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I must be willing to look between things
and not always at them,
since a direct gaze often misses
what may be glimpsed at the corner of the eye.
- Barbara Brown Taylor

September 20, 2011                                          

           On SeptOnOn September 9th the three of us spoke in Denver at Eclectics, a women's group now 500 strong, organized 30 years ago and whose current mantra is from Mahatma Gandhi,  "Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever."  We appreciated the invitation to contribute to their "eclectic" speaker topics and share in the group for a day.  As is usual, wherever we go, we loved hearing their stories and learning in return, as Katie explains.  
Joan, Katie and Meb 


                 Most of us have stopped and asked ourselves the question, how would today be different if, in fact, we knew we were to die tomorrow? I’m guessing our answers would mirror the old adage about death bed wishes-no one would say they should have spent more time at work, or wasted more energy sweating the small stuff. I think most of us would spend our last hours in the space between, a place where deepest meaning resides and awareness is at its most acute, where key moments are savored long enough to catch a glimpse of something unexpected out of the corner of our eye. I believe our understanding of miracle stories comes from this space, from the “spirit of the depths” as Carl Jung would say.

          After our Eclectics talk, one woman told me that she was rethinking an experience she had years before when an aide in her doctor’s office literally harassed her to come in for a blood test after she suffered a late stage miscarriage. She would rather have skipped it because going back to the doctor rubbed salt in the wound of what she had lost. The calls from this woman at the doctor’s office were relentless and she finally went in for the test. It led to the diagnosis of an early stage uterine cancer, the timing of which saved her ability to have more children.

          Another woman reminded me of the ‘miraculous’ stairs in a small church in Santa Fe and wondered if I knew there was an exact replica of these stairs-and a similar mysterious story surrounding them-in a tiny village in Senegal, West Africa. In both cases there were no nails used, the angle of the stairs required for the limited space was quite impossible to devise, and the completion of the stairs by a stranger who seemingly appears-and then disappears- out of nowhere. This same woman, who described herself as not religious, relayed an experience she had when she was at her lowest point, lying in bed hoping to recover from ovarian cancer. All of a sudden she recognized the image of Christ in the contours of the crystal chandelier on the ceiling, and later in the grains of wood on her oak closet doors. She decided she should pray- for mental health or physical wellness I’m not sure! In any case, she recovered and has not encountered the strange images again.

          Meb heard a story from a woman whose car broke down in a dangerous neighborhood at night. She had no phone and saw a church nearby. Going in, she encountered the pastor and his wife and asked them to help her.  “We’ve been waiting for you,” said the pastor. Just then a stranger came into the church, walked up to her, and placed his hands on top of her head, whereupon she felt a warmth and peace engulf her. The three helped start her car and got her safely on her way, but the night was an epiphany for her. It changed her life and she initiated a nonprofit organization helping others.

          Another woman asked me if I thought I somehow attracted miraculous or coincidental experiences into my life. “No,” I said, “but I think I am more aware and certainly open to different interpretations of events.” 


           At dinner that evening with David Weddle, a professor at Colorado College, he suggested that awareness is the first important step toward mysticism.  Next thing you know we’ll be communicating from 7th heaven.

          And this is but one day on the magical miracle tour!

          Because of The Miracle Chase we have the distinct advantage of being reminded again and again that we are not Alone, though I am all too often aware of something C. S. Lewis said: “And yet…it is that and yet which I fear more than any positive argument against miracles: that soft, tidal return of your habitual outlook as you close the book and the familiar four walls about you and the familiar noises from the street reassert themselves.” After all, odds are, you will not die tomorrow, and there is no real need to live in the space between. And yet, it is another and yet which reminds me that as the miracle stories keep coming, we will keep writing about them, happily revisiting the space between.

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Joan, Katie and Meb
co-authors of The Miracle Chase
It's About Faith
" As we speed through life, even the smallest miracle can make us stop and listen, remind us that all the noise and busyness we create is just the sideline. We belong to a bigger pattern than we can imagine, and sometimes the picture becomes clear, if only for a moment."