News That Didn’t Make the Headlines: Ordinary Miracles
“Life is like a gift they say. Wrapped up for you everyday… It’s just another ordinary miracle today.”
–Ordinary Miracle (song lyrics by Sarah McLachlan)
“All these things that we call familiar are just miracles clothed in the commonplace.”
— Geodes (song lyrics by Carrie Newcomer)
I recently attended a fabulous event with speakers Susan Sparks, Author of Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor (2010), and Jane McGonigal, bestselling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (2011). Both speakers were phenomenal and offered a joyful approach toward health, healing, and wholeness. Like many people, personal struggles led them toward new explorations, discoveries, and insights.
Unfortunately, after the event, I started comparing myself to these women and questioning my own contributions (or perceived lack of contributions) in the world. Of course, that’s a dangerous path to go down because there are always people better off or worse off, and usually, if we knew the whole story, we wouldn’t want someone else’s life.
Luckily, I’ve had more than one person remind me that raising my daughters is a spiritual journey—and certainly contributes to the world. I don’t need to climb a mountain or live with monks. I need to do the best I can with the people I love. In fact, most spiritual leaders remind us to look within for that which we seek and to put it into practice in our daily lives. It isn’t always easy. Yet, it can be the most important work we do.
With that in mind, I want to give accolades to all the people doing ordinary yet miraculous things: Russ and Dorothy married 58 years; Teresa (with two young children) and Cindy (with a teenage boy) juggling single parenting with full-time jobs in the social work field; Gloria and Carol caring for their mother while she suffered from Alzheimer’s, finding a suitable place for her to live, and then being with her when she went into hospice; Marg overcoming spiritual wounds from a church that refused to accept lesbians; the many people coping over the holidays with the illness or loss of loved ones; the people celebrating the births of babies; the people venturing into new career paths after a job loss; and the friends and relatives in recovery programs who, just for today, have not taken a drink of alcohol or ingested a drug of choice—despite the increased stress and pressures presented during holiday family gatherings.
These are ordinary miracles worthy of the headlines! They are people who are remaining faithful in their marriages, working hard to guide their children along positive paths, building new dreams, healing from old hurts, appreciating time with family and friends, helping in their communities, and staying committed to their recovery. You probably won’t find their stories in the newspapers. But they are the finest examples I know of spiritual lives . . . in action.
In joy & gratitude,
Diana J. Ensign