(Originally published September 30, 2013)
This weekend for me was like a giant billboard that reads: “CAN YOU SEE HOW AMAZING YOUR LIFE IS?”
And what’s funny about that is that only a month ago I was beating myself up with thoughts like, “Wow, everyone will notice the weight you’ve gained, the extra gray in your hair, the slight hesitation as you pull out your wallet to pay [while you do quick math to figure out whether you’re good for it], the job you have that is no higher level than you might have had right out of college (or high school, for that matter), the lack of a partner, the less-than-500-square-foot dwelling you call home…” and on and on. We all know how easy is it to succumb to the point of view of our inner critic. And the thought of going to something like a reunion can have the effect of handing the critic a megaphone.
My experience of this weekend, however, turned out to be one of a HUGELY renewed faith in the magic and mystery of life (and thus rendering all that inner critic nonsense completely absurd). In reminiscing with friends I was unable to ignore that life is amazing and perfect and unexplainable. Here are a couple of the miraculous moments I love to remember most:
Freshman drop-off day, I’m turning away from my dorm window with tears streaming down my face after watching my mom pull out of the parking lot to start the long drive home to Denver. Feeling a huge black hole of sadness and fear and loneliness, I walk out into the hallway and see Pat Vallely—the father of a girl I’d met while visiting the college—beaming a huge smile at me and pulling me into a hug. He was helping his daughter Amy move into the room a few doors down from mine. Sadness instantly gone. She’s still one of my best friends and he still greets me with a huge smile and a hug.
Junior year, Genie Lyn showing up unexpectedly during one of my darkest hours EVER…as if she’d seen the bat signal. Only Genie could have done for me that night what she did. Although she may never understand the extent of her contribution, I will ALWAYS be grateful that on that particular day,
Of all the recliners, in all the dorm rooms, in all the world, she sat in mine.
I could go on and on listing all the miracles that have happened in my life. And that’s exactly how I spent some of the time on the drive home: listing in my head all the miracles I could think of (including the depth of my love for the woman sitting next to me in the car, resting her eyes).
And do you know what happened within about a five-minute span while I was contemplating magic and miracles? First, I looked directly up at a streetlight as I drove under it and I saw a huge hawk soar directly under the light so that its shape was perfectly silhouetted. Then not three minutes later I saw a shooting star right in front of me go from the right to the left, perfectly horizontal. And then I looked at the clock and the time was exactly 1:11 a.m.
What miracles have happened in your life? I bet if you started writing them down every time you thought of one, you’d be shocked at how long the list is. And if you can’t think of any, lower the expectation of what you think of as a miracle. It doesn’t have to be seeing someone turn water into wine. It can be as subtle as that friend who calls when you’re in the pit of despair and says, “Hey, I was thinking of you. Wanna’ grab coffee?”