we knew at the time.”
Last month, another Massachusetts boy survived tumbling from a second-story window when a stuffed animal broke his fall. Doctors say the 5-year-old in the latest incident is expected to be fine..
Many of us have experienced an answer to prayer that really can’t be explained away. I’ve had many such experiences. It seems that most answers to prayer are over a long period and, as such, are easily questioned by others and I’ve had some amazing examples of those, but I’ve had some unusual and very specific answers to prayer as well. For example, my mother passed away in 2003 and she had moved here from Wichita a few months before because at 93, she knew it was her time and she wanted to be buried next to my dad at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Kankakee. When I picked her up in Wichita, my brother gave me a bank deposit pouch that contained all her insurance policies. Some of these were old Prudential policies from the 30s. My brother had kept them faithfully safe all for 36 years. I put them in a safe place, but when we had to put my Mom in the nursing home where my wife worked, I had to bring the papers down to show them. That was the last time I remembered seeing them. In the next two months I had carted around dozens of teenage boys. I had a basketball time at the College Church gym every week and I had both an all black and an all white team in the high school intramural program. I never gave the papers a second thought. I had also moved my office at this time so I really had no idea where that pouch had gone. Since the days of the teen center, kids didn’t steal from me. Not so much out of gratitude but out of fear for what the other kids would do to them if they found out. Well, my precious mother started to slip away. She who had inspired me to be great as a child. She who convince me I could do anything. Anything maybe except find these insurance papers which my brother had kept faithfully for 36 years and I had lost in two months. The nursing home said I better get all her insurance stuff together because she was going to pass any day. I couldn’t find that pouch anywhere. Finally, I was headed down to Pauley’s to see a friend of mine’s band play and on the way there I prayed as follows: “Lord I need these papers. I need them now. I don’t know how you can do it but I need them now…tonight.”
I went into the restaurant and sat down out on the patio. I was there about ten minutes when a woman I had never seen before asked me if I was James Riordan. I said I was and she said, “My Dad works for the railroad and he was walking along the tracks a month or so ago and he found this pouch. It had some papers with your name on it and we’ve been trying to reach you, but never could get your number.” I told her the pouch was indeed mine and made arrangements to pick it up from her house the next day. Praise God!
Another outrageous answer to prayer came when I lost my wallet for a few days. The last time I remembered having it was around midnight at the all night Shell gas station at River and Washington. I remember setting it on top of my car. Of course the parking lot at the all night Shell is about the worst place to leave your wallet. I prayed about finding it for a few days. I went to the Shell and other places but no such luck. I was donating most of my time and money to helping people in those days and I really got upset about losing the wallet. While driving I shouted out, “Lord, with all I’m doing to help people, you should put that wallet in the palm of my hand!” Of course, getting angry at God is not always wise, but He understands. That night I had acid indigestion late in the night and reached for my tums, but knocked them off of the nightstand by mistake. I reached under the bed to look for them and my hand grasped my wallet. God had put it in the palm of my hand. Now this is the point where many of you would scoff. Sure, it is likely that the wallet had fallen out of my pants a few days before. Maybe the rest if all coincidence. That is a matter of faith. To me the timing of my finding the wallet was an indication that once again, God had answered a prayer in a very dramatic way.
The media is never going to acknowledge the existence of God (or even “a higher power”) and you will never find Him unless you actively look for Him by opening your mind to the possibility. Then there is the question of good and evil. Does God cause everything to happen or does He allow man to have free will. Mankind has a clear tendency for to take advantage of the week and a twisted propensity for cruelty. I wrote a song once called “So You Don’t Believe in the Devil”. One of the lines was “Then who stabs a child forty times?” It’s crazy to look for justice in a kingdom ruled by men. As a great rock music philosopher once said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might just get what you need.” It is rare that real Faith is just handed to you, but if you look sometimes you might just see the hand of God.