Everyday Miracles

A Spartan helmet rests on rocks with a blurry background.

Once, there was a man named Dayton. He was a bright young man, brighter than most, and he lived his life quickly as he raced through each task to get to the next one. And in the same way, he raced through his entire life this way as well. He graduated, began working, got married, and by most accounts, lived a good life.

But Dayton did not agree with most accounts. He found his life oddly unsatisfying. It felt empty, as if he was cheated out of some greater joy in life than the physical comfort he had grown to expect from the world. And it was in this mood that Dayton went out for a walk to wake himself up one morning. His walk took him to a park bench, where he sat and began to think on the emptiness again.

However, this brooding did not go on for long before he was interrupted by an older woman who asked if she could share the bench with him. He obliged her, and so she took a seat, smiling widely.

“A man as young as you should not appear to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. Is it marriage trouble? If so, go apologize. It does not matter whose fault it was, apologize.”

Dayton chuckled at this peculiar old woman and her advice, but he was intrigued. With that in mind, he humored her curiosity.

“Thankfully, no problems within my marriage. It is fine, just like everything else in my life. But that is exactly what is bothering me. Everything is fine in my life. I have a fine job, a fine spouse, a fine house. I have every fine comfort anyone could want. And yet, I don’t feel fine. Every day I feel like I’m waiting for some great miracle to turn these fine comforts to joy.”

“That is exactly your problem.” She said “You are waiting for a miracle.”

Dayton was confused. He was no expert, but what could one do for a miracle except wait. There was no such thing as making one for yourself. His consternation made itself apparent to the old woman after he thought for a minute or so.

“When you look around this park this morning, what do you see?” the old lady asked simply.

“I see a child and a mother walking. I see a sun rise. I see a few animals, trees, and flowers. What is so special about that?”

“What you see are everyday miracles that you fail to understand. You only see a sun rise, but I see a miracle of beauty. It’s a symphony of beautiful colors that are never the same way twice, so you can enjoy it anew every day. You only see a mother and a child walking together. I see a miracle of love. A bond between two people, unbreakable and incredible, that produces joy and happiness found nowhere else. You see a cluster of trees and plants. I see a miracle of life. These flowers have struggled against every hardship and bloom just to spite the hail. These trees have grown over decades and still live to grant children and their mothers shade.”

Dayton was at a loss for words. He had never seen anyone look at the world this way before. After all, he thought, who saw miracles every day?

“You have spent your whole life languishing for a miracle and waiting for one to hit you right over the head when it came. But miracles aren’t like that. They happen every day in a thousand ways.” The woman tried to explain it another way “If you could live your life as simply, a timeline of all the biggest moments of your life, would you?”

“No, that would rob me of a good many things.”

“Exactly. Just as life is not simply a timeline of noteworthy events, miracles are not just one or two things a person sees in their life. Just like how life is the thousand smiles, tears, and reliefs in between events, it is the thousand miracles happening every day that make a life worth living. All you have to do is realize everything is a miracle and appreciate them all for it.”

Few people live the way this woman lived, and most people may not see the point of living this way. But everything is at least a small miracle. A flower is not guaranteed to bloom in the spring. A tree is not guaranteed to leaf or produce fruit. People are not even guaranteed their next breath or heartbeat. But by some miracle, all those things continue to happen. Everyday miracles are commonplace, but when people understand the concept, a person can embrace life and appreciate that each small part of it is a miracle without having to wait for one.

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