Miracles and Second Chances - Mebby Miracle Chasers on 12/21/18
There were a few days this last month where California had the worst air in the world. The firestorms created issues with air quality that made breathing outside air as bad as smoking seven cigarettes at once. Entire neighborhoods, communities and even cities were incinerated. And then, the rains came and washed the air clean, leaving fire survivors with an uncertain future, and others, thankful for blue skies that were appreciated like never before.
I felt such compassion for those whose lives were changed by the wildfires even as I felt happy to be out in my garden again. As I raked leaves and put the garden to rest for the winter, I thought about the perennials that would regrow in the spring and the seeds - especially the grasses and the weeds - that would return with spring rains. I thought about the ancients celebrating the Solstice on the darkest night of the year, who, without benefit of the internet clock and weather channel, knew in the dead of winter, that spring would come again. Resilience is a remarkable characteristic of human beings! In the darkest of days, we know, with mystic certainty, light comes in the morning and spring will arrive some day.
Trauma, redemption, resilience and miracles feel closely connected to me. You can think about miracles as second chances; beyond survival, there is an opportunity to make a change, live more fully, or do something differently. I wonder about how often a second chance is actually about recognizing the opportunity and taking that chance. Remember the joke about the man on the roof in a flood who prays for God to deliver him? As the waters rise, a boat comes by and he’s asked if he wants to climb in. He says he’s waiting for God to grant him a miracle. Then another boat comes by and the boat captain says, “Get in” but the man says he has faith in God and God will grant him a miracle. Then a helicopter comes and lets down a ladder, and the same thing happens. The man says he’s waiting for a miracle. Finally, as the waters rise over his rooftop, we hear him wondering aloud to God, “God why didn’t you save me?” The man arrives at the Gates of Heaven and he says to Peter, I thought you would send me a miracle. Peter shakes his head. “Buddy, we sent you two boats and a helicopter!” We can all relate, for we’ve all let chances pass us by, and so we laugh at that truth embedded in the joke.
In no way am I suggesting that victims of any disaster are those that missed the boat. I am really thinking more about those of us who have been given other chances - a chance to repair a relationship, a chance to take action on some small thing that will make the world a little better, a chance to change a bad attitude or a bad habit. I’m thinking about how I forget to be grateful for moments of redemptive relief. It’s so easy to walk back into blue skies and forget that once they were not so blue.
The Winter Solstice – December 21 - marks the shortest day of the year. The word solstice comes from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). The Solstice marks a moment in time to pause. We can think about this holiday season as a season of second chances - a baby born in a manger to change the world; evergreens symbolic of hope; miracle lamps that shine in the darkness. Take a moment to pause and reflect on your second chances. They are nothing less than miracles.
Wishing you a holiday season filled with hope and promise, gratitude and redemption. May your days be full of light. (Meb)