Plenty Good Room: Community Salon Sessions By Camylle Fleming
Updated: Jan 31
There's a Negro spiritual entitled Plenty Good Room: there's plenty good room, plenty good room in my father's kingdom, so choose your seat and sit down.
The song speaks of community and reminds me of my internal hunger for connection with the world around me. This column is my excuse to put myself in the way of humanity and the beauty within our respective wonderings. Each feature includes replies in response to invitations extended to whole households. This month we hear from a member of the Chelliah clan.
Tell me about a moment when a prayer was answered.
The most miraculous answered prayer in my life involved my then 5-year-old son, Caleb, and his bout with an incurable disease. One morning he woke up unusually sick, barely able to move, and unable to hold even a sip of water down. After tests and repeated tests for confirmation, the pediatrician apprehensively shared the sad news that he tested positive for juvenile diabetes. As if that shock wasn’t enough, she urged us to immediately take him to Children’s National Hospital, because his sugar levels were so high that he was at high risk of falling into a diabetic coma. His favorite nurse sat in a chair in the hallway and cried for him. In return, my son hugged her and told her that God would take care of him, so no need to cry. We rushed him to the ER, where they took more tests, only to confirm the diagnosis. We sat there for what seemed so long, while we waited for a room to open so that he could be admitted overnight for treatment and observation. All this time, my wife and I continued to pray for a miracle: that the God who defeated death by giving His Son would now defeat this incurable disease and heal my son.
The wait for a room was longer than expected, so they would continue to re-take tests while we waited in the ER room. Strangely (and miraculously), every time they took a test, the results were getting better and better. The attendants couldn’t explain it but were happy to see it. We knew God was working. Within a few hours late that night, his status went from critical, to stable… to perfectly normal! The ER took more tests to confirm. By the end of the night, the physician, with a smile and a look of astonishment on her face, told us, “I’ve never seen anything like this before. And I can’t explain what happened. But there’s no trace of diabetes in your son. Or that it was ever there, even though our test records show otherwise. Regardless, I’m so happy to tell you that you can go home! Even if we wanted to keep him, we have no current medical evidence to do so.” With hearts full of joy, and lips full of praise, my wife and I couldn’t contain our excitement! We told her, while there was no medical explanation for the unexpected turn of events, we knew the heavenly explanation that saved our son. God had answered our prayers, in a miraculous way. And whether we realize it or not, I believe He continues to do so every day.
When's the last time you saw God?
I feel like I see God every day. Whether in my family, in our community or in answered prayers. But recently I saw Him powerfully revealed in an unexpected moment of all things. A moment of grief and loss. A neighbor, and an old childhood classmate, with 3 young boys who are growing up with my own kids, lost her unexpected battle with breast cancer. It was less than a year from diagnosis to death. And no treatment tried had an effect. Yet, her faith in God only grew stronger by the day. While I’m certain there were tearful nights alone in her room, it was clear her soul had anchored in a Rock that is Christ that couldn’t move. And then at the funeral, her husband, another childhood friend of mine, gave the most poignant and moving family response I’ve ever heard. Despite what seemed to be unanswered prayers to save her life, this couple’s faith held them firm, with more than a hope, but an expectation, a certainty, that their life together was only on pause, and would soon resume for eternity. Even in the midst of so great a loss, you saw God with them.