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Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true...

- E. Y. Harburg

August 21, 2012                                          

2012 seems to be the summer of love.  Among the three of us, we have attended over a dozen weddings in as many weeks! The simple joys of life - Love, Family, and Friends - are being passed to the next generation to create their own destiny. Joan reflects this month, not only on the value of promises for the future, but on a realization that the search for the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow may be no further than recogntion and acceptance of our own best self. 

            May the final days of summer bring you time to cherish those closest to you and a step closer to finding your own white rainbow.

Joan, Katie and Meb

            In addition to multiplication and writing in cursive, the most important things my third grade very Irish teacher taught me were Gaelic and all about leprechauns. I was fascinated by the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I had to know what was inside, for even as literal as I can be, I knew it wasn't money alone. I became a rainbow groupie, driving miles out of my way, tracking down the end of a rainbow to see where it would lead. In Hawaii, double rainbows cascade into the sea, in California's central valley, they abound regularly on my frequent drives between San Francisco and Pebble Beach, and Katie loves to remind me of Greg's white rainbow of possibility that I describe in prologue to The Miracle Chase when thinking outside the box is required.

           Recently I attended a beautiful wedding in the heart of wine country under clear skies, warm sunshine and in a spectacular surrounding where the ceremony had been personally scripted and choreographed to perfection by the happy couple. I was pleasantly surprised as they joined arms to exit down the wood-chipped aisle when the harpist accompanied them with the theme from the Wizard of Oz, Over the Rainbow.  At first I thought it was an unusual selection, but then I realized how appropriate is for so many aspects of our rapidly changing lives.

            As the landscape of my own life has changed over the years, like Dorothy, I knew, I wasn't in Kansas anymore. Whether shaken by literal or figurative tornadoes, our world gets turned topsy-turvy and we need to adapt. As we chased miracles, we recognized it was the Ripple Effect - the what you make of these life-altering events, the what happens next - that is important. A recent email to our website from one of our readers was a timely reminder of this sentiment, quoting the concluding words of the 2004 movie Saint Ralph, "If we're not chasing miracles, what's the point?" I had to laugh.  In addition to the fact that my father was named Ralph and possessed an uncanny ability to call me out when I was skirting around important issues, I have finally been able to admit that I spent the first several years of my personal chasing miracle journey apologetic that my miracle wasn't big enough or powerful enough when compared to some others'. Having witnessed the visceral reaction people have to our miracle stories, I now know that comparison is, and, never was, the point.  Like the Wizard of Oz, the point always has been in the searching, in following where the road takes us, and in the knowledge we discover along the way that makes it all worthwhile.

            We are often asked to describe the best miracle we have heard.  To make comparisons is part of our human nature, but miracles are personal. How can anyone say what is the most convincing, the most incredible, the most moving? It doesn't work that way. Even Teddy Roosevelt recognized that "comparison is the thief of joy." And no, my miracle is not bigger, better, or anything else, when compared to another's. Feel free to break apart the sum of the whole into miracle bits and make your own determination. In fact, you don't have to believe in my miracle to believe in your own - you just have to look inside and not turn away. If nothing else, a miracle must bring us peace - an understanding of tragedy, but also a view of the reverse side of the tapestry. The gift is that in that moment, that thought, transformation awaits and we begin to see into a part of ourselves that was always there - just hidden behind the curtain.

            People have told us we are brave to share the view into the part of our soul that is carried in our stories of the miraculous. It's ironic, since I am not typically brave at all. In fact, I am a life-long chicken; just ask my brothers who terrorized me as a child with wild animal sounds during hikes in forest, my mother who for years had to bring me screaming into the pediatrician's office, or even now, my husband, as we cross some terrifying mountain pass without guardrails to save us. The intensity of the stories that have unfolded before us continues to push me forward in my journey. Whether it was Katie's bus ride conversation with Rose Mapendo, the incredible survivor of the ethnic war in the Congo, a thoughtful young woman at wits end contemplating suicide, or most recently, a lovely woman who has endured more sadness than one thinks would be humanly possible with the horrific murder of her parents and siblings, somehow they all say thank you to us, for sharing and for allowing them the opportunity to tell their story. For me, it is beyond powerful, beyond humbling.  Instead of the cowardly lion's pin-on medal of courage, it feels like the hand of God.

            And yet, for all my chasing miracles, and rainbows as well, I never anticipated the recent experience I had on a return trip to Boston. Amidst a series of huge storms, thunder, lightening, hail, and tornadoes, it was a nerve-racking drive back to the city. I was trying to stay safely in my lane, all the while avoiding the ever-present puddles from Massachusetts' infamous potholes and dodging the huge surges of water bombarding my windshield from the oncoming traffic. With the sun on my right (fortunately, instead of in my eyes), suddenly I realized that there was the most spectacular rainbow on my left. From habit, I turned to see where the rainbow began and tenuously followed the brilliant colors to the apex and then down again. Incredibly, I became conscious that the far end of the rainbow was on the hood of MY car.  Over the next few minutes still traveling down the highway I was enveloped by a continuing burst of color emanating from the front of my daughter's trusty Volvo, I had an epiphany.

            We ARE the pot of gold! Like miracles (and marriages), it's the what we make of the changes in our lives that sustain and enrich us. In the same way that a rainbow is a reflection of water droplets, we are a reflection of all that has brought us to this point, this place. It was crucial to my spiritual journey to come out of the "miracle closet," to admit my experience was a miracle. In facing and overcoming my own fear of inadequacy, it has been possible to encourage others to voice their own experiences and begin to trust that no matter how difficult the past, dreams really can come true. 


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Joan, Katie and Meb
co-authors of The Miracle Chase
It's About Faith
"It is hope that I hold in my heart, which allows me to believe that divine intervention is not only possible, it truly exists."