In which our Heroine lives the Miracle.
Yesterday, a woman said quite frankly to me, “You know you’re a walking miracle, right?” It’s funny that she said that, because yes, I am aware of this fact. It is this awareness that made me pause and re-read page 3 of Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River several times just a few days ago,
“Let me say something about the word: miracle. For too long it’s been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week—a miracle, people say, as if they’ve been educated from greeting cards. I’m sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word.
“Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It’s true: They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. Lazarus obeying orders and climbing up out of the grave—now there’s a miracle and you can bet it upset a lot of folks who were standing around at the time. When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of earth.
"…People fear miracles because they fear being changed—though ignoring them will change you also… No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here’s what I saw. Here’s how it went. Make out of it what you will.”
From my standpoint, the statement rings clear and true. Miracles are things like having relatively no symptoms or swelling even though you have a baseball-sized tumor in your brain. Or the kind of healing that physical therapists shake their head in amazement at. I especially appreciate the miracle of literally having my medical information fit snugly into position alongside an answer to personal prayer. I knew from personal revelation that I would be fine, and it seemed that my pathology report was just trotting to keep up. It’s not often that a particularly aggressive form of cancer changes its mind and decides to lie dormant. No, my grave hadn’t been dug yet, and so the earth never had to literally cough me up. Nevertheless, I see my situation as a contradiction of the will of the earth: my dust-to-dust limbs currently have strength. In this way and others, I sense miraculous change in myself, as well as in many around me. These things I witness, and more.