Monday, June 02, 2008

The Alphabet Backwards: M is for Miracles

Well, it's Monday, which means I have to face the dreaded Alphabet Backwards. The letter "m" offers so many choices that it's almost too much... a myriad of modest and magnificent many-faceted meanings from the mystical to the mundane, the menacing to the melancholy march madly through my mind.... What to choose? Mysticism, mystery? Music? Martyrdom, military, mania, manic-depressive, magnolias, marigolds, marijuana, monkeys, mandolins.... the list goes on and on... a mad mosaic of choices. Ok... I'll stop and pick something, I promise. Just had to get that out of my system. The muse has spun the wheel (had to get one more in) and it has landed on the word MIRACLES.

Years ago, when I still lived in Manhattan (M word for NYC) and still left my house, I was madly in love with a brilliant (and very handsome) pastor, so I went to church a lot. Tiny Christ Lutheran Church on 19th Street and First Avenue, under Rick's ministry, was a magical place. I wish I had my scanner so I could share some photos, but you will have to imagine things, I guess. We shared our little stone church with a renegade Catholic congregation that was "church-less." I forget now the details of their estrangement from the diocese, but they shared not only our little building, but our community life as well as some worship services - something virtually unheard of in the 1970s. Rick (besides being witty, charming and handsome) was my kind of pastor. He was less bound to liturgy than to love of both the human and the divine. He didn't care what I believed or didn't believe. He felt that the church was about community and living the Spirit of faith. Because of this he created a wonderful family of people where I felt safe and welcome. He changed my life in many ways. He taught me to respect my own voice, to offer my opinions because they were worth something. He taught me to protect myself from my brother's dark malevolence. He persuaded me to go into therapy and get help that I desperately needed. He taught me to share my singing voice as well as my ideas. He taught me a lot about love. He was a gift and a miracle in my life and changed it forever and for the better. He died 20 years ago of a brain tumor and the world is a poorer place without him.

But that isn't actually what I meant to talk about. Seems I can't help but meander towards my goal (another m word). A group of us had a discussion at one point - I forget what led up to it - about miracles. Much to my astonishment, I was the only person in a group of about 10 people, who believed in miracles. The only one. It stuns me still. I think life is a series of almost minute to minute miracles. Look out the window. Look at a tree. Look at an automobile. Look at a flower, look at the sky, look at a cat or a bird or a bumble bee. Look at your own body, no matter what kind of shape it's in. Look at the blue sky or clouds or ... Is there anything that ISN'T a miracle? But even if you want to toss that kind of miracle aside, there is still the human capacity to learn and think, to invent healing techniques. Modern medicine is a kind of miracle as is herbal medicine.

Then there are things like reiki, the healing art that I practice. I certainly consider that to be miraculous. The people in this conversation didn’t think there were miracles in what they referred to as “the Biblical sense.”

Reiki belies that for me. Crazy as it sounds. I can sit with a teddy bear in Hancock, New York and impact a cat or human being in Maine or anywhere in the world. It astonishes me, but it happens. Doubters may be able to dismiss the impact on people as self-delusion, but how do you explain the response of animals, who are too smart to refuse a gift of healing or to rationalize it away. Our minds and spirits are capable of so much that if we only opened ourselves up to the possibilities we could change the world overnight. (I have to admit that I talk a good show, but I’m not so good at follow-through on this one. Still, I believe that we are capable of making our own miracles if we choose/learn how to own and harness our potential.) I was fascinated years ago to learn that researchers working with people who are “multiple personalities (this is an interesting article on the subject) ” who – in one body – had diabetes as one personality and didn’t as the another. Seems pretty miraculous to me. I couldn't find an article to back that but I remember attending a lecture (similar to this one) with a spiritual teacher and doctor named Brugh Joy, who talked about his experiences with multiple personalities and other kinds of amazing medical experiences.

Alas, I had a long phone call between that last sentence and this one and have lost my momentum, so I'll end with the thought that we have miracles around and in us - both individually and as a society. The power of the mind and the power of love, particularly when we harness them together - well, there are no limits.

There are miracles of beauty and nature that are all around us and there are things like reiki, like the power of prayer, like using our thoughts to create positive things that are at our disposal all the time. I thought I'd close today with a reminder that Mimi Writes is hosting a "peace blast" on Wednesday, June 4th. I think this is an awesome idea - to harnass our love of peace and the power of positive thinking. Just click on the link to her site, pick up a blank globe graphic, sign it and return it to her. She has detailed instructions. I'll post mine again on Wednesday.

Let's enjoy the miracles around us and let's make some miracles of our own.

And that's it for the letter "m." Have a marvelous day full of merriment, magic, music, and miracles.


maryt/theteach said...

Raven, I will take the "merriment, magic, music, and miracles." I have an award for you at my blog, Work of the Poet. For putting up with my Mr. Linky problems... and because you are a dear blogger friend! :D

Raven said...

Thank you so much Mary. It's funny... I was talking with my therapist today about how I love praise but how much it frightens me too. And here you are giving me an award. Thank you, she trembled...

Cris said...

Hi Raven... love your writing, so creative!

Jeff B said...

Marvelous post. Being in the delivery room for the birth of my two sons was all the evidence of miracles I need to know they do happen.

Raven said...

cris - thank you so much.

jeff b - Birth! How could I have forgotten that for my list of miracles! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Shelly said...

Absolutely beautiful post..amen sistah! As a woman who was raised in a faith based community, I'm trying hard to process the fact that there were all those folks in a church who didn't believe in miracles...bummer for them! I'm with you on the makin' miracles thing, I'm always sayin' "visualize, verbalize, materialize!
We're lucky if we get to meet someone like Pastor Rick, I'm 48 and have been around pastors all my life...I finally met a pastor with that kind of's pretty cool.

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