Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Miracles Happen Daily"

Just up the street from me, there's a neighborhood beauty salon. Nothing special
about it. Except for a sign that used to be in the front window, until the sun faded it to invisibility. "Want to be sexy?", it asked. "Then come in and get a sexy haircut!" Below that, the phrase that gave the title to this post: "Miracles Happen Daily!" And you know what? They do.

I try not to get involved in what one person or another chooses to believe. Strictly speaking, as a Christian I should be trying to induce anyone who isn't to join up. But I also believe the best way to encourage others to consider your belief system is to be a good example to the world. Then, if someone asks questions, feel free to answer. So, to those who don't believe in a Supreme Being as the cause of miracles, look on the following as a few observations [based on true stories] on how "miracles" happen daily. If you do happen to believe in a Supreme Being, that's o.k., too.

A planeload of people survives a water landing in the middle of Winter. A still-alive person is found in a collapsed building after an earthquake. A man goes over a powerful waterfall with no protective devices, and lives to tell his story. The big miracles still happen, contrary to many peoples' belief. The big ones fascinate us, force us to wonder how what we consider "impossible" can be, leave us puzzling over their significance in our world and our life. But, just as true fans of stage magic prefer the small tricks that can be done on a table-top to larger illusions, many fans of miracles relish the small wonders that happen, well, daily.

Consider Mark Tondreault, of Florida; in two years, he survived a lifetime's worth of illness, emergency surgery, and excruciating recovery. By no means is the story over; Tondreault faces still more therapy. But he's grateful for a "second shot at life". Now, the non-Supreme Being-ists reading this are certainly thinking that Tondreault should be more grateful to his surgeons [and a few in the other camp are probably puzzled that an "SB" would choose to intervene in the life or death of an admitted alcoholic, whose drinking was certainly responsible for some of his illness]. For what it's worth, I agree that Tondreault's medical team deserves credit for his continued survival. For that matter, Tondreault has a strong sense of survival that certainly helps. But, in the face of the "impossible" [or, at the very least, the extremely unlikely], the "M" word certainly comes to mind, either in its traditional or colloquial usage.

Then there are the "random acts of kindness" that turn out spectacularly well. Take Matt Steven. A blind kid takes his team's free throws during a CYO tournament. And winning the championship with one. There's a lot going on here: let's follow the chain slowly, so we don't miss anything. First, Steven's brother taking him along to practice. Then, encouraging his free throw shooting, so he'd practice, and make such a situation possible. Steven's being allowed to travel with the team. The team making arrangements to allow him to take its free throws, not only with the referees, but every other team in the tourney. The other teams agreeing to the arrangement. The fans in attendance, for not sabotaging the situation [remember, people tapping on their seats, or making it impossible for Steven to hear his aural cues from the backboard, would have ended the experiment before it began].I'm probably leaving a link or two out, but you get the idea.

Miracles. They do happen daily. And not just in beauty salons.

-Mike Riley