Friday, August 21, 2015

The Influence of One

Tomorrow our parish will celebrate the life of a remarkable faith-filled woman, Melanie, who believed in the God of miracles.  Unknowingly, she has been responsible for a couple of miracles in our family.  This is the story of one.

Melanie was blessed to witness many miracles.  Honestly, I believe that all of us witness miracles daily, but far too often these miracles tend to slide by us and we consider them to be mere coincidences.  But Melanie was open to the possibilities with God, and she expected His best for those around her.  She told a few stories of miracles in my presence; I can only imagine how many more she has told to her family and closest friends, and still more that may be held only in her heart.  We, too, our own little family, have been the beneficiaries of her consistent ‘yes’ to God’s proddings.  

In 2008, we came home from visiting colleges with Kailyn.  There were many good possibilities, but nothing that seemed to be the right fit.  Amid the unpacking and getting back to the normal routine, I listened to a voice message on our home phone from Melanie.  She was asking for my help with something (right now I can’t recall what it was).  I called her right away.  I’d never received a request from Melanie before—nor since—and I was honored to be able to help.  

In the course of our conversation, I mentioned our recent college visits.  She asked if we’d considered The Catholic University of America.  Her daughter was a nursing student there at the time, and Melanie had nothing but praise for the school and the nursing program (Melanie was a nurse herself).  We were running short on time for getting all of this done—it was mid-to later November and the college Christmas break was coming quickly.  We made plans to visit almost immediately.

During our visit, there were signs that this was the place.  For example, when we entered the building that housed the nursing school, the motto, “The skills to succeed and the values to guide,” greeted us.  “This is the place,” ran through my mind.  I was hoping for a school and program that would excel in giving Kailyn a great foundation in knowledge and nursing skills while also giving her the strong  moral foundation so needed in our healthcare culture.

At the end of our visit, as we were walking to our car to head home, Kailyn said (without being asked), “I like it here.”  I broke down in tears of joy.  It confirmed what I’d been sensing for that whole visit, “This is the place.”  Most of you know the rest of the story.  Kailyn did attend CUA and graduated from their nursing program in 2012.

During her time there, she made many good friendships, learned a great deal about the human soul and relationships, and was blessed to have a nursing extern experience at Georgetown University Hospital.  This latter experience gave her some exposure to those that would later hire her to work in the PACU (recovery room) there.  Because of this opportunity, Kailyn remained in the DC area after graduation.

Then, in later 2012-early 2013, Kailyn met Dharshan through a mutual friend, also a graduate of CUA’s school of nursing.  They were married last year in September and brought new life into the world this July 13th.  Melanie is the reason that we are able to hold our newborn grand-daughter, Napalia, today.  Thank you, Melanie.  I, too, believe in the God of miracles.

This is the story of Melanie’s influence in our lives through that simple phone call in 2008.  Who knows how much more to this story lies in the future for our family, perhaps particularly for Napalia?  But most importantly, there is a deeper message here, never underestimate YOUR influence on those around you, for good or evil.  Even a simple phone call can change a life.

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