In sixteenth century Europe, there was an assumption that all swans were white. It was a safe theory since no other variety had ever been seen. However, in 1697, all that changed when a Dutch explorer discovered the first black swan in Australia. People had to alter their perspective on the birds and soon the phrase "Black Swan Event" was used to describe the unpredicted, highly improbable, and unforeseen. Describing life-changing experiences with a major impact, the "Black Swan Event" became a symbol of the impossible...
I never saw this coming. The phone call that could change my life forever echoed though my mind. An acquaintance had delivered the message that my best friend, Sandi, was seriously ill. Details were vague but apparently it started with complications due to bronchitis. No other information was available-not even a name to contact. Bewildered, my gaze momentarily fell on the graceful goldfish that wandered across the screen of my laptop but I barely noticed. My thoughts were several hours away, even though I didn't know where. Someone was working to save her life and my world rocked.
Slipping to the floor, sobs filled my silent home as I cried out to the Lord. "Oh God, please help." Grief flooded over me like a runaway train, roaring at breakneck speed. With a quiver, I curled into the fetal position. "We need you, Lord," was all I could whisper.
Sandi and I had met several years ago when we ended up cleaning toilets together in an orphanage while on a mission trip. We became fast friends after discovering we were from the same state and lived only a few hours apart. What started in the dusty sands of Mexico had forged into a solid, lifelong friendship. Even though we didn't see each other often, it was one of those special relationships that endured the test of time. We'd been through a lot together: she was "my person"-and I was hers.
The bizarre chain of events started with a call from California. Sandi's church had emailed all over the world in an effort to get as many prayers going as possible. A man that received the email relayed the information to Minnesota, location of the home office for the organization that had sponsored us in Mexico. A woman from there called a local mutual friend, who passed it on to me.
Unfortunately, no other details were known- other than an urgent call to prayer. No one could tell me where she was and I didn't know any family members. I was literally at a loss. My reckless emotional side wanted to jump in the car and just start driving. Fortunately, my rational self prevailed as I started to clear the fog from my brain. Options ran through my head and were quickly dismissed as either impractical or impossible.
In a moment of clarity, I sheepishly turned to the Lord (where I should have started in the first place).
"Father, I need your guidance. Please show me what to do, which way to turn. I beg of you to spare Sandi. Heal her even now with Your mighty power. And give me direction. Amen."
Immediately, His calming presence came over me. The goldfish flittering on the screensaver caught my eye-and the answer came. Getting on the Internet, I got the number of every hospital in the area where Sandi lived. Several interminable phone calls later, I was actually connected to her mother in the ICU waiting area.
The news was not good: Sandi was in critical condition, on a ventilator, and not expected to live. She had gone septic as a result of the bronchitis and infection was proving to be too much for her weakened condition.
There wasn't time for me to get there and I resigned myself to sitting at home, waiting, and praying...
This story is based on an actual "Black Swan Event" involving my best friend. The end result? After 21 days on a respirator, and many setbacks, including a stroke, Sandi went on to make a full recovery. She has a few residual affects but for the most part, the Lord spared her for the work she has yet to do. She went on to finish college, pursue her dream of becoming a teacher, and was recently married. Sandi has had countless opportunities to share how she turned her "Black Swan" into pure white.
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