One year on my annual silent retreat, I shared with my spiritual director a memory that surfaced during my prayer time. He suggested that memories often hold invitations for some new insight or understanding, and he encouraged me to spend some time with the memory to see if I could learn something new.
Since then, I have tried to pay closer attention as memories surface. I often write to the person in the memory—even just a note to say, “I am thinking of you”—and I try to keep the memory present to see if it is offering some insight or invitation.
Over the years, I have come to see a similar invitation when random conversations or events happen more than once in a short period of time. This past week was such a week—three times, I found myself talking about miracles.
I believe miracles happen, but I don’t often think about them or talk about them. Yet, three times in one week…I decided I needed to pay attention.
While pondering these conversations about miracles, a woman I once lived with came to mind.
Her name is Catherine, and we lived in a housing coop designed to bring together people who have developmental disabilities with those who don’t. Catherine was in her thirties, and she relied on others to meet her basic needs. She lived on the first floor of a large house with a couple who saw to her daily needs, and I lived in an upstairs apartment.
A year or so after I had moved out of Catherine’s house (and to another state), I attended a healing service at a local church. I wasn’t looking for healing for myself but went more to support the person who had organized this event.
During the service, we were all invited to come forward to be prayed over. The presider said that even if we were unaware of where we might need healing, we were welcome to come forward. Or, he said, we could call to mind someone else who needed healing and think of that person as we were prayed over.
Just then, Catherine came to mind. I hadn’t been in touch for months, so I did not know if she was actually sick, but I walked forward thinking of her.
A few months after that prayer service, I was talking with Catherine’s mom, and she told me Catherine had been in hospital for an extended period and no treatment seemed to be helping her get better; they believed she was going to die. And then, miraculously, she said, Catherine got better.
I remembered the healing service from a few months earlier and asked when this had been.
Catherine’s mom remembered the exact date because the change in Catherine’s condition occurred in an instant—it was the same time I was thinking of Catherine and being prayed over.
I don’t know why these conversations about miracles occurred, but I am grateful for the reminder that miracles do happen.