I am in search of a miracle. I always have been. Perhaps you are too? Even in some quiet way, like an awareness of a long-forgotten wish, hanging off you in wisps during those quiet moments.
What is the miracle I seek? There are many. But the first is that you will join me on this journey of words and at the end you will find your own miracles.
Do we know what a miracle actually is? It is an event that is outside our understanding, beyond our knowledge of natural laws. Perhaps by today’s standard that would render it “unreal”, since it cannot be “proved” and we have the arrogance to assume that we know all there is to know about our world.
We have dissected and analysed the workings of the brain, yet the part of us that is aware of our thoughts escapes our understanding. Yet we know it to be real. Perhaps it is a miracle too? Or perhaps it is simply part of the mystery of life? Maybe there is more going on than we realise? Maybe there are things in heaven and earth that we are not supposed to understand?
We can marvel at the infinite size of the universe, while forgetting that our bodies are constructed from little solar systems called atoms. We can live our lives by the clock, ignoring the fact that time is as malleable as cookie dough.
Until we realise that the universe is both infinitely large and infinitely small, we will never understand the miracle of all there is. Is it possible that the choices we make in our small lives ripple throughout time and space, affecting things beyond our perception? Or conversely, maybe our planet is a living cell within a much larger organism, and we are but a virus attacking that cell? Perhaps both theories are true? Perhaps neither?
We live these lives, so confident in our ability to control things – our environment, our body, our mind and other people. We deny the mysteries and magic in our world, then wonder why our lives are so dull and dry. Why each new purchase, lover or job does not satisfy the craving in our souls that we cannot understand or suppress. Why having more, bigger and better does not help, even though we are taught that it will. Could it be that it is the small details, rather than big moments and achievements, that create the beauty and satisfaction in our lives?
We enviously watch children at play, drawing down on untainted imaginations, free of the falsehood that life is not filled with wonder and magic. If an adult should behave this way, we label them as “unrealistic”, “detached from reality” or “a dreamer”. Then we return to our dreary beige-coloured lives.
The miracles I seek in this life are not rapturous heavenly events – like a big magic show – but things that happen every day. Things that we miss. Like the myriad of cobwebs on the lawn that are only apparent when draped in morning dew.
The reality is that life is hard, painful and confusing. On top of this, I am sick, and there is no cure. I must live this diminished life until my last days. While this existence is difficult, it is little shards of precious magic that fill it with joy. And it is this same illness that taught me to clutch at every possible delight, like a drowning man gasps for air.
Have you been there? To the depths of your soul? Stripped of everything, grasping desperately at tenuous hope, wondering if today will be your last? When there is nothing left, the soul becomes so light that something as delicate as a butterfly can transport it to the stars. At that moment, the butterfly is the miracle.
When you have faced the ultimate loss and then returned to the light, even the smallest and most mundane thing can shine like a diamond. The chatter of birds at dawn. The smell of toast. Kind words from a friend. A warm winter fire made with love. A hand-painted teapot in your favourite colour. The softness of a cat’s paw. The smell of an old-fashioned rose. The pitter-patter of rain on the roof.
Do not imagine that the miracle I seek is a cure. I expect to work hard to keep myself well. The miracle I chase is to have the insight and awareness to fill my life with things that make my heart sing, and thereby make my life worthwhile and abundant, despite its apparent limitations.
Every day I go into the garden and look for fairies – I have an ancient faith that they are there, if only I could catch a glimpse. Every day I give thanks that my husband is still beside me, for one day he may not be. Every day I watch the sparrows in my garden, naming them and feeding them – I love that they come to visit me. Every day I tell my cat that she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, because she is. Every day I ponder the plants growing wild in my garden, the blueness of the sky, the joy of music, and the kindness of strangers.
We can wish for miracles or we can look for those that are already there. We can realise that miracles are not big illusive events, but part of a quiet path to take in life – a way of being. That is all I seek. For in those small moments when I experience a miracle, I am no longer sick – I am a child of God. And so are you.
Wendy Megget is the author of The Little Bullying Book.
Photo thanks to Matej Cerin.