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Comin' in on a wing and a prayer
Comin' in on a wing and a prayer
Though there's one motor gone
We can still carry on
Comin' in on a wing and a prayer.

-Adamson and McHugh, WWII patriotic song

May 27, 2013                        

We are often asked to write about what happened after we finished The Miracle Chase. The short version is that the three of us ended up in different parts of the country with very different lives and yet, we still are "chasing" around together. Or perhaps we should say, miracles are chasing us around as we speak to different groups and think about the next steps in this miracle journey. While we each have faced different challenges in our own lives, the meaningfulness of Memorial Day forces us to contemplate the bravery and sacrifices of so many who defend our country and the challenges faced by family, friends and survivors. This month Meb shares her thoughts and experiences about love and loss.

With thanks for all who are called to serve and keep us safe.

Joan, Katie and Meb 

          It's been a rough five+ years. In The Miracle Chase, I write about my dissolving marriage and the hope I feel about the future and the trust I have that, as Julian of Norwich says, "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well." At the time, I was also fearful and uncertain - to be more accurate, I was scared out of my mind, incredibly sad, lonely, angry, and feeling like God had given me more than I could handle. Without sounding too much like a country western song, then my brother died, my mother died, and my dog died.

          Divorce means you have to move on.  And usually, you have to move out. So, I sold the family home and moved into a mother-in-law apartment with my son who was finishing high school. I got a mutt puppy for me and a brother puppy for Daniel to replace our beloved Maddox. We promptly got evicted from the apartment when they got too big for the landlord. I had a hysterectomy and struggled to get  back in to the work force. I bought a condo so no one could evict us and then lost money in the real estate crash. Speaking of crashes, there were several car crashes, which were scary and expensive. I moved Elizabeth back to the Bay Area and twice again before finally helping her find a decent place to live. Just when things seemed to get calmer, I had an emergency appendectomy. And right when I was changing jobs a few months ago, my Dad got very sick and quickly passed away.

          Although there also have been many gifts along the way, as I write this I have an overwhelming feeling of loss unlike all the  others. I was just getting to know my Dad. I've moved pretty fast to stay ahead of it, but I think Loss may have finally caught up with me...which brings me to Memorial Day.

          My Dad was a Wold War II Veteran who enlisted in the Army Air Corps at seventeen. A big farm kid, he was supposed to go with his unit to the front in Europe, but got mumps on the troop train and was put in the hospital. Told he would never have children, when he got well, he was sent with another unit to the Alaskan Islands to wait for the Japanese invasion that never came. He returned from the war, fell in love with geology and my mother and had five kids. At the end of his life, he looked around at his children and grandchildren gathered near his bed, smiled and said, "I think I did OK."

          You did OK Dad. You did great. I can only hope that I will be as certain when my time comes.

          There have been lots of lessons for me over these last few years about permanence and impermanence. You think you will love and be loved forever, but it doesn't always work out that way. When your children are little, you think they won't ever give you a moment's peace; you can't imagine the young adults who can't make the family get together because of work. You think doing a really good job will ensure that you keep it, but many times it doesn't.

          Last weekend, my brothers and I started the process of going through our childhood home to get it ready to sell and to take the things we valued. It's a very strange feeling to be the oldest person in the family. I don't feel wiser, just older. While I sorted through not just my parents' belongings, but my mother's part of my grandparents' belongings, I had a powerful sense that I needed to start giving my stuff away right now. So much of what my parents had was special because of the memories we children associated with my parents, the house and its contents. But, at the end, all Dad cared about was that we were there to say "I Love You" and "Good Bye."

          The valuable things my parents left me are intangible. One thing about my father's generation, (they say it was the Greatest Generation ) is their motivation, as Tom Brokaw writes, to do the "right thing." My parents had a way of working hard at things and staying the course, hoping for the best. I think about my Dad on that troop train at seventeen. He thought it was a miracle he was sent to Alaska and never doubted that he would be a father. He had a kind of certainty, no doubt based in his deep faith that God was watching over him. I'd like to think I inherited some of this kind of faith, though, at times, I confess, I have conversations with God to please stop watching and start intervening.

          This Memorial Day, I want to honor my Dad in a special way. I've decided to call my troops together (virtually) and share five lessons my parents taught me through the way they lived their lives. Here's the List:
          1) Have Faith: God has a Plan and is there when you need Him.
          2) Do the Right Thing.
          3) Love Your Family.
          4) Care More About Experiences Than Stuff.
          5) Keep Calm and Carry On. Hope for the Best. (This one comes from the British side of the family.)

          Anyone can be deeply saddened by all the tragedies and hardships in this world. Maybe it's true that as my then six-year-old daughter said, "Life is hard so you appreciate heaven." I am humbled by how transitory life is. Sometimes, life will push you over, knock you down. What matters is truly the Now of how we carry on and live well anyway, and then, of course, if you believe, what happens at the end. I think about my Dad and I know he is with God. I imagine him turning in his hospital bed toward the bright white light from the other side. He waves to my impatient Mother and whispers, "Fran, I'm coming! I'm coming in on a wing and a prayer."  (Meb)


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Upcoming Events

Santa Clara University
Alumni Association
Santa Clara, CA
Presentation and Discussion
Reunion Weekend
Saturday, October 12, 2013
10 am to noon

Thank you to the Santa Clara
University Alumni Association

 and the Council of Women
of Boston College
We love chasing miracles with
you. The groups in Chevy Chase, MD, 
Santa Clara, SF, LA, Pittsburgh and
Chicago have been fantastic and
we look forward to sharing
additional events with you.

Facetime and Skype are
wonderful venues for sharing
conversation and connecting
over miracles. Thank you to the
wonderful women in the New York
and Las Vegas book clubs who
have invited us into their homes
and their lives. It has transformed
and rewarded all of us.
Please let us know if you
would like us to virtually visit
your book group or club!

We have been enjoying scheduling
events surrounding the release of
the paperback version of
The Miracle Chase.
If you have any suggestions for
venues where we can continue
the miracle discussion, please
contact us.

Thank you to the Portland Book Review

and the PrayersWork blog

for featuring The Miracle Chase
with such inspirational reviews.

Thank you to Christ Episcopal Church
in Denver and the public libraries
in East Hampton, NY, Naperville, IL
and Simsbury, CT for liking
The Miracle Chase on
Facebook and recommending it to
readers and book clubs.

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Joan, Katie and Meb
co-authors of The Miracle Chase
It's About Survival
"Only faith helps us respond to our challenges in a way that makes the world better, not less so." The Miracle Chase