On Miracles

November 23 2016

I don't believe in God. When I honeymooned in Greece, one-week after my wedding, my wife and I were participating in one of those sunset cruise tours and were swimming off the coast of Santorini. Foolishly, I had my ill-fitting wedding band on - a ring, that while having an insignificant monetary value, had been my grandfathers, and in the family for 60 years.

Aggressively paddling along, some 20 ft. (6.5M) from the coast (also a bit drunk), the ring slipped off and begin to plunge to the bottom of the jade green sea. I dove into the densely-salted water, eyes-stinging, frantically scanning for the thin gold band. The weight of the sudden implications of losing this ring, coupled with the superstitional significance of this happening one week to my wedding day, brought a level of fear to me unfelt in nearly 36 years of life.

I couldn't see it, couldn't find it.

Nearby, a fellow passenger on the tour saw me frantically pop up and shout to my not-nearby wife the situation at hand. He quickly dove into the water near me; I felt his motions underneath my treading and, in a scene reminiscent of a popular Tolkien novel, he ascended hand first through the emerald surface, gold ring in fingers.

People describe miracles as something that can only be designed by God, given to us through a favored intervention. When you don't believe in God, like I don't, it's easier to see that miracles are those rare moments in which luck beds circumstance and we have the sudden offspring of a moment of humanity, shining brighter than a star and blinding us, if only for a moment, from the ill and foul of our daily reality.

We’re capable of miracles, every day, and so are the people around you. But, don’t wait for a stupendous moment – recognize the miracles along the way and savor these as your reward for life; I, for one, am not trying to live a good moral life because I think there’s some cloud and lute laden landscape out there…

I’d like to think, generally, we’re a good species and that we want to make miracles. That evil isn’t inherent and the ill and the foul that often envelops us makes us do the dumb, selfish things. I know this instinct, this feeling: it’s easy to embrace it and indulge in dumb and selfish. But, I’m trying Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.

Finally, for those of us in the USA like myself, who might empathize with my political leanings, looking for and trying to make miracles might be something we want to strive for, particularly in the days ahead. Thanks for reading.

Arlington, VA
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