A miraculous display of strength was to be had on one Ottowa Kansas neighborhood street as a heroic man searched within himself to find the strength to lift an automobile off a trapped child, saving her life. But, as the man tried later to repeat his feat, he was unable to. It was at that point that he came to realize the true strength came not from the muscles in his arms and back, but the unbreakable fibers in his heart.
Kristen Hough, the mother of the rescued child told reporters that the incident couldn’t be explained, and appeared by all accounts to be a miracle. The man, one Nick Harris, was dropping off his 8 year old daughter when he saw a vehicle backing up roll onto an 8 year old child. The child, pinned by the vehicle was incapacitated and the driver of the car stopped immediately upon hearing the screaming that ensued.
Nick Harris, suddenly driven by a force apparently stronger than himself ran to the vehicle and lifted with all his might. All assembled were amazed when what appeared at first to be an exercise in futility actually elicited a response from the massive weight of the vehicle as it lifted off the ground. The child scrambled out and Nick let the vehicle drop, suddenly realizing just how heavy it was as the tremendous thump sounded throughout his immediate area.
This uplifting story is the latest in a long string of testaments that explain how the human spirit is stronger than any imaginable on Earth, and that those in desperate situations are able to summon tremendous energy and strength when fight or flight is surpassed with another fight to survive, and paternal/maternal instinct. The story is almost archetypal of what makes us human and worthy of progressing as a species. A man surpasses his own limited human strength and finds an almost metaphysical superpower born from compassion for seeing another in danger.
Stories have for years been told of women who are able to lift cars to save their children in a burst of superhuman strength the likes of which are impossible even for Olympic athletes. The truth of the matter is, the average person only uses a fraction of their total strength at any given time. In an emergency situation, the brain can send signals to the muscles telling them to unlock their full potential, and amazing feats are then possible. So why don’t we always constantly use our full muscle potential? We would, if it wasn’t for the fact that every time we use more than a fraction of our full muscle potential we tear and strain muscle tissue. People have been known to strain themselves unconscious or injure themselves permanently from such exercises.
But the fact that there‘s a chemical explanation doesn‘t make the story any less incredible. “I don’t really consider myself a hero,” Harris was quoted as saying afterward, lending a heartwarming humility to this story, and keeping his feet on the ground at this point may be an equally inhuman test of strength as the media response to this story has been overwhelming. And the timing couldn’t have been better as many, dejected by the broken promise of magic in their lives are reminded that Earth is not a cold spheroid rock hurtling through the unfathomable infinity of space, but rather a warm vibrant planet of life that has a glint of hope, and a spark of magic.