I'm just getting into JR Ward's newest Black Dagger Brotherhood novel, The Beast. It's as awesome as I knew it would be. I'm reading slowly so I can savor, savor, savor it. And because I know I'll find inspiration for multiple blogs from this one gold mine of a book, you, dear reader, will be with me every step of the way. For this first Beast-ly blog, I'm thinking about miracles—what they are, where they come from and what they look like. I'm trying to decide if I agree with Albert Einstein. Supposedly, our favorite genius (next to Dr. Seuss, of course), said that there are only two ways to live our lives: One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as if everything is. Mostly, I try to align myself with good old Albert. Because he was so smart, ya know. And I think I agree with him. And I also think that miracles abound, so I guess I fall into the second category of people. Which is a lovely way to live.
In The Beast, our favorite vampire-turned-dragon, Rhage, takes a mortal wound during an opening scene battle. As he lays dying, his mate, Mary, is inspired to direct the dragon to heal his host, who will surely die without intervention of the miraculous variety. Mary has no clue where the idea came from, and no one is sure it will work, but it does. Certifiable miracle, coming right up.
Clearly, saving someone from certain death qualifies as a miracle. I've actually seen one of those happen, up close and personal. Many years ago, my husband's mother was diagnosed with a lung tumor. In addition to following conventional medical advice, which included rib-cracking surgery to remove the mass, my mother-in-law also engaged spiritual healers and energy medicine practitioners to work on her behalf. When the doctors spread her ribs (which is painful to even think about!), the tumor was nowhere to be found. The medical professionals were baffled, but my mother-in-law was not; she'd been granted a miracle based on the efforts of those who engaged a higher power to heal her. And while she would have been happy to be spared the difficult surgery, she was profoundly grateful for the miraculous outcome, as were we all.
Spontaneous healing definitely counts toward the saints’ yardstick for miracles. And there are other types of dramatic events that feel miraculous in the moment, and seem to conform to that metric with the perspective of hindsight. The end of temptation and addiction makes the cut. As an example, I smoked my first cigarette when I was fifteen years old. I was with one of my best friends and we smoked menthol cigarettes and thought we were too cool for school. I almost threw up that first time, and thought it was disgusting. That didn't stop me from trying again and rapidly getting hooked—line and sinker. My friend was more intelligent than I, and she decided that smoking wasn't for her (good thing too, because she is asthmatic; I never said we were smart teenagers). Anyway, fast-forward twelve years and I'm up to a pack/pack and a half a day habit, which was both expensive and unhealthy. And then one day, while sitting in a random hotel room in Vermont shortly after Christmas, it hit me: my smoking was a terrible habit and I needed to quit. Right then. And I took an entire carton of cigarettes—which didn't cost the arm and leg that cigs do now, but still represented a significant dent in my weekly budget— and I flushed every one of those cancer sticks down the hotel toilet. I have never taken a single drag since. Not one. That was definitely a miracle. I didn't do that on my own. Three months later, I met my now-husband, who has noted on several occasions that he would never have dated me if I'd been a smoker when we met.
Coincidence? I think not. Miracle? I think so. Which simply validates another quotation attributed to Albert. E., that coincidences are God's way of staying anonymous. What better way to hide the everyday miracles that occur than to shroud them in the guise of coincidence? But what if we all believed, as I do, that there are no coincidences? That everything happens for a reason and the way it's supposed to? Well, I mostly believe that, at least on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Kind of like the rules of Fizzbin.
And what about the miracle of my muse? Surely the creative inspiration I receive from my favorite, if finicky, goddess, is nothing short of a miracle every time I sit down to put my thumbs to my phone's keyboard to write this blog (yep, I'm still doing that, strangely enough). As I've written about before, half the time I have no idea what's going to come out on the page or the screen. It just flows out of me, like ketchup that's been thumped on the bottom of the bottle. If that isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.
Other miracles include the fluidity with which obstacle disappear when we've found and followed the right path. That is such a great experience, to literally go with the flow of our lives, swimming downstream with ease and joy. I would call that an everyday miracle, but I can't claim that happens to me with sufficient regularity to label it a quotidian occurrence. But maybe someday I'll learn to live like that. That would be a miracle.
And I won’t give up. One of my favorite adages is, "Don't leave before the miracle happens." It could be right around the corner. Or around the block. Or perhaps a greater distance away. But I know it's coming. The miracle always does. And, if we look closely, pay attention, and inhabit the present moment , miracles proliferate. And far from being found only in fantasy novels like The Beast, we can live in truth and still find much that is miraculous. As the late, great Wayne Dyer said, "I am realistic—I expect miracles." I'm down with that. Maybe Albert and Wayne are discussing it up in heaven and sprinkling all of us with some miracle dust. Every day.