Aug 18

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It was about me

I used to think miracles were few and far between.  Writing this Miracle Journal for the last eight months is showing me otherwise.  Miracles are the moments that make up my life.  Sometimes I’m paying attention and sometimes…well, not so much.

Today I received one of those gifts that I couldn’t have missed if I’d tried.

This week I was assigned to write a story for the newspaper about the international student population at our local boarding schools. It has been a delightful story to work on, not least because my alma mater, St. Johnsbury Academy, is one of the schools I’m profiling.

This morning I got to sit down with Jack Cummings, the head of admissions, for an interview. It ended up being so much more than that.

It would not be too much to say that this man was one of my personal rocks when I was a kid. I arrived as a dorm student my freshman year absolutely panic-stricken and full of terror.

This man – Mr. Cummings to me at the time – took me under his wing and made it seem like everything might be all right. When I wanted to bail out and go home he was the one I talked to.  When I was afraid I’d fail a big, scary social studies test (thanks Mrs. Kelley! :-)) he had a hug for me. He was always upbeat, always had a big smile, and was always ready with a warm hug. For those first few weeks and months, he was the one I looked to for support and encouragement. He was the loving father figure that I’d been missing at home.

Today I finally got to say thank you to him. It meant a lot to me to be able to say it.

Later, our conversation turned to tuition costs and I remarked that I didn’t know who my parents had sweet-talked to make it possible for me to go to the Academy.  I know they didn’t have the money and I never recall any talk of financial aid, but somehow I was there for a full four years.

Jack looked at me with the most tender expression and said, “It wasn’t about them.  It was about you.”

I truly didn’t get it at first.  So he repeated himself.

“We wanted YOU as a student here.  So we did what was necessary to make it happen.”

I was blown away by what he said. Even as I write this I’m tearing up a little. As a kid, I didn’t know that I was special. But other people did. And they did what was necessary to foster that spark in me.

It wasn’t the first miracle I ever experienced, but going to the Academy was one of the most important ones of my young life. And it influences me to this day.

Just a few of the important faces - Tom Lovett, Jack Cummings, and Bill Vinton

I am so grateful. To Jack Cummings and to so many others – Judy Kelley, Tom Lovett, Bill Vinton, Tamara Stein, Michelle Bird, Brad Ashley, Graham Newell and so many others.  These are the names that began the process of molding me into an adult.  I could not have asked for a more caring group.

Thank you to each and every one of you.  I am so grateful for your care and love.  And for the fact that each of you saw that spark in me and chose to foster it.  I would not be who and where I am today without you.


It occurs to me as I review this piece before posting that I had a similar experience in college.  When my father withdrew financial support for my education, my financial aid counselor made it possible for me to stay in school.  Amazing – different players, same story.  She made it possible for me to stay because she saw something special in me.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.leahcarey.com/themiraclejournal/2011/08/18/it-was-about-me/

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