By Linda Grupp Boutin
Have you ever witnessed a miracle? This might depend upon how you define one. Over a lifetime I have learned that if you keep open to the wonders around you, you might very well witness many miracles every single day. Merriam-Webster defines “miracle” as: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing or accomplishment. This definition classifies miracles into two broad categories; the first credits divine intervention or God and the second focuses on outstanding or unusual. My premise is to look beyond the usual into the amazing things we ignore because of everyday familiarity. When you adopt this perspective, you open your eyes to the divine.
For instance, did you notice the full moon we enjoyed last week? Shining overhead, dispelling the darkness and opening our view to a new outlook. Think about the everyday wonder of our little planet having a moon at all. It exerts tremendous influence over the health of our Earth. For our ancestors, who didn’t enjoy the convenience of electricity, this heavenly body provided extra light to finish up harvesting, directions for navigators, and precise timing to set our calendars to a month by month system. It controls tides, affects behavior of animals and humans, keeps Earth from wobbling in its orbit too badly.
Gary and I have been moon watchers since our second or third date. We went for a swim in the condo complex’s pool on a cold winter night. After getting in a good workout, we moved over to the Jacuzzi, turned on the jets and warmed up under the stars. There was a full moon out that night and Gary pointed it out to me. We admired it together and christened it our “streetlamp” when we made the run back to the condo in the cold. Later we began calling it God’s Streetlamp remembering the One who placed it there.
As time passed and our relationship deepened, we often chose to rename things in our own ways. After leaving my mother’s funeral about 6 months later, Gary showed me the magnificent purple blooming trees lining the street leading out of the cemetery. He asked me what it was named and I didn’t have the slightest idea what they were called. Flippantly, I told them that they were California Purple-Flowering Trees. Later we learned the correct name was jacaranda, but we still sometimes call them our pet name. Another 6 months later we found ourselves facing breast cancer again, this time with his mom. As challenges enter our lives, it becomes our choice and responsibility to embrace them and work our way through them, or throw our hands in the air and run for the nearest way out. Somehow those difficulties weigh a little less when you take time to notice the wonderful and amazing stuff around us. Happily his mom survived her illness and has been a part of our lives for another 38 years.
|Jacaranda tree in May|
One daily pick-me-up are the sunsets that I love and point out when I see one spreading across the sky. Gary explained to me early on that God had gotten out his paint box and colored the sky just for us. We pray over seeds when we plant them and notice the wonders around us and share them. We have ridden ski lifts to the top of the mountain, literally made breathless by the mountain view displayed before us. It is a matter of taking the time to notice the crows cawing overhead, the hummingbird zipping among the blossoms and the butterfly flitting through the flowers. It keeps our childlike wonder alive even though we were not blessed with children by God.
Most recently Gary came running in the front door with a brown praying mantis that he had rescued from the street. Our very first year together he came in carrying a baby chick just newly hatched from our chicken coop. Another time it was our first baby goat, damp and newborn, but calling loudly for its mama to rescue it from this big man. Any stray spider wandering in our home is gently captured and carried to the plants outdoors on the front porch. It is a choice we make to value life and all its wonders. And for us, this means acknowledging our Creator, God, in all the magnificence He surrounds us with from the moment we open our eyes.
So how about you? You can start right this instant. Take a moment to examine your hand and fingers. Have you ever thought about how intricately they are made? Notice the swirls of your fingerprints and handprint and remember that these were specially formed for just you. Will you choose to employ it in our Provider’s work, honoring Him with how you use them? From the hair on your head to the blood coursing through your veins, you are wonderfully made. Now take this perspective and apply it to all around you and I guarantee you will have a better day for it, no matter what the challenges are that you face.