Saturday, August 28, 2010

Coincidence? ... or Small Miracle?

The other day a book I had ordered arrived in the mail, "Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life." The introduction begins with:

"There are moments in life when we catch our breath and glimpse God's presence. Sometimes it is when we see the radiant face of a sleeping child, sometimes it is when we hear a fragment of melody that stirs awake an unfamiliar yearning. These moments - which flicker for a tantalizing instant and then vanish in a flash - convey to us a sense of the Divine.

Every leaf, every blade of grass bears God's imprint. But these days most of us are urban dwellers leading hectic lives, and have lost the connection to the earth that enriched our forefathers and helped them see God. Obscured by skyscrapers and the haze of polluted skies, we can barely see the stars, let alone sense a Divine Presence ..."

I don't believe in coincidences. As I have gone through life I have come to believe that everything happens for a reason, even experiences in my life that have been devastating and hurtful. I know I yearn for deeper connection with God, with the Divine. I try to practice being more aware, more present, more alive. Nature and photography have allowed me to feel God's presence and to notice more ... I captured the photo above of a frog camouflaged  ... blending in with the blades of dew-filled grass on an early morning by our lakehome at Wilderness Resort. I am sure I have walked right by the many miracles of life because I am rushing through life. Meditation, prayer, photography teach me to slow down and notice. And so I noticed this frog. I think he noticed me too but somehow he let me come closer and closer. As an teenager and even as an adult I have been terrified of frogs and toads. I remember my mom telling me a story as a kid that if a frog jumps on you it will stick to you and you won't be able to get it off so you'll have to cut your hand or arm off! I was traumatized. I'm sure my mom told me that story to stop me from playing with frogs, not that I remember even playing with frogs as a child in Thailand. Somehow, the morning I connected with this frog I was scared for a instant, then the fear left as quickly as it arrived. I was caught up in the moment - it was a miracle for me to be this close to a frog, and to not be filled with terror. It was a miracle for us to be within a feet of each other and both of us choosing to stay ... and so we stayed connected for at least 10 minutes.

While in Bimini last month, it was a miracle to be physically touched by a bottlenose and a spotted dolphin. My doctors tell me i'm 'lucky' that my body forms lumps and masses around the atypical cells in my breast because they are not showing up in any imaging procedures, and this has enabled them to remove the lumps and to identify that there are cells in my body starting to go awry. I don't think it's luck. Is it a coincidence that I had a dream that I had cancer in my left breast which then led me down the path of noticing a lump? Is it a coincidence that my father appeared in my dreams at the beginning of the year telling me that I had pancreatic issues, then a month later my GI doctor diagnosing me with pancreatic insufficiency after months and months of tests and procedures? I guess I could choose to believe they are coincidences or i'm just 'lucky', but I guess I choose to believe that there are messengers, Divine messengers, all around us, trying hard to speak to us, and waiting for us to slow down enough and open our hearts enough to listen, truly listen.

The book goes on "Coincidences have been variously defined as 'luck,' 'chance,' 'a fluke,' 'something out of the ordinary,' or a 'random conjoining of inexplicable events that defies our sense of reasonableness.' We firmly believe that coincidences are much more than simple accidents or quirks of fate. To us, coincidences are blessings, the spiritual manna that hosts of angels send down to illuminate our Path. They are vivid, striking, awe-inspiring examples of Divine Providence. They are acts of God.... For when a coincidence does take place, it is nothing more and nothing less than God tapping us on the shoulder, whispering, or at times even shouting: "I'm here! I'm with you!"

"Beyond nature, there are teachers - other experiences that can help us along our journey. These guides, beacons of light and signposts in the labyrinthine wilderness in which we wander, offer us gentle instruction and compassionate encouragement as they firmly propel us back to the path from which we may have strayed."

I continue to be in awe of the many miracles that show up in my life. The other night as I was driving home from a meeting I saw the full moon rise above the horizon. It was both magnificent in size and color -- a passionate burning orange. It felt so close and I longed to just reach out an touch what to me is a piece of God, a piece of the Divine.

Then I realized, God is always me. I have had a longing in my heart for some time now. I am starting to see that the longing I have is to feel and experience love at a Divine level. So it is that one morning while up north, a simple morning walk with my camera, blessed me with the gift of a connection with a frog -- a frog that previously would've sent me running and clenching up in fear, now brought me a surprising sense of calm and peace. Now ... don't get me wrong .. I think if the frog jumped on me I probably would've jumped too and run the other way! :) But that's okay, baby steps ... yes, baby steps for me as I continue to open up my heart to the Divine and Mystery and Beauty of the this awe-inspiring universe.

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