A Fresh Start

By Rev. Carolyn Crane

Unity Churches have very few rituals. One of them, the Burning Bowl Ceremony, takes place on New Year's Eve. Within a context of prayer and meditation, we identify the hurts, sorrows or pain from the previous year, write these down on a slip of paper and then burn the slips of paper in a large bowl. We file up to the "Burning Bowl" with a reverent focus, softly singing songs about releasing, letting go, starting fresh and trusting God. Just as the service finished that Sunday, New Year's Eve, December 31, 2000, I had a stroke - a hemorrhage in the left side of my brain, the part that controls speech. I was about to have a fresh start.

I don't remember much about the first few days, but on the third day I began to be more aware of things. At first I could not speak at all and had difficulty understanding what was taking place around me. On Wednesday evening, the fourth day, I was placed in a chair and someone turned on the TV. Then the seriousness of the situation dawned upon me. I vaguely remember seeing the same "closed-caption" words over and over, such as "to", "be," etc. When I tried to read them, I couldn't. Nor could I understand what the people were saying! The words looked like Greek to me. It seemed that they were flashing by very quickly and I became frightened.

My daughter, Rev. Christy Cox, who is also an ordained Unity minister, kept telling me that I would be able to speak again in a few weeks when the swelling in my brain receded. Actually, that was not the prognosis, but her words helped me believe that I would be healed. Christy understood the power of belief and knew that it was essential for me to accept healing as a foregone conclusion. Touched by the power of Christy's belief, I could keep reminding myself that healing was certain, I just didn't know when.

We are so influenced by others. It is especially important to have positive energy around you when you are in a life or death situation. Being positive in what we say and think, we could be holding the key to another person's healing. I don't believe Christy had any idea at the time how powerful she was in my healing. When I told her later, she was surprised. Yet she was the catalyst that inspired me. I'll never know if the outcome would have been the same without her, but that was God's way of working His miracle. I was really blessed.

After recognizing my speech problem more fully, I became determined to talk. A printed poem, "You Are Never Alone," was on my breakfast tray on Thursday morning. Even though I couldn't speak or read, I could think words. I don't know if doctors realize that or not...that the mind works even when other faculties do not. I remember thinking, "Why wait six weeks? I am going to work with this now until I can at least say a few letters." I knew that I KNEW this stuff, but couldn't consciously pull it up. At the same time, they gave me an erasable slate and pencil. I "studied" that poem until I recognized an "A". I kept trying to print an "A" on my slate. It looked awful, but I finally got it. Then, I tried the other letters. Some I got - some I didn't. At the same time, I was trying to say each letter out loud. Somehow I knew I had to say it aloud. It didn't matter what I could say in my head. I made some awfully weird sounds at first! When I had mastered most of the letters, I moved on to words. Simple words began to make sense. Finally, I could say almost the entire title of the poem, "You Are Never Alone," except for the word, "Never."

How quickly my mind opened up after I mastered that! Here's another miracle. By night I was talking! Not yet perfectly, and I couldn't decipher everything, but by the next day I was able to converse. I had begun by trying to say letters, moved to words, then finally, after some hours, said my first sentence aloud. I will always remember it: "Yes, God is ever with you."

When the speech therapist came the next day, she said she couldn't believe it. All I could say the day before was "Oh." Now I was "talking up a blue streak." That really startled the doctors and nurses. I was able to answer all of their questions and identify all of the therapist's pictures. She never came back. It had not been expected that I would speak for some time, and then only with the help of a professional (and maybe never without impediment.) When I was released a week after the stroke, I had no physical impairment and could speak perfectly. During my hospital stay, medical people kept coming to see my chart and read the comments of the doctors and nurses. They were all saying, "It's a Miracle!"

Because I'd had a "bleed" in the speech part of my brain, considered to be among the most serious of strokes, I was blessed with the ministrations of several doctors. My personal physician, who really thought I would not live, told me later that I made him "smile inside" every time he saw me. A brain surgeon, who fortunately did not have to do surgery but was so very sweet, was the most verbal about "the miracle". And, a neurologist who was, himself, in a wheelchair was rather reserved, but still felt led to say how "wonderfully well I was doing…Absolutely excellent!" When I went to see him for a follow up examination, he decided not to do another MRI because I was obviously healed.

At first I was "out of it" a lot, which seemed to be somewhat of a gift. Worrying is not conducive to healing. I know all things we experience are creations of our own consciousness - our thinking processes. The benefit of 25 years in metaphysical ministry and living the teachings to the best of my ability proved its worth again! God had placed it in my mind to work with the problem in that manner and I LISTENED to His instruction. At that point I don't believe it occurred to me that I couldn't do it. I just thought it would take a lot longer. The only thing I "heard" was that I would get better! They had informed my family, "She may only get a certain percentage of speech back, if any." Thankfully, I didn't hear that part and my family wisely didn't impart it to me. Placing our faith in verdicts and diagnoses, which are often about lack and limitation instead of God's healing power, is harmful to our cause. How much better to invoke and believe in the Power and Presence of God who finds everything to be possible.

Miracles are a product of spiritual law and can not be explained by the laws of the physical world. I know that the Love of God, the prayers of others and my own calm, quiet trust and consciousness of healing blessed me immeasurably. When I left the hospital on January 8th, I was fully mobile and could speak perfectly. And everyone agrees- "It's a Miracle".

This is way too long. But you know what they say...scratch a preacher and she'll bleed a sermon.

Carolyn Crane is the founder and minister for 27 years of Unity Christ Church in Mobile, Alabama. You can reach Carolyn at Her personal web site is


There is a private pathway
on which only we can walk,
There is a lonely valley
where we alone can talk
to our Maker and our Savior,
the God above so high,
who designs our pathway and
the bed on which we lie.
Hold fast to God, Your Master,
hold His hand, He'll show the way,
for the pathway is wide open,
to follow every day.
Do not fear the lonely journey,
for you are not alone,
the center of your being
belongs to you and God alone.
Rejoice when you have the courage
to take that lonely stand.
Yes, God is ever with you,
just reach out and take His hand.

- Edna Louise Gilbert

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