Sunday, September 1, 2013


Leif Enger on Miracles in his book Peace Like a River.

     Let me say something about that 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.
     My sister, Swede, who often sees to the nub, offered this: People fear miracles because they fear being changed--though ignoring them will change you also. Swede said another thing, too, and it rang in me like a bell: No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here's what I saw. Here's how it went. Make of it what you will. 

Thanks Alison Klein for the book recommendation...and oh yeah, I still have your book. Love you!

Ironically, the aspect I love most about this excerpt is not the way it defines miracles, but rather that it briefly notes the beautiful intricacies of our everyday lives. We call them miracles; much like we say we love dinner or that it was the best day ever. Today it was important for me to remember to notice good things that happen every day. To notice them. To relish them. Not to call them miracles, but to remember that rather than be bogged down in the bad, we can choose to see the good. Ah, perspective.