> Spirituality > Personal Growth

Seeing Miracles

May 9, 2009 | by Tamar Sofer

Have you seen your miracle today?

Everyone loves a miracle. I've noticed the multitude of new books on small miracles, large miracles, everyday miracles, unseen miracles, and miracles from heaven. Miracles imply that something powerful overrides the natural order of the world. Best of all, a miracle says, we are worth a miracle.

To me, miracles show that someone is definitely in charge here.

Perhaps we do not see miracles anymore. That's why we are publishing so many books on the subject. We need convincing now.

My husband, a laser physicist, tells me that scientists who study particle physics are more likely to become religious. Scientists are notoriously hard to convince of anything. Yet, when these skeptical scientists see the perfect, natural order of the world, they decide nano and up, that this world was planned. The marvelous design before them becomes the miracle they need to become convinced.

We go about our busy, daily business -- shopping, deadlines, baseball practices -- and we forget to see outside the lines.

Why then do we need a miracle? Perhaps we do not see the lovely patterns that particle physicists see up close. We go about our busy, daily business -- shopping, deadlines, baseball practices -- and we forget to see outside the lines. We simply do not notice. Star Trek movies depicted virtual food, but eons before that, the Manna in the Sinai desert had the capability to taste the way the Jews wanted it to, whether it was a charbroiled steak or a piece of brioche. We had to ponder what form the Manna should take before taking that first bite. It was all in the mind, not the software.

Entire spiritual movements have been built around mindfulness, or experiencing the present moment. Staying in the moment is important for prayer; still, when I tried to focus and stay in the moment most the time, I felt unsettled, as if I was stuck in a one-dimensional world. And although many people are leading fulfilling, purposeful lives, they still ask, "Is that all there is to life?". It may well be that when we do not see miracles, we have a vague recognition that something is lacking. What are we missing? How about, everything that happened previously to us?

I look back and see that when my mother died, my aunt moved into place and became the best mother in the world. I look back and see that after 11 years of grueling infertility treatments, the path my son took to his parents became the miracle. Those years taught my husband and me that, as a team, we could accomplish our miracle. And I look back once more and see how I was given the gift of more time. My cancer was found before it inflicted the damage it did to my mother and grandmother, all of us carriers of the dreaded BRCA gene mutation.

I look back and see how, although I was brought to the brink, God held out his finger and I grasped it tightly as he heaved me out of the pit, and handed me my miracle. I see patterns, beautiful, logical patterns that can work with or against the natural order of life. The acknowledgement of those patterns in my life brought me to believe in miracles.

You do not have to be a particle physicist to see miracles. We Jews continuously recount the miracles that led to our nationhood. The splitting of the Red Sea is part of the Jewish national history. This national memory helps Jews believe in miracles, and develop a stronger relationship with God.

We look back and recognize the miracles in our lives. We are very grateful they found us. And then we can look forward, and start creating a world in which miracles are able to flourish. Perhaps, when we all see miracles, these miracles will become part of the natural order of our lives.

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