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Though his father was outside getting some air at the moment that Reuben was born, Jeremiah Land insists that God told him something was wrong with his newborn son so he ran into the hospital. He returned to the delivery room to find his wife in hysterics and Dr. Nokes explaining that his son had been without air for twelve minutes. Dr. Nokes tries to dissuade Jeremiah from telling Reuben to breath, but Jeremiah persists and Reuben obeys.
Reuben takes a pause in his narrative to reflect upon this occurrence. He says that his father’s actions on the day of his birth forced him to always think of Jeremiah as a hero, a miracle worker. When Reuben refers to the word miracle, he clarifies that he does not mean it in the pedestrian sense of a beautiful sunset or springtime. He refers to events as miracles only when they truly deserve the title: something that makes people uncomfortable, or something that “contradicts the will of the earth” (p. 3).