Attending the Miracle

Father and Son

"Attending the Miracle" is a worldwide community of people and families who live with disabling conditions. Attending the Miracle is a positive resource, a focal point, and a forum. It is a powerful way for families and professionals to find inspiration and information; a network of people seeking recognition through expression of their extraordinary world views.

Philip Ryan Olson Gonzales

November 23, 1998 - July 21, 2022

Philip Ryan in the park.

Philip Ryan Olson Gonzales, of Edina Minnesota, passed away on July 21, 2022. He was 23 years old. Our family is in deep sorrow. He was our everything. He was born on November 23, 1998 in Minneapolis Minnesota to Philip Agustin Gonzales and April Beth Olson. Philip Ryan is survived by his older sister Alanna Paloma Gonzales and his grandmother Sandra Olson (“Peeta”). He lived in a loving family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is predeceased by his grandfather Richard Olson, his grandfather Federico Gonzales, and his grandmother Anna M. Gonzales.

After graduating from Edina High School in 2017, Philip Ryan attended the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (2017-2020), with music as his main focus. He excelled in Special Olympics, winning gold medals in track and field, as well as bowling. He used a wide variety of musical styles – from Stevie Wonder to Beethoven – to communicate his inner joy in life. Philip Ryan played beautiful harmonica, drums, and brass. In high school Philip Ryan was a joyful participant in unified theater — Theater for All. Despite suffering from a rare congenital Muscular Dystrophy disease, Philip Ryan always found joy in life. In this way, he generously gave his spirit to everyone around him, making us all better people; truly a master teacher. His determination and strength emphasized the importance of life itself.

Philip Ryan was a kind, sweet, loving son. He was a devoted brother, and a friend to all. He had an easy, bright smile and a sophisticated sense of humor. Philip Ryan helped everyone around him keep a youthful vision, experiencing the world with wonder. He knew that being different takes courage.

His passions are God, family, friends, peace, making his own music, listening to Bach, and animals. Philip Ryan was a faithful, devout Catholic disciple. Psalm 47:1 describes his view of life, "Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout unto God with a voice of triumph."

"Our love lives forever."


Philip Agustin Gonzales

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Attending the Miracle

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Life may feel like a disaster sometimes; we seem stuck spiritually between the ancient times of miracles and the present, when it takes every ounce of effort to overcome adversity. We look at the time of miracles with doubt. We try to explain and rationalize miracles into an historical sense. What happened to the time when a holy man could just say the word and solve our problems? That may be our view of ancient miracles, like Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead... but is that all it took?

By Attending the Miracle, we can learn that miracles have always been a process that must involve us. Miracles are not magic tricks. Miracles take time and require great human effort, sometimes deep suffering, often a dizzying sense of confusion. In fact, there seem to be no miracles ever performed without pure human passion and hard labor. Most miracles are beyond what feels possible — certainly beyond what feels comfortable. Miracles require Profound Attention, a state of mind that we learn in the workshop titled "Light and Gravity". You must Attend the Miracle for your Miracle to become real. Immersed in doubt, fear, discomfort, pain, confusion, or ecstasy, you can still live passionately, intelligently, and generously by learning to Attend the Miracle that is in you and all around you.

"Attending the Miracle" offers a sequence of workshops, a network, and a forum for open communication that can help improve the lives of individuals and families, whatever share of worldly suffering and joy they may claim as their own.

Attending the Miracle

Attend your miracle. By attending the miracle, you are entering a world of extraordinary viewpoints; a world of developmental disability, medical disabilities, the blind and issues of blindness, vision rehabilitation, advocacy and the lives of powerful advocates. Very important social service information can be found at ARC, which is an organization that advocates on behalf of people with mental retardation. The information might include county services, case management, medicaid, tefra, assistance, welfare, child development, infant issues, crisis management, and pediatric services. Other groups work with mental illness, crisis, family sociology, cancer, cerebral palsy, behavior and behavioral health. They offer workshops, retreats, information, and support groups. The support that a family needs might include consulting, counseling, referral, resources, special education for special needs, autism, asperger syndrome (aka: aspergers or asperger's), birth defects, injury or trauma (including traumatic brain injury). The psychology of families in emergency medical situations requires early intervention and clear medical information; often psychological counseling is helpful. Physicians, doctors, nurses, and surgeons should be responsible for taking the time to consult adequately, so the family feels comforted, especially in crises that might require surgery, anesthesia, entering an operating suite, possible birth defects or natal syndromes, hydrocephalus, neurology, nerve issues, and the brain in general. Of course, this includes injury, accident, or extended hospital stays. Especially confusing is the world of the ICU, PICU, NICU, or intensive care of any kind. The nurse and nursing staff are often most directly in touch with the patient and family. Questions about medicine, drugs, treatment, how to recover, patient recovery, the operation, insurance, complimentary healing, the nature of a person's ability to heal, alternative medicine, and other issues can be addressed by different staff in the hospital. It is good for families to consider attending special conferences and workshops. It is important to understand the difference between a childrens hospital and a general care hospital. The medicine that is practiced in a children's hospital is geared specifically toward pediatric care. A child hospital deals with pediatrics, but also in most major metropolitan areas, has many resources for helping the entire family succeed and recover. The care of a sick child in a pediatric clinic by a primary care doctor is different from the care of an adult. The childrens medical facility will be child specialized. The pediatric physician with a pediatric specialty must be board certified in pediatric medicine. Finally, the stages of grief, anticipation, venting, loss, and worry are most difficult for the caregiver or caregivers. Caregiving is a very challenging task, but is ultimately driven by unconditional love. Care giving must be free of blame and guilt, but some emotional turmoil is unavoidable in such an intense life struggle. Support is critical, whether it is for child or elder care. Eldercare has many resources that are separate from child care. Involvement with health care policy, politics, and social justice is a personal decision that a family can make. Over all, it is a bittersweet journey, dealing with chronic illness.