Friday, December 28, 2007

My Own Christmas Miracle

About ten years ago, I served a Mormon mission in England. When I came home, I remember feeling distinctly more British than American, and England has always held a special place in my heart.

One of my favorite English hymns (which incidentally is a William Blake poem set to music, for those of you who care) discusses the possibility that Jesus walked in Britain during his lifetime.

"And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?"

Are you wondering when this would have happened? Apparently, Egypt was only a stopping off point for baby Jesus on his way to England. I love this assertion. It's so British colonialism to assert that Jesus loved England more than other countries. It makes me want to gather up William Blake in my arms and hug him to my bosom and thank him for his presumption. It just makes me happy.

While England has a special place in my heart (and not just because Jesus walked there), it has also left its mark on my feet.Apparently, at some point, I had a bad pair of shoes. Mormon missionaries walk a lot. We also knock on a lot of doors, but that's beside the point. The shoes and the walking combined spelled trouble for my poor big toenails. As in, I'vehadthesamebigtoenailsforthelasttenyears. There, I said it.

Said toenails are certainly disgusting. About three times thicker than the average toenail, I can occasionally be found filing them down with an emery board. The color of curdled milk, I keep nail polish on them year round (which isn't hard, considering that they never grow). Slightly painful, I often sleep with them dangling off the bed.

Honestly, they are the exact same toenails that I left England with, ten years ago. They never grow. They don't fall off. They seem perfectly content to enjoy the status quo.

When I first got home I consulted with The Expert, my dad, who also happens to be a podiatrist.

"Dad," I queried, "What should I do with these toenails?" (I believe I was hoping that he would give me a pill that would cure me within ten days. Alas.)

"Well, these toenails are only attached to the nail bed at the base." He turned my toe this way and that as he peered at the loveliness that is my toenail. "Mmm. I'd take them off if I were you."

Having done transcriptions for my dad as a teenager (badly, I might add) I asked, "You mean a total matrixectomy?" (I believe I've misspelled it here just for old times sake. I've never been a perfectionist.) I was horrified.

"Yep." These things hold no horror for my father.

"Will they grow back?" I asked.

He turned the toe another way, and looked at it carelessly. "Nope. Probably not."

"Um, that's okay. I'll just keep these toenails for now." Is it vain that I would rather have had thick, discolored nasty toenails than no toenails at all?

That has been the status quo for the last ten years. But then two days after Christmas, a miracle!

I was helping my kids clean up their new board game in our living room, when I happened to glance at my right foot. Where was the thick, blood-red painted toenail that had been my constant companion for the last ten years? Gone! It had fallen off! And in its place, secretly growing beneath my discolored nasty toenail, a perfectly formed, thin, normal toenail, grown halfway up my nail bed. A Christmas Miracle!

A quick search by me and the kids revealed that the toenail had fallen off upstairs in our TV room. The best part of the miracle: absolute pain-free toenail removal. I promise that wasn't in The Expert's plan. Not even a little bit.

I tell you, it's enough to make a believer out of me about this whole Jesus Walking in England thing. My British toenail, growing a new perfect toenail, and then falling off at Christmas time? Coincidence? I think not. I'm starting to think that my toenail should be a holy relic.

If you want to see it and be blessed by the potency of its miraculousness, I'm currently storing it in a Ziploc bag. I just can't let it go. We have, after all, been together for over ten years.


Katie said...

KILLING ME! I'm dying; I'm dead! A Christmas Miracle indeed. I can't believe you actually searched for the missing toenail. This doesn't make these toes for thumbs of mine look half bad!

Julianne said...

I think I can live out the rest of my days content to read about your Christmas miracle toe-nail. I don't need to see it. Thanks for the offer, though, and the hilarious tale!

Addie said...

Oh my lovely girl, I felt like those toe nails were keeping a part of me with you. Hoorah for a Christmas Miracle. My toe nails never recovered from all that walking either but were never as disgusting as yours but still not for public viewing!!

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

I don't know whether to be grossed out or happy for you. Can I be a little bit of both?

compulsive writer said...

That is so cool--congratulations!

And a Happy New Year, too!

JustRandi said...

I was with ya and excited right up till the ziplock bag. That's just a little but creepy. And gross.

And hilarious!

Brooke S said...

I love that you found our blog!! It was so awesome to hear from you. We miss seeing you all. Infact I was thinking of you the other day when I was whishing you were here to teach me yoga for the neck (he,he) I need it bad...

I have to agree with you about comming home from England and filling a lot English. I have England on the brain all the time.. We went there in 2006 and I spend loads of time day dreaming about everything English.. Darn that Jane Austin!!! And the English countryside!

Keep in touch,

Sibri said...

What a great story Heid!!

And of course Jesus walked here in Zion!

Jen said...

I am just ecstatic in your behalf. I just had my first pedicure this weekend. My mom treated my sisters and me (A total cheapskate, I would never spend money on such froofy frivolities). Now you can enjoy the foot-size whirlpool, hot wax dip, and toenail polishing of pedicuredom without embarrassment. Unless you forget to shave, as I did. Yikes.

Leisha said...

Okay...why have you not called the evening news yet? I keep waiting to see an interview with the nail in a holy shrine upon thine mantel. I recently saw the same thing when an alcholic found the portrait of Jesus in bird droppings on his car window (nope, not kidding...) It convinced him to stop drinking, what changes have YOU made since YOUR Christmas miracle?

Heidi said...

Changes? What? I can't just make money off the thing? I have to change my ways?

Now I'm glad Rhett has thrown it away. Too much responsibility!

carl b smith and marilyn said...

Sorry to bust the xmas miracle bubble but your toenail self avulsed from some sort of trauma that occurred during the christmas season. The remaining fibrous material holding the nail to the matrix cells finally atrophied and the nail came off. If that makes your toenail fall into the realm of holy, then I should have been saving thousands of them.
I would suggest using Lamisil cream on the new nail to prevent fungal infection and soaking with warm water and vinegar to avoid gram negative infections.
I believe these precautions will help to keep the need of another xmas miracle from occurring.
Have a happy new year and I don't feel slighted that you wouldn't let me remove it when I had the chance. Your podiatris and father, DAD

Celia and Scott said...

Heidi, is it weird that thing I love most about you is your dad? Love him.

The second thing I love most about you is just you. You're hilarious.

Jill said...

I think you could probably make a fortune off of this on eBay.
Think about it.

monkie mama said...

Being a hater of all things feet (forgive me Heidi's father--I know it's a sin), I find this post truly disgusting. Having said that, if I had been drinking milk right now, it would be spraying out of my nose and destroying a perfectly good, ancient laptop! You are hilarious! I'm happy you got your christmas miracle. But if I ever visit your house, please forgive me for not paying a visit to your toenail shrine. I fear it's far too sacred for my sinner's eyes.

Veronica Mitchell said...

Oh, so funny.

My mom is a nurse, and I recognize that loving, um, brutality that comes with having a medical professional in the family.

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