My Miracle of Letting Go

September 2010

Teri Lucas

Teri Lucas speaks miracles, saving a life, and Let Go, Let God

Teri Lucas is a middle school teacher in Pflugerville, Texas. She is a speaker and the founder of Kardiac Lifesavers: Training Hands to Save Hearts.

On September 11, 2003, I was sitting at Unity Center of Austin for a special memorial service for those who died in the tragedy of 2001 and for other losses in our lives. I’d experienced many losses in the last few years, and life had become a crushing weight on me. My teaching job was challenging, my family seemed in constant turmoil, and I felt adrift. As I sat in the pew, I felt completely alone. Tears came to my eyes, and I silently released my despair: “I let go of it all, God. I give my life to you. Whatever I’m here to do, I surrender to your infinite wisdom and love. My life is yours, God.”

I left the service not knowing what my future would hold. I knew that God would guide my life, and I would walk in his care. The next day, I would come to realize the power of letting go.

It was a gentle, easy Friday morning in the classroom. My eighth grade students had begun their work when my pager began to vibrate. I am a volunteer emergency medical technician, and my pager indicated there was a medical emergency in our building. I told my students, “I’m going to the office to see if they need any help.” As I headed over, another teacher called to me, “Hurry, Teri, it’s in the art room.”

I had no idea what “it” was, but from the sound of her voice, I started to run. When I arrived, I found the school nurse and our police resource officer on the floor with a very young boy. They were using a bag and mask, trying to give the child air. When the nurse saw me enter, she said, “I don’t think I’m getting air in.” I grabbed her stethoscope, listened to the air in his lungs, and assured her, “You’re getting it in.”

As I prepared to start compressions, another officer entered with an automated external defibrillator. I applied the pads to the boy’s chest, and the machine analyzed his heart and recommended an electric shock. I’d been trained not to use the machine on a child, but everyone began telling me, “Push the button, Teri! Push the button!”

I asked God for guidance, and quickly the response came, “Push the button.” I cleared everyone, pushed the button and waited for the machine to tell us what to do next. Cleared to begin CPR, I began chest compressions while the nurse and officer continued ventilations. Nearing the end of the set, I noticed the boy’s eyelids start to flutter. As I finished the set, he opened his eyes and began looking around the room.

Just then the ambulance arrived and the paramedics entered the classroom. I gave them the patient report, and we left them to go stand in the hall. The nurse, officer, our principal and myself all cried with joy as we heard the child begin to cry and talk with the paramedics. We knew he was back!

I returned to my class to relieve the teacher who had covered for me. It wasn’t until later, when I saw the school nurse again, that I began to process the morning’s events. The nurse looked at me and said, “Teri, maybe this makes up for Kevin just a little bit.”

I looked at the nurse and realized how personal this was for me. Eleven years earlier, my 15-year-old son Kevin had died at his high school from cardiac arrest. He’d had a heart transplant, and although everything had previously checked out very well, he’d actually been in rejection.

As the nurse and I talked, I knew how my life had changed. This boy’s family would not go through what we had to when our Kevin died. I’d been blessed to be a part of a miracle! I gave my life to God, and he gave me the greatest gift of all: He gave me a chance to save a life and changed mine.