I am a fan of the less is more philosophy.
I prefer chamber music to the full symphony, off-Broadway to Broadway and dinner with friends to a huge party.
Oh, I was wowed by Cats when I saw it on Broadway and Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, but I am much more inclined not to seek out the spectacular. Opulence and pageantry just don’t interest me that much. I generally prefer less to more and simpler to more complicated.
My preference for smaller also extends to miracles.I work in a cancer support center where I regularly talk with people who are hoping and praying for BIG miracles—say, a miraculous cure of stage four metastatic cancer.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in miracles.Years ago, at a healing service, the healer invited everyone to come up—even if we personally did not need healing. “Think of someone you know who needs healing,” he suggested. As I stood in the line inching toward this man who would lay his healing hands on my head, a woman I hadn’t seen for a few years popped into my mind. As I approached the healer, I pictured her and remembered times I had spent with her.
A few months later, this woman’s mother told me her daughter had been hospitalized and almost died a few months earlier. I remembered the healing service I had attended and prodded her for dates. You guessed it: her daughter started to get better at exactly the time I was at the healing service.
So, yes, I do believe in BIG miracles.
But I wonder if focusing too much on big miracles—perhaps to the exclusion of considering the possibility that the big miracle may not happen—might mean missing many of the little miracles that are happening all around us every day.Recently, I have been thinking about a family that came to our cancer support center last spring. The mother had lung cancer, and she and her two adult children were grappling with end-of-life questions. The three came together to talk. Then, over the next few months, they came separately, each needing to have someone to listen to their concerns, fears and hopes.
Shortly before the mother died, she came in with her daughter. The mother talked about wrapping her head around the fact that she was going to die soon and wondering how best to live until she died. The daughter talked about knowing that her mother was going to lose her life and that she was going to lose her mother. That level of awareness was amazing and their courage in asking difficult questions inspired me.
It may be a small thing—this one family dealing with sickness, death and grief—but their acknowledgement of their situation and the way they dealt with their mother’s illness and death was extraordinary.
Accepting the reality of their situation seemed to free them to live life fully—and that seems like a miracle to me.