Sienna (Pt 1) – I’m A Miracle

In the words of Gospel singer Anthony Brown, “I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking, moving miracle. People said I’d never, they said I’d never ever, but stop, look, watch…”.

Sometimes little things happen, or there’s something minor that I do that makes me take a step back and think about far I’ve come in life. Things most people wouldn’t give a second thought about, things that seem trivial because it’s so normal to them.

One Saturday morning, I decided to get up early and head to the countryside near where I live for a walk before logging on to my church’s livestream. I pulled into the car park and was greeted with signs warning me to watch out for runners. I headed out for my walk, with no runners in sight, and started to see someone who was obviously part of the volunteer team who would show runners where to go. As I walked towards him, I said good morning and asked him what time the race was starting. He told me it was about to start any minute. I made a joke about being swallowed up by the runners, told him to have a good day and carried on with my walk.

Sounds like nothing but a boring story, right? But for me, as I walked away, I couldn’t help but hum Anthony’s tune…I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking, moving miracle. You see, growing up, I was shy. Not just quiet, and actually, not just shy either. Let me paint a picture for you because it’s not always easy to understand.

Imagine someone you know well, someone you’ve known for years and have no issues with at all, comes up to you to have a conversation and all you can muster is a smile and, if it’s a good day, a quiet “hi”. Your mind is blank, your heart is racing, you start getting hot and clammy. All because someone wants to speak to you. And the devastating thing about it; you want to speak to them too, but your brain and your body don’t let you. The person tries to ask you questions and engage, but you can barely answer them. You’re near silent. You try and force yourself to speak, to find a question to ask in return, but you can’t. Your brain is like white noise screaming at you to get out of there. And because you know how awkward and weird you’re being, your brain starts telling you that no one would actually want to be around you. With that thought, now your heart starts racing even faster, you’re even hotter, your mouth is dry, you are basically paralysed with fear.

Irrational, I know, but that was me at least up to the age of about 15. There was no more obvious place that this happened to me than at my church. Surrounded by people who I’ve known since I was born. People I saw every single week and who genuinely just wanted to connect. And that was me, every single week. So, if that was my reaction talking to people I knew and wanted to talk to, clearly, growing up I didn’t speak at all to anyone I didn’t know. The idea of making a phone call to book an appointment (not everything was online back then!) or stopping someone in a shop to ask where I can find something, was…well it was never an idea at all. I simply wouldn’t have ever considered something like that. I would do whatever I could to avoid things like that. Yes, even wandering around a shop for an hour until I found the thing (usually on the aisle I happened to be at from the start!).

So here I was, this crisp, Saturday morning and without batting an eyelid, I asked a stranger a question. Heart rate was normal. Breathing was normal. I even had the presence of mind to crack a joke (I’m pretty funny to be fair!). A completely different person. A miracle. How did I get to this point? Come explore with me, because sometimes I really have to marvel at my journey.