Monday, July 9, 2012

Everyday Miracles

I've said over and over again on this blog that magic is everywhere. I've said the same about love and beauty and blessings. Well now I'm about to add another - miracles are everywhere, too.

One of my favorite stories about a miracle is the story of the man born blind in the New Testament. Jesus annointed the man's eyes with mud and commanded him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. That particular pool was way down at the far Southern end of Jerusalem--based on context, probably the farthest possible water source from the man's location without going outside the city walls. Yet in spite of the inconvenience the man did as the Savior commanded him. He made his way through the crowds in the streets and around the temple all the way to the pool of Siloam and washed--and his sight was restored. He later testified of his healing before the Pharisees, who in the end cast him out of the temple,essentially excommunicating him from the Jewish community. The Savior comes to the man and reveals who He is, whereupon the man worships Him and promises to follow Him. I love this story because there are two miracles in it--a man's sight is restored and a strong testimony is found.

Another miracle that is close to me involves healing also, but by different means. It's a story I have heard hundreds of times about a tiny baby girl who was born with a heart defect, unbeknownst to her parents. At about a week old she began to show signs of being unwell, but no one realized how bad it was. Her mother decided to take her to the hospital, and because the baby's grandmother wanted to come but had to get to the airport soon, she chose an appointment at two o'clock that afternoon. She got there to discover that the normal pediatrician was away and an older, more experienced doctor was subbing in. The doctor recognized the baby's condition at once and had her raced to Primary Children's Medical Center, where she was placed in the care of the most skilled pediatric cardiologist in the state (and possibly the whole western United States). The baby's parents later found out that if they had picked the later appointment their daughter would have died, and that if the normal pediatrician had been there he would probably not have caught the problem in time. The baby survived--it was a miracle. And an even greater miracle is that she had no complications at all, grew up normally and in good health, and is now attending college and enjoying life and even writing her own blog. You've guessed by now that all those miracles were my own--and I am grateful every day for the blessing of my own life.

I hear about miracles every time my father tells me about an adoption he has performed or a life that has been turned around and made whole. The gift we humans have to make choices and improve ourselves and our lives is and incredible miracle. Every time my father tells me that someone graduated from the drug court program I want to cheer. I have seen people in Dad's courtroom on a few occasions whose lives have been ruined by drugs--and even though it was only a few times it was more than enough to make an impression. My most distinct memory was of a woman pleading with my father that she just wanted to be a mom to her kids, but who just couldn't stay clean. I also remember my dad telling me once that he had never met a drug addict who didn't want more than anything in the world to quit and be free of it, but it is such a hard process. When your body becomes so dependent on something, it is a long, hard, uphill fight to try to let it go. So every time I hear that another drug court student has conquered their addiction and graduated I cheer for joy--it is another miracle.

Miracles don't have to be big, though--I had a small one myself the other day. I was feeling very downhearted. I had called the Jerusalem Center earlier that week to ask about my placement on the waiting list, and I had finally found out a few days after that I hadn't moved at all in nearly three weeks. I was discouraged and more than a little stressed about the situation. If I don't get into the Center for this Fall, I'm not sure where I'm going to live this Fall. I sent a text to my best friend, who got initial placement for the program and is preparing to go in August and who probably knows me better than anyone outside of my family. I said simply "Could you give me a call when you get a minute? I need some help with not stressing right now." I wasn't expecting to hear back from her for a while, perhaps not until the next day--she has work often, so I didn't know when her next free moment would be. As such I was considerably surprised when, less than two minutes later, my phone rang and I picked it up to hear Katie's familiar voice on the other end, filled with concern and demanding to know if I was alright. I assured her that I was and told her what was wrong. Katie has been part of my plans for Jerusalem since the begining--she was the brains behind our Arabic learning marathon during Winter semester, and she had been there for all of the anxiety of the application process and the wait for our letters to come. It meant more to me than she knew to be able to talk to her right then--possibly the only person in the world who knew exactly how much the whole Israel thing meant to me. The fact that she had a few minutes to spare right when I needed a little encouragement (to say nothing of the fact that she was willing to give them to me) was a miracle to me.

So it's true--miracles are everywhere. Our bodies work and function perfectly, each system working together with the whole. Our planet is the perfect distance from the sun for all the beautiful life that thrives here to take place. Birds fly and flowers blossom and smell sweet. Sunsets turn the sky a hundred different colors every night. Children are born and live and grow and create. Heavenly Father loves us and watches over our lives.

So many miracles--I can only stand in awe.

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