This Day I’m Thankful for. . .

This day I am thankful for

The taste of water fresh from the sky,

The sound of the moonrise,

The crisp rocks of the Sandia Mountains,

My dog’s eyes when she wants a walk,

Bare feet on the carpet,

The absence of mail,

The first taste of coffee, and the second,

My son talking through the night,

My friend showing up unexpected while I’m working,

The smell of rotting apples on the dirt,

A spoon I’ve used for decades,

Everyone who is reading this,

Words,

Black type on a white screen,

The presence behind my mind that writes,

The feeling in my arms when that presence is in my chest,

Breath,

Each story in an AA room,

Someone’s whisper,

The young woman minister when she tears up,

The pain of peppers,

My bed in the afternoon,

The smell of fall’s first heating,

The nativity scene carved in a gourd, a gift from my ex-wife who signed it, “to my husband,”

The touch of the uterine lining my child grew in,

My Harris tweed jacket,

Each day I’m alive.

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A Vacation from the Self

A vacation is a time of respite, recharging, and reflection – a time to shift from the laptop to the whitewater rapids. For my daughter and me, last week was a time to leave the gold-brown hills of New Mexico for the dripping green ponderosa pine and white-barked aspens of Colorado’s western slope. A road trip for dad and daughter.

Most of all, it was a vacation from the self.

The self owns the working week and the self runs the weekend. Needs, obligations, and commitments. Chores, connections, and meetings. This is how we live, this is how we serve, this is how we grow. This is our life as we take care of each other, serve the needs of those who need, and practice the reaching out again and again.

The self is the thread that runs through it all even when we’re unselfish. The energy is not mine, the energy flows through me. I’m the one who must put myself to the work, to call on the powers that I don’t possess, and direct them to the good at hand. Not my good, but the good at hand.

I’m the one who must caution all that is yearning to go haywire. As I put my shoulder to the work – with energy I’m able to muster from some place not me – I’m the one who wonders if it’s me that yearns for chaos and collapse even while I work to keep things steady.

And so, a vacation from the self. I’m with my daughter, but this week, I’m not dad. We’re equal beings in this astonishing world. We’re in the green, skin glistening with the morning mist of the high mountains, amazed we’re here at all, tossing stones into a glassy lake and listening to the crisp splash thunder across these granite hills.

It’s Gonna Take a Miracle

D.H. Lawrence said just the fact we’re here is a miracle. I believe everything in this world is miraculous. Walt Whitman agrees: “To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.”

Sometimes a miracle doesn’t even seem like a miracle, but it changes your life. I went through a health crisis that left me believing it was a miracle that I’m still in this world.

A Course in Miracles states that miracles are normal occurrences. If miracles are not happening, that means something’s wrong.

Sumner Davenport asserted that thinking positively is not sufficient to bring real change. For that it takes a miracle. “Positive thinking by itself does not work. Your embodied vision, partnered with vibrant thinking, harmonized with active listening, and supported with your conscious action, will clear the path for your miracles.”

Phillips Brooks believes that we ourselves are the miracle: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.”

According to Saint Augustine, we’re in a land where miracles are natural phenomena: “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.”

Maybe a miracle is simply a reminder the substance of our world is divine. Dwight Longenecker said, “Maybe miracles are given not to prove anything, but simply to remind us that the physical world is not so solid and real and dependable as we think.”

It takes Buddha to say it so simply: “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”