Anniversary: Miracle on Potter Street

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They all heard the thud. Moans followed. Chrissy Kind, a long-time supporter of The Simple Way, had gone upstairs after “the worst headache of her life” struck.

The plaintive sound was unusual; Chrissy was known as an energetic pillar of The Simple Way’s support team. “It’s a very special place for me,” she says, “It just embodies what the gospel should be. It’s so clear who Jesus cares about, and we need to stand up and make space for people whose voices are ignored. The Simple Way is a story of beauty out of ashes. It’s the gospel. God takes a little bit of what we have to offer and returns it a hundred fold.” She says earnestly, “We all give our little bit, and God returns it sevenfold.”

In the midst of the moaning, Caz, Mike Diaz, Chrissy’s sister, Valerie, and brother-in-law Andy  looked at each other awkwardly, uncertain of what to do. Valerie, Andy, and Chrissy had gathered at The Simple Way to do a site visit on behalf of the Patricia Kind Family Foundation. Chrissy’s mother, Patricia Kind, had always encouraged her children to visit and emotionally support the organizations they gave to financially. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Chrissy had come to hear from The Simple Way staff. Unbeknownst to them, though, she was lying on the bathroom floor, a burst brain aneurysm pushing her out of consciousness.

Chrissy has few recollections of the event. “I remember sitting down, and that’s pretty much it. But God had His hand on me, and He had it happen at a time when all the people I knew and loved were close by and praying.”

Eventually, Valerie went to look for her sister. Although the door was locked, Chrissy somehow managed to open it. Valerie looked into the bathroom and saw her sister passed out on the floor. Immediately, she sprang into action and called for help. Within minutes, an ambulance and Chrissy’s other sister, Laura, a nurse practitioner who “just happened” to be  working around the corner in Kensington at the Catholic Worker Free Health Clinic, arrived on the scene. The medics quickly intubated Chrissy, ensuring that her brain never lost oxygen.

As she left, the stunned staff team immediately started praying for protection, healing, and life as they awaited updates. Their prayers commingled with those of Chrissy’s church, Epiphany Fellowship Philadelphia, which was holding a prayer meeting that night. The leader of the prayer meeting knew Chrissy; she had taken care of his kids before, they had been on retreats together. He started weeping as he led the meeting, and the church poured out supplication for Chrissy.

It’s been exactly one year since that whirlwind event. Miraculously, Chrissy shows no lasting physical effects from the aneurysm, apart from difficulty remembering names and details. “That could just be because I’m sixty-two years old and kinda spacey to begin with,” Chrissy suggests.

She chalks up the extraordinary healing to the prayers of so many people and to God’s mercy. “I got out of rehab really quickly and had a few follow-up appointments. The doctors wanted to bottle whatever it was that had healed me; but it was really just Jesus.” She continues soberly, “God decided that he wasn’t taking me home yet. At the same time, I know others younger than me who have died. In God’s mercy and wisdom He makes these decisions. It made me think that God must still have something for me.”

Chrissy believes that a big part of that “something” means sharing with  people experiencing material poverty. “I grew up with educated parents, wealth, white privilege. It’s nothing I earned or merited. My dad always said that we had to do what we could to help others.” She chuckled and shared one of her favorite quotes. “He always used to say ‘don’t take credit for a home run when you were born on third base.’”

At The Simple Way, we get to see home runs, miracles, and sevenfold return in Kensington. While not every day features a miracle like the one we got to experience with Chrissy, each one does feature the miracle to which Chrissy alludes: God’s ability to weave Shalom out of the gifts that diverse people bring. We’re so thankful that God returned Chrissy to us, and are thrilled to celebrate God’s faithfulness one year after it occured. Indeed, God still has something for us to do, and we are honored to faithfully follow.