I am lucky to be surrounded by miracle workers. Routinely, I see two big pots of soup multiply before my eyes to feed 200 hungry people. I am not sure how this happens, but just when you think we are down to the last ladle of warm soup, a few more hungry people turn up, the pot gets refilled, and there is more to offer. And when that goes, the miracle workers still find more.
And then there is the 70ish year old lady, who,while helping to serve others last week, turned her ankle but continued to serve and smile and laugh about her accident – only to find out later that day she had actually broken her ankle. It made me wonder, who gave her the strength to serve and laugh and keep moving when she must have been in tremendous pain? From where did she dig that reserve of kindness and pleasantness to help others without sharing her discomfort?
There are about 10 Mother Teresa quotes I want to put in here, but this is the one that is echoing through my head: “There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those.” Everyday, I am lucky to witness small things people are doing for each other. Don’t get me wrong, my heart breaks when I read the world news. But when I see someone help an elderly person cross the street or hand out a sandwich to a homeless person, my heart feels a little less burdened. There is the miracle of looking a homeless person in the eye and smiling. We are conditioned to ignore those sitting on subway grates and in doorways. The small human interaction of offering someone a piece of bread or a sandwich and looking that person in the eyes is a miracle. These are small things, done with great love.
And then there is the miracle of nature. I walked around the park the other day. Even in December, there are small pink blooms on the trees. I noticed one tree – and then another and another. I was surrounded by blooms. I stopped by the lake to take a picture of an egret. For four years, I have tried to get a good picture of him, he never obliges, but he is frequently there, sharing his elegant, grey, graceful beauty. As if to tease me, I turn my back and I can hear him spread his wings and fly away before I can capture the photograph I want of him.
Other miracles I have seen this season? Certainly it feels hard to see the miracles in the face of the American political scene, in the face of Aleppo, in the face of children starving and people sitting on the cold streets without homes. But I see the miracle of compassion, even on Facebook, when people are feeling moved and energized to speak and act out on the causes important to them, whereas previously those assumptions and freedoms could have been taken for granted.
So – in this holiday season, instead of looking in shop windows, I am looking for miracles – of the everyday garden variety. Someone offering an olive branch to a person with whom they are in conflict, offering a smile to someone who feels unloved or lonely. I know many of us feel down to our last ladle of soup – but I promise you there is more. Unexpectedly, miraculously, there is always one more serving to be given.