When we are strong, healthy and prosperous

How he wanted to be cured! In spite of the numbing, obviously hopeless treatment, month after month and year after year — suddenly and finally to be cured! To have his back healed again, to straighten himself up, walk with a firm tread, be a fine figure of a man! “Hello, Ludmila Afanasyevna! I’m all right now!”

They all longed to find some miracle doctor, or some medicine the doctors here didn’t know about. Whether they admitted as much or denied it, they all without exception in the depths of their hearts believed there was a doctor, or a herbalist, or some old witch of a woman somewhere, whom you only had to find and get that medicine from to be saved.

No, it wasn’t possible, it just wasn’t possible that their lives were already doomed.

However much we laugh at miracles when we are strong, healthy and prosperous, if life becomes so hedged and cramped that only a miracle can save us, then we clutch at this unique, exceptional miracle and believe in it!

from Alexander Solzenitsyn’s Cancer Ward