Trip­ping over mir­a­cles

Mir­a­cles are not about wish­ing. They are about see­ing, and they’re all around you. Just pause for a mo­ment and see for your­self.

Living Now - - Contents - by John Ptacek

Mir­a­cles are not about wish­ing. They are about see­ing, and they’re all around you. Just pause for a mo­ment and see for your­self.

“OH MY.”

This is of­ten my re­sponse to wit­ness­ing a breath­tak­ingly beau­ti­ful event – a blood or­ange sunset or a hawk sud­denly ap­pear­ing atop my backyard fence. The wheels of thought lock and my jaw mus­cles loosen. About all I have left rat­tling around in my brain are the words, “Oh, my.” They trickle out of me like the last drops from a teapot. I am an empty ves­sel, drink­ing in the beauty around me.

But are such beau­ti­ful mo­ments so rare? Only if I am asleep to the end­less won­ders bid­ding for my at­ten­tion… the rash of dan­de­lions crown­ing a dis­tant hill, the sweet jib­ber jab­ber of birds, the soft scent of laven­der, the tart taste of lime, a wisp of a cloud hang­ing like a foot­note in an oth­er­wise empty sky, ants par­ty­ing on pe­onies, a cool­ing breeze, the noon­day sun spilling bro­ken glass shad­ows on city streets, the trill of a pi­ano in the dis­tance, a can­de­labra of stars light­ing up the night sky.

Mir­a­cles, ev­ery­where I turn – but only when I am there to catch them. Only when I am pay­ing at­ten­tion.

The same gen­tly droop­ing daisy that zipped in and out of my field of at­ten­tion yesterday has cap­tured my at­ten­tion to­day and its quiet beauty stag­gers me, even though I have seen a mil­lion daisies be­fore. When I give it my full at­ten­tion it is as if I am see­ing it for the first time. I be­come deliri­ously lost in it. A ho-hum mo­ment bursts into an oh-my ex­pe­ri­ence through the sim­ple act of notic­ing. Per­haps this is the great­est mir­a­cle of all, this power to no­tice, to awaken a mind fa­tigued by repet­i­tive think­ing and flood it with a child’s sense of won­der. Per­haps the mir­a­cle is in the see­ing, rather than in the seen.

It took me a long time to wit­ness my first mir­a­cle. I had been imag­in­ing them as supernatural events, ap­pari­tions or mys­ti­fy­ing episodes of good for­tune. But noth­ing is supernatural. Nat­u­ral is all there is, from the dirt on my shoes to the in­fin­ity of space. And isn’t it stun­ning, ev­ery stick and stone of it, ev­ery feather and bone of it? The more of it I see, the more I run out of words to de­scribe it, ex­cept to say, “Oh my”, with what­ever breath I have left in my lungs. n

John Ptacek’s es­says ex­plore the un­ques­tioned as­sump­tions that limit our ca­pac­ity for hap­pi­ness. He is a writer based in Wis­con­sin, USA.

By John Ptacek

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