Tiny Miracles

David Atwood Points of the Compass
Posted 9/20/13

The older of the Princesses must have been feeling forlorn and needed to count her blessings when she wrote a list titled, “My life is overflowing with angels,” and posted it on social media. It is a list of people who influenced her life in one …

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Tiny Miracles


The older of the Princesses must have been feeling forlorn and needed to count her blessings when she wrote a list titled, “My life is overflowing with angels,” and posted it on social media. It is a list of people who influenced her life in one day and the things they did to make that day brighter. She calls them angels. I call them miracles. Tiny they may be, but they are all around us.

Among things on her list were a friend giving her candy, an adult leader complimenting her singing, a hug from a friend, my buying her a calculator, the Admiral ordering her contacts, the making of a needed dental appointment, and about 20 other things. All of them are tiny miracles.

I roll my trashcan to the street on a Wednesday night, and when I go to get it Thursday morning, it is empty. It’s a miracle. I know, I know, the trash is picked up starting a little after midnight, and the process is explainable, but to me, it is a miracle. Life is full of such miracles.

Some of you will scoff at this and say that picking up the trash is not miraculous, but is a service we pay for and expect to happen. Yes, I agree, but how do you feel when you go to get your can and it isn’t empty? You feel betrayed, deflated, and worried. You were expecting the trash to be picked up and it wasn’t. I choose to see the process as a miracle.

I get the same feeling when I turn on a light switch and nothing happens. I expect it to, I expect light, but when I remain in the dark, I feel a little desperate and for a moment, I am afraid. The miracle of electricity did not happen. Dark makes us reflect and not take electricity for granted.

In today’s world, there are miracles all around us, but we walk right past them and call them common. I choose not to, and I am glad the Princesses do not either. I choose to acknowledge them every time they happen.

I am still fascinated when I put a piece of paper in a machine in my office and it comes out of similar machine somewhere on the other side of the world. The process is called faxing. I call it a miracle. Again, I know it is explainable to someone, but to me, it is miraculous. The same goes for e-mail, and smart phones, and on, and on.

Some will accuse me of lowering the standards whereby a certain event is judged a miracle. I think not. I am not lowering, but elevating many things that we have downgraded to common status back to their position as miraculous, miracles that we take for granted. The same people will say that if there is a reasonable, scientific explanation for something, that it is not a miracle, that things are not miraculous unless they are super natural. Again, I take issue.

At one time in human history, fire was miraculous, even a gift from the gods. When did it become less so? Just because we can create it at will, and don’t have to wait for lightning to strike to have it, and can break it down into a series of chemical reactions, and explain their relationship, does that make it any less a miracle?

Fire is the result of sufficient heat applied to a solid or liquid carbon-based fuel. As the temperature rises, the fuel is converted to a gas, and as the temperature continues to rise, the fuel ignites producing more heat to sustain the process. This is a very general explanation of the process of combustion and only hints at the intricate chemical reactions and timing that must happen for fire to come to life. The details do nothing to diminish the miracle, but serve to amplify the attributes of an occurrence we consider common and show the deeper hidden miracle. The understood process is a miracle within a miracle.

I see the birth of any creature, the blooming of flowers, the leafing of trees, rejuvenation of things long dead over the winter, as miracles. There was a time when someone asked how, or why, and set about to discover the mechanics of these happenings. That does not lessen them, but magnifies their miraculous attributes.

I am not going to list the things that I consider miracles. It would take too long, but I am happy the Princess did, and that was for just one day. It served to remind me that we live in a time of ever-increasing miracles. They are everywhere. What I want to do, and invite you to do with me, is to stop long enough to see the happenings in our everyday lives, and be reminded of what they are ... tiny miracles heaped one upon another until we have the grandest miracle of all - life. Enjoy. It is a miracle.

David Wilson Atwood may be contacted at david@starchasers.us.