What do you define as a miracle? Think about it for a moment. We all have come image of miraculous occurrences in our lives, whether we believe they are divinely inspired or pure coincidence, we have some idea of what constitutes a miracle. For years I thought miracles were bunk. Sincerely, I believed it was people putting their own spin on events in their lives, making the ordinary seem extraordinary, in some cases I thought they were just blatantly imagined. As I get older and travel more, as I spend more time with people, I find that I no longer believe in coincidence. Miracles no longer seem far fetched, though I have also learned that they often occur in the most unsuspected places, often in the form of people, those wonderful blessings in our lives we see every day and so often pass by.
Margaret Blalock is a miracle. Her presence on this world, her strength, her faith and her ability to smile in the midst of darkness are testaments to a the nature of love in the universe. I met Margaret through Connection #30, Magical Mary Ann Lilly, who told me I absolutely had to sit with her and hear her story. It took a little doing, and for a moment seemed as though the world just didn't want us to meet, but the more that was thrown in our way, the more determined I became to meet this person.
Margaret has a way about her, an energy, that is hard to describe. There is a calm about her, an ease that is not immune to difficulty, not invincible from tragedy, yet knows that these things shall pass and can see joy in the world even when it is hard. There is a softness to her voice and the way she speaks, like the water lapping against the shores of Charleston on calm days, when the winds of the sea are at best a breeze and the sun is warm and gentle. She is at peace.
After some small talk she shows her generosity. Margaret tells me her story. It is nothing short of incredible and further proof that Margaret Blalock is a miracle and that this conversation with her is a true blessing. You all know by now that I won't share the details of these treasures that have been entrusted to me. They are not mine to share. Margaret's story is one of true sadness, of tragedy and descent followed by a beautiful ascension and triumph. As a young boy I loved superheroes, looked up to them and wanted nothing more than to be them. After a few moments of talking with her, Margaret becomes one of my favorite superheroes. She triumphed over odds that should have crushed her, but trust me, you cannot crush Margaret Blalock.
We talk about appreciating lives and the bodies we are given, about how we are so eager to abuse them when we are younger. With any luck, we outgrow that impulse and live better lives. I tell her about my newfound focus on my health, about how I am now studying and learning ways where I can improve not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. She tells me about how they are all connected, about how her ordeals and the triumphs of her life have led to her balance now, to her knowledge and the mission she has to teach others about what she has learned. THat might be what I find most wonderful about her, this push to teach others about the things that saved her life, that made her the person I am sitting next to today. So often we find something and we hold onto it, as though sharing that knowledge would make it go away. Not this woman, she wants you to know.
We talk about appreciating life, about loving every moment and finding value in every single day. I tell her about how I have strived to build a mindset based in positivity and in joy where once I was negative and angry. We sit on chairs in the sun, basking in a warm October and this all seems to align. This conversation needed to happen today, not before and not after. Looking at Margaret, at that smile that is so honest, so true, and knowing that she is enjoying her time here as much as I am. If this is to be our last conversation on this Earth, then it will be well worth it.
Our time passes too quickly, as I have tragically grown accustomed to during this project. We take a moment and hug as we prepare to leave and go about our day. On my way across the bridge and over the Cooper RIver, I say a small prayer that I will get more time with Margaret Blalock, that we will share more stories, more honest smiles and more time worth the spending.
Favorite Dinosaur: Pterodactyl
Why: Because they could fly.