Saturday, July 13, 2013

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Miracle (noun) \mir-i-kel\:  an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

- Merriam Webster Dictionary

I just have to tell you right from the start:  there are no answers embedded here, only questions.  This has been a tough few months, as you may have gathered if you've read any of the recent submissions.  With a lot of challenges messing with my psyche and sense of well-being - up to and including the bedroom television crapping out this week, the basement fridge having crapped out a couple weeks before, still having a broken oven door, not feeling very confident or happy with my work performance, and a dog I'm pretty sure needs a trip to the vet - my attitude is still in the gutter.  I can't see past all the bad stuff happening to try and figure out how to resolve all the bad stuff happening, if that makes any sense.  But there was the little respite when Marissa and I traveled to Cincinnati to see Rush.  I almost didn't go.  I almost sold the tickets.  But, like they've done so many times before, they seem to show up in my life right when I need them most, so I decided to not worry about things for once and go have a good time.  And good it was.  Great in fact.  Cincinnati fans are the best Rush fans, I've decided.  It was magical.  Which brings me to my point, if there is one.  It was such a magical oasis in this sea of despair, it was almost as though somewhere somehow a little guardian angel knew I would need that boost when I did.  And so, since I got back, I've been wondering:  do these things really happen for a reason, or is it just a coincidence?  And if they do happen for a reason, then why would I get a Rush concert to help me along when some people are tortured, raped, killed, starved, beaten and so on every single day?  Why wouldn't the same little guardian angel who put Alex, Neil and Geddy in my path watch out for the little girl in Pittsburgh a few years back who was so abused by her father she killed him with a hammer one night to stop the horror?

I grew up believing in miracles because I thought I had been witness to one.  I admit I was skeptical at one point in my very young life.  I watched The Ten Commandments in awe and wondered to myself, "If God used to do things like that, why doesn't he still?"  And I concluded it was because He never really did.  But my parents took me on a camping trip through Alberta when I was six, including to Banff National Park, which truly has to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Yet, for all the stunning beauty I was exposed to during that trip, there was one thing above all else that happened to me that would stay with me for years.  While we were stopped along a roadway in the park - one of those traffic jams that happens when wildlife clogs the road and eager tourists stop to gawk and take photos - a fawn, still wearing her spots, appeared on her own out of the woods, looked around tentatively and then walked up to our car where I eagerly was waiting with the window rolled down and my chubby little hand held out, I am sure a face just full of pure rapture and childlike anticipation.  I can remember clearly being almost breathless waiting to see if she would walk up to me.  And she did!  Straight up to me.  And me alone.  And touched my hand with her nose.  Her wet, sweet little nose.  Our eyes met for a moment, and I'm sure I was just too amazed and enthralled to draw breath, but we were communicating in a way only the young and innocent truly can.  Then her mother walked up out of the woods, looking at me as if to say, "You screwin' with my kid?", nudged the fawn, turned her around and the two disappeared back into the woods.  The whole encounter probably lasted only two or three minutes, but I know I gushed the rest of the day, probably making my parents crazy talking about it relentlessly.  But I'll give them a lot of credit, neither of them ever told me what it would take me years to figure out, which is that park deer like that are moochers, and that fawn walked up to me because I was holding out my hand, and she was learning that often meant food.  Of course I would think of that fawn years later when surrounded by my own hoofed moochers, trying to force their way into my feed bucket and wondered if she was upset that I was in fact empty handed.  But for all my childhood, I lived in happy ignorance of all of that and thought that I had somehow been singled out by a divine force for an amazing experience.
An example of what stops traffic in Alberta

I took away from those few minutes the inviolate belief that there were forces at work in the universe greater than me, and I had been touched by them/Him (label it what you will) for some reason - call it a Destiny or Fate (remember, I was a nerdy child and read a lot of fantasy novels).  I just had to figure out what that destiny was - that was my quest.  That belief also helped my child's mind reconcile that pure, unsullied moment with the horrors of the world.  Because while I was reading all those fantasy novels, I also read a lot about the Holocaust and grew up with Vietnam being splashed across the television screen.  I had to somehow make sense of the clash of purity that the fawn represented with how ugly the real world could be. 

Of course, as I've said, I would eventually (but a whole lot later in life than you would think) learn and accept that there was nothing particularly miraculous or even notable in the fact that a deer approached a human along a roadway in a tourist destination.  Still, I tell myself to this day that a rather interesting set of circumstances had to set themselves up for that to happen exactly as it did...

So, do miracles exist?  Or do some things just sometimes happen at the right time for the same reason somethings happen at the very worst of times - pure chance?  I don't know, I really don't.  It's interesting to ponder though.  All I do know is, once again, Rush saved the day.  Sing us out Geddy...

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