Monday, July 5, 2010

Miracles Disguised as Everyday Life

It was a simple question. You'd think I could have answered it without getting so emotional.

I was at a dinner party, talking with the now ex-boyfriend of a friend of mine, and somehow we got onto the topic of miracles--and how ridiculous he thought it was to believe in them. He rattled off a list of reasons why they didn't exist and, then, looking so impressed with himself you'd think he'd invented the McNugget, he said, "Do you need to believe in miracles?”

I will never forget how small I felt--and how defensive. The word "need" is what got to me. It made me feel so weak. This was about 12 or 15 years ago, and back then, I cared if someone thought my spiritual beliefs were foolish.

"Yes, I couldn't live in a world without miracles," I said. As if the supernatural needed my defense.

I didn't know that other people's disbelief couldn't negate my own--or hurt my chances of someday experiencing a miracle myself.

As to why I'm writing about this today, after all these years, it's because it now seems extraordinary to me that I wasn't yet certain if I had ever experienced a miracle. I had once witnessed my own car crash in my mind--only seconds before it happened in real life--saving me from what might have been a deadly accident. What more proof did I need?

Evidently, much more.

And of all things, it would take a spiny, wild creature for me to grasp that miracles don't always look miraculous initially.

My husband and I were at a cottage in the northeast when my hands became so puffy, I could barely get my rings on and off. On the third or fourth day of this, as I walked my dog through the woods, I began to wonder if all the potato chips I'd been eating had something to do with it. I'd never had an issue with salt before, but maybe my metabolism had changed.

I was thinking about this as I came around a bend in the path, and had to stop because of a large, snoozing porcupine. I'd never seen even a bird or squirrel along this path before, since a nearby cottager always let his dogs run loose, and they scared off anything that ran or flew. When it eventually lumbered away, I felt lucky to have witnessed it.

A day or so later, as I browsed the racks of the tiny bookshop in this town of 2,900--something I did often and with no real aim in mind--I noticed the book Animal Speak* perched face-front on a shelf. It sounded interesting, so I opened it to the first page:

"The natural world and the animals in it speak to us everyday…When we know what to look for, we can use them as omens…in the development of true prophecy and higher perception."

I flipped through the book and skimmed through the section on the porcupine, stopping at the part that explained: "There may be a tendency to…overindulge in salt."

I was shocked that a book I accidentally happened upon was clearly answering the question I'd been pondering.

Just as significant was what I read next: "When porcupine shows up, take a look at your life…Are you overly sensitive to the barbs of others? Porcupines…can teach you how to protect the inner child from all of life's barbs."

Was I overly sensitive? Ever since I could remember I had allowed other people's critical opinions to discourage and at times paralyze me--had even allowed them to cause me to question my own spiritual beliefs.

This was such needed medicine, and the coincidence was so significant, I knew it was something I had to acknowledge. Granted, it wasn't the parting of the seas, but to me, it was a mini miracle--a God Manufactured Coincidence, some would say.

That autumn was the first and last time I had puffy fingers--I gave up the nightly potato chips. It was also the last I saw of the porcupine.

I know it came into my life to make me aware of the presence of God's magic all around me--and the importance of not having preconceived notions about what it looks or feels like.

I have to stay open to anything. Whether it's a feeling, a vision or a voice.

Or even a porcupine.

QUESTION: Do you recognize evidence of God Manufactured Coincidences in your life and, if so, how?

*Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small, by Ted Andrews.

(Not sure how to leave your name or pseudonym with your comment?  See above left.)