The humble soul is blessed. The Lord loves her.
St. Silouan of Mt. Athos
There are people who challenge the generally accepted stereotypes and prove by their entire lives that nothing is impossible for human beings.
Diana Dzhishiashvili appeared in our life as if by chance: I met her mother Tamara at the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Tbilisi. A tragedy brought her there: after graduating from school her very beautiful and clever daughter fell off a cliff and fractured her spine. At that time she was in the hospital after an operation in a very serious condition.
Having come to visit Diana at hospital, I saw a young girl, with a tracheostomy and numerous tubes entering her body… There was pain in her dark brown eyes. Though she had undergone an operation, that was all the doctors could do for her. Broken-hearted, her parents did their best to relieve their daughter’s sufferings and kept vigil at her bedside day and night.
But the Lord didn’t abandon their family. On Diana’s birthday, when her parents had remained absolutely penniless but so wanted to bring some happiness to their seriously ill daughter, her despondent father went out of the hospital, and while walking along the street he found 100 dollars. He used the God-sent money to buy a golden cross for Diana, and since then she has never taken it off.
Another time, when Diana was already out of hospital, she received help from one man from their town. And one day on their way home Diana and her father found a medallion with an image of the Theotokos.
“I believed that the Lord had sent me that image of the Mother of God and that everything would be well with me from that day on,” Diana related.
During one of my visits Diana asked:
“Why are you childless? May I become your daughter?”
Of course, I agreed. After sixteen years together my husband and I had no children and we didn’t hope that the Lord would send us a baby. We got together all the necessary documents required for adoption and were going to take a child from an orphanage, but there was no progress with that. In fact, there are very few parentless children in Georgia and couples wishing to adopt a child have to wait their turn for many years. After a number of visits to orphanages we lost hope and made no more attempts.
After a time I began to feel sick and was unable to visit Diana anymore. So my husband would do that for me, every time extracting fruit juice with an outdated juicer before going to her.
Meanwhile, I was getting ever worse. After seeing many doctors who couldn’t find the reason for my sickness, I finally took a pregnancy test, and the result was positive! The doctors couldn’t believe it and decided to double-check, and a scan confirmed that I was pregnant. After sixteen years of waiting, it was a true miracle!
Fearing for my health, the doctors prescribed me bed rest. Meanwhile, Diana was soon discharged and came back home with her parents.
Nine month later I gave birth to our baby. Once in a while Diana and I would talk over the phone and her mother would come to our town, staying with us. All that time I had a gut feeling that we had had a child precisely through Diana’s prayers. And I felt I must go and see her with my son. Soon such an opportunity presented itself and we managed to visit Diana. When I asked the young lady whether the Lord had sent us the baby through her prayers, she answered:
“Yes, I kept asking the Most Holy Theotokos and was sure that She would send you a baby. While I knew that your husband wanted a girl, I felt you would have a boy because the All-Pure Virgin had a Boy too.”
The Lord answered the prayers of a girl who lay in chronic, unbearable pain and could barely speak, while offering up petitions for others even in that state! That is Diana’s most striking attribute: even in the worst of circumstances she worries and is concerned not only about herself. (My mother-in-law every day implored God to give us a baby as well).
By her example and humility, Diana supported her parents too. Once, when she needed another operation, they went to a hospital in Kutaisi, where she was denied medical treatment and they had to travel back home. Hearing that, I asked worriedly:
“And how is Diana now?”
“You don’t know Diana! She tried to cheer us up. She said, ‘Don’t worry, mom. Never mind. If that’s the case, let’s go back home.’” Her mother replied.
The years flew by. Our son grew up, and Diana with her parents moved to a village closer to the town. We kept in touch on the phone with Diana, and she almost never spoke of herself, instead starting every talk with this question:
“How is Volodechka [a diminutive and affectionate form of the name Vladimir.—Trans.]? How are you both?”
The priest who had baptized Diana in her infancy lived in that village. They had difficulty completing a new church and the old one was too small. So they received the blessing to celebrate in a specially designated room at Diana’s home. The priest, who had gone through the Afghan War and had seen much in his lifetime, the father of a large family who was living a difficult life, would often tell Diana’s mother:
“Diana’s example gives us strength to go on!”
Indeed, Diana, who never complains and is used to accepting all sorrows as if from the hands of God and trying not to lose hope, has always been and still remains for us who know her a remarkable example of humility, patience and love of Christ.
Diana managed to develop computer skills and enter a college in Tbilisi. The college principal placed Diana in a specially designated room and provided her with all the necessary facilities. She graduated with honors from the college, becoming an IT specialist.
On returning home after her studies, Diana providentially met a man who became her husband. Now he carries his young wife in his arms both in a literal and a figurative sense. It is said that marriages are made in heaven. If it is so, then this man was truly sent to Diana by heaven. Once Diana said: “If I were to go through the same trials once again to meet him, I would gladly agree!”
And now they have reached new heights together. On moving to Tbilisi Diana took up fencing, taking part in numerous European and world championships and winning three bronze medals for Georgia. Her husband has accompanied her everywhere, supporting her physically and morally.
Besides, Diana, who before her injury had taken part in amateur drama, began to act on the stage of the Gori Theater and in plays of the famous Kote Marjanishvili Theater in Tbilisi. For eight months she took part in the “Reproductive Health of Women with Disabilities” project, worked at the Children’s Parasport Association, etc…
Last August Diana became a mother, proving for the umpteenth time that nothing is impossible for human beings.
Diana Dzhishiashvili. Photo by Nino Baidauri When she was taken to a maternity hospital, the staff couldn’t understand that she was unable to get out of her wheelchair; when they understood, they could hardly believe that a woman with such a diagnosis had managed to bear a child full-term because earlier it had been considered impossible. But The things which are impossible with men are possible with God (Lk. 18:27). God rewarded the young family for their great patience and true, sacrificial Christian love for each other.
“True, the last months of pregnancy were really hard, but I am used to being patient,” Diana related.
The merciful Lord, seeing how much she had once worried about us, worked a miracle and blessed her with the joy of motherhood. They named their son in honor of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called, who was the first to bring Christianity to ancient Iberia.
At present Diana works at the Parliament with people with disabilities. The couple is getting ready to move into a new apartment while paying off the mortgage.
Now our families are good friends.
An interesting observation: Regardless of the state you visit Diana in, you calm down, feel peace near her and rest assured that all your problems will be sorted out—all we need is to set our hopes on God. The exploit of her life is the best proof of this.