The miracle of the right big toe

The following is a blog post by author and blogger Jonathan Friesen
(August 4, 2014 It wasn’t titled, but I made one for the sake of not leaving the title field blank. I hope the author doesn’t mind.

The most marvelous thing happened today, and I alone saw it.
That was because it occurred on my right, big toe. I’ll explain.
Lately, I have felt old. Not Methuselah old, but old nonetheless. My gray-tinged beard reminds me that fifty is not too far away, my back shouts to be noticed when I bend incorrectly, arthritic hands no longer move nimbly on the guitar strings.
And then there’s the news. I read it and feel old. Wars and rumors of wars. Diseases and hatred. Somehow all that news seeks to shrivel me. I wake a grape, and after five minutes of this world I feel quite like a raisin.
I feel old.
But then a miracle happened, and it began with a noticing.
I was about to jam my right foot in a sock when I realized my dead toenail needed a clipping, so I wandered to the bathroom, found the tool, and returned to my bed to do the deed.
Now, you read correctly, I wrote dead. My right big toe is a sight. Due to injuries, I have lost its nail three times, the most recent occurrence happening two years ago. After the toe was crushed by a freezer, the nail died a slow death. I’d heard that often they don’t grow back, and so for two years, I watched this nail slowly perish from the top.
And then, today. I glanced at the bottom of the nail, and there it was. A little strip of pink visible below the sickly white.
I clipped the top, and the entire dead nail shifted, revealing more life underneath. Not just a strip, but half, no, three-fourths, no, almost the entire nail—pink and perfect.
For years, my toenail has been pulling a fast one, and beneath the appearance of death, there was new life. Silent. Secret. Unexpected.
And all this on me, the old guy, the past-his-prime guy. You might think this whole thing silly; you might think that a miracle is too strong a word for the discovery, but I tell you the resurrection of my big toenail quickened my heart. There was life left here. New life. Stuff I never imagined. All I had to do was clip the old stuff, the stuff that’s been hanging on, and life was waiting to reveal itself.
I don’t know where you are or how you’re feeling today. Maybe you’re like my kids, filled with glorious creativity and boundless energy. But I’m willing to bet that there’s a piece that feels old, old and hopeless and dead. Well, I have some good news for you; I don’t have a monopoly on silly miracles. Maybe all you need is a good clipping, a good pruning. No promises, but I’m coming to believe that life hides where you least expect it.
Take it from my right, big toe.


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