Anatomy of a miracle

I’ve been thinking about miracles. They’ve been in the air lately.

Miracles can be sublime. They can also be ridiculous. Miracles aren’t always what we expect. In fact, isn’t that the definition of a miracle?

I grew up with a definition of miracles that I’m not sure works any more: something wonderful that happens which cannot be explained by nature or science. The thing is, the more we understand of nature through science, the more we realize that things we do not understand now might not be extraordinary after all; we just don’t get them yet.

The miracle I’m waiting for right now is pretty prosaic: I’m waiting for a hedgehog to poop. He’s been poorly for a while, and he stopped eating a few days ago, and so everything has stopped, so to speak. I’m syringe feeding him and gently medicating him and getting poked and prickled no end, and when (not if – I’m hanging on to hope) he poops, I’ll be rejoicing.

And I’ll give thanks to God for cute little hedgehogs and their health. And I’ll give thanks to God for Alexander Fleming and his successors (because the hog’s on penicillin right now), and I’ll thank the immortal spirit of Alexander Fleming for paying attention, and I’ll give thanks for the hog breeder and the vet, who care about very small mammals very much.Sometimes, ridiculous little miracles happen simply because people pay attention; because they follow their dreams and work hard, and produce, for example, an antibiotic medicine which saves millions, countless lives, and which we now take for granted; an everyday little miracle.

The more sublime miracles happen when people persist in love. When they refuse to be overwhelmed even by death; when they allow resurrection to rise through them and reach out to lift up those around them. Maybe I’ll talk about those miracles another day, when they would be in nicer company.

Because some days, miracles can be as prosaic as poop.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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