So here’s the bottom line for me. The universe we live in is an endless gift of grace. The only conceivable response is boundless gratitude. My Christian friends speak often of miracles, which for them are signs of God’s intervention in the world. I tell them I believe in miracles, too, but rather than a suspension of natural law, I see them as a temporary improvement in my ability to pay attention.
How many of you have had the following experience? You learn a new word—one you don’t recall ever hearing before—and over the course of the following week you run into it four times. What are the odds that the word was absent from your life for decades, and then suddenly appeared four times in one week? Surely it’s been there all along, but you never noticed before.
I figure miracles are like that. The world is full of countless possibilities, far more than I could imagine in any given situation. Most of the time I’m clueless, but every once in a while I notice possibilities that I never noticed before. Spiritual practices, I think, are designed to help us notice a bit more often.
And if gratitude is the inescapable response to the gift of creation, joy is certainly close behind. We are called to make the world a better place, and to enjoy it while we’re here.
[photo: Saco Bay, ME, © 2000 Michael L. Scott]