A miracle of the heart - Word&Way

A miracle of the heart

Julie Brock-Garcia was disappointed when her Make-A-Wish Foundation appeal was rebuffed.

She had wanted to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger. But when the wish reached the California governor’s office, the response was a polite “sorry but he’s too busy.”

webbforwebThe Make-A-Wish Foundation makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening diseases. A year and a half earlier, the Kansas City youngster had come down with a disease affecting her heart and lungs, according to an Associated Press story.

The family received a lot of prayer and other kinds of support from family and friends and people in the community. Classmates at St. Agnes Catholic Grade School in Roeland Park prayed but they also held a fundraiser to send Julie to Lourdes, France, in search of a miracle. In May 2008, she and her family made the trip to the site of Our Lady of Lourdes shrine.

Julie did not receive the miraculous cure of her disease, but she returned home healthy enough to not need her oxygen tank or her wheelchair.

“Instead of healing her heart,” her mother, Pam, said, “He opened it.”

Julie began noticing things most children didn’t, like poverty, homelessness and hunger. One night, while the family sat at a red stoplight, Julie noticed a homeless man holding a sign: “Hungry. Need food.” Julie and her younger brother, Peter Jr., begged their mother to let them share the cookies they had just purchased. They watched the man gratefully accept and eat the chocolate chip and snicker doodle cookies.

Only a few weeks later, Julie had her mom phone the Make-A-Wish Foundation to change her wish. Pam Garcia asked a couple of questions: Could the wish be a donation to a food pantry? And could they wait until Julie’s daddy came home from Iraq so he could witness the presentation?

It was the first time the Make-A-Wish folks had received a request like that. They agreed and located a food pantry near where Julie and Peter had helped the homeless man. It was called Guardian Angels and was in the same parish that Peter Sr. had attended as a boy. Accompanied by the Garcias, the Foundation presented a check for $5,000 to the food pantry.

Subsequently, Gov. Schwarzenegger heard the touching story, reconsidered Julie’s first request and invited her to California to meet him.

Some miracles come in the form of sudden physical healing. But miracles are more likely to be evidenced in a heart made more sensitive and compassionate toward others — literally a miracle of the heart.