I have a very clear memory of the first miracle I ever experienced, when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. I was taking a shower, washing my hair with Johnson and Johnson's Baby Shampoo, the only shampoo I had ever used. I was intrigued to discover that there was a new bottle in the shower, with a picture on the outside of a dashing man with dark hair and a sharp part along the side. I didn't know what it was, but on a whim, I squirted out a glob and put it on my head. To my great surprise, it made my squeeky clean, tangled hair smooth and easy to comb. Of course, I just had my first experience of conditioner, but the thought that went through my mind was, "This is a miracle." I can still remember the sense of awe and gratitude I felt.
I realize, of course, that conditioner is just a human invention, and now when I remember that story, I feel a little embarrassed. But last week I had another, similar experience, and a similar reaction. I inherited an old rocking chair from the office of my last job three years ago, and have been meaning to refinish it ever since. I started on this job two weeks ago using a very noxious chemical that removed the old finish only after I rubbed it on a small section of the chair for about five minutes straight. I was looking at a very long, unpleasant process, and I was feeling pretty unhappy about it.
Then, one evening last week, it occurred to me to buy a power sander. Rosa and I had a great mother-daughter trip to the power tool section of the Lowe's, and the next day I gleefully sanded off the finish from the whole chair in a couple of hours. I actually got a little teary when I realized how well it was working. The sense of awe and gratitude that I felt reminded me strongly of my first "miracle".
And now I have another one to add to the list. Yesterday, I accidentally spilt an entire cup of tea on my laptop, which was then pronounced dead by the geniuses at the Apple store. As a last ditch effort, I propped it open in front of the heater in my office for a couple of hours, and when I returned, it worked perfectly. Again, tears of joy.
None of these events constitutes a miracle in the traditional, Biblical sense. All of them can be explained without having to appeal to divine intervention. But in a way, that doesn't really matter to me. Each event surprised me. Each delighted me. And for that reason, each experience gave me practice in welcoming unexpected goodness into my life, and nourished my capacity for gratitude.
I hope I never stop experiencing these minor miracles.