November 7, 2014

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Trust God, know that miracles happen around us every day

Patti LambI’m beginning to realize that little miracles happen around us every day.

I’m not claiming to witness enormous feats of healing or marvelous acts of controlling nature. But when I reflect on the occurrences of plain, ordinary days, there are times when I’m markedly aware of the hand of God.

Recently on fall break, my family visited New York for the first time. Although we were newbies to the public transportation system in New York City, we verified that we had enough money on our NYC Metro Card for a return trip to the stop near the hotel.

Three of us made it through the turn style, but when we swiped the card for our 6-year-old daughter, it malfunctioned. Swipe after frantic swipe, the machine denied access and my daughter stood panicked on the other side of the turnstile.

A kind stranger saw what was happening. He quickly pulled out his wallet, grabbed his subway pass, and swiped it, allowing my daughter to return safely to my arms. His kind gesture was worth much more than the actual $2.50 that it cost him. To me, his kindness that day was a little miracle.

There’s a song by Sarah McLachlan with these lyrics: “The sky knows when it’s time to snow/Don’t need to teach a seed to grow/It’s just another ‘ordinary miracle’ today.” That’s a more artistic way of saying, “Do you want to see a miracle? Then open your eyes and simply acknowledge one.”

Miracles take many shapes. Recently, I’ve seen one in the form of an unshakeable faith exhibited by a beautiful young widow raising a new baby after the tragic loss of her husband. Despite the unfathomable grief she bears, she gave a talk on redemptive suffering at a Catholic church a few weeks ago. In her blog, she wrote, “I was able to channel my pain into a productive message … that suffering is not pointless, but in fact can unite us more closely with Christ on the cross.” The way this woman serves as a witness for Christ and strengthens the faith of others—despite her broken heart—is miraculous to me.

I also know of a couple who took a blind, deaf and bedridden family member into their home, despite the way it would alter their lifestyle. The couple’s outpouring of love in a society which typically outsources care of ailing family members is, in itself, a modern-day miracle to me.

While I might claim to see little miracles, I also admit that I’ve often found myself saying things like, “Why couldn’t the cancer have been treated?” followed immediately with, “Why wasn’t there a miracle that time?”

But I’m reminded of John’s Gospel, in which Jesus said, “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33).

I’ve noticed that all the little miracles I’ve seen have one thing in common: the willingness of God’s people to share. In his homily, I once heard a priest explain the parable of the loaves and fishes. He summarized it in a way that went something like this: “God takes what we have, and he makes it enough. We only need to meet him with willing hearts. Miracles happen when we are willing to share what [seeming little] we have, and trust that God will make it enough.”

May you witness a little miracle today.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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