The tide pool is a universe unto itself. I watch intently; see nothing at first but sand and a few shells and seaweed. I look again, patiently viewing a single spot towards one edge and am rewarded by the faintest puff. Something I cannot quite see is there, very subtly making itself known by simply breathing. Suddenly, something else catches my eye as it darts over the open sand towards a piece of seaweed. It’s a small fish and it has barely missed the tentacles of a purple sea anemone. Lucky fish! There is a hermit crab in this pool as well. She carries her home on her back, albeit a borrowed one. I smile, thinking that she can crawl out of that shell-house and into another more suitable one anytime she wants to. "Maybe that would be a nice thing," I muse. Then I recall that I need a garage to store my junk and decide that that kind of traveling light is too light for me!
The sun is warm; the air is clear and clean. This salty ocean smell comforts me more than any other -- more than cookies baking, or the smell of coffee, or roses. It is a smell made up of things living and dying at the same time, like Life itself. Where I am sitting, the waves lap against the lower edges of the rocky outcropping, and like a lullaby, the sound makes me sleepy. The most peaceful times of my childhood were at the ocean, walking by myself alone by the shore for miles, peeking into pools, exploring this mysterious other world for hours at a time. No wonder I sometimes tell people my true name is Mermaid.
This tide pool world makes me think of miracles. A ‘puff’ of an unseen presence, an escape from death, the random encounter that helps us to discover the next “shell” and move on. Each could be seen as a separate chance event as experienced by the fish, or the crab or the animal under the sand. But when viewed from above, I can see that the life in my tide pool is part of a much bigger web. Sometimes, by looking back at a situation, or taking a look at an event from another vantage point, we can see that a miracle has truly occurred in our life when we couldn’t see it before.
Maybe it’s also true that miracles are so closely related to the mysteries of Life and Death that it can be hard to talk about them. We fear being misunderstood. Under the surface, there is a lot going on but we’re not sure how to explain these extraordinary events in real life terms and time. Emerson talked about man's fear of being misunderstood, failing to present or discuss our original thoughts and ideas. “So what?” Emerson says, “Misunderstood! It is a right fool’s word. Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh." Speaking aloud about my miracle and finding deep friendship as a result of that choice has encouraged me to speak aloud about other truths and take other actions. I’ve developed a sort of Miracle Courage that helps me to stay more alive and engaged in the world than I might otherwise be.
It took the three of us miracle chasers working together to trust ourselves and our stories enough, to speak our miracles aloud, first to one another and then, through the book, to all of you. I am convinced that something happens in the presence of others who are willing to tell their stories; in each and every book signing event, we hear tales of how Divine intervention changed a life, created peace, felt like Love. People laugh, and they cry. They feel better, more alive, for having shared. When we open up like that, we learn that we are among kindred spirits, finding our way all together in the ocean of life. It feels good to talk about grace and learn about the Love that is all around us. As we open up, it gets easier to be more honest and authentic. We develop Miracle Courage, trusting that we really can be understood and that there is Divine Love holding this web of life together. This summer, why don’t you take the plunge—pull up a lawn chair and share your blessings with someone close to you—those times when you really know that you were touched by an angel or the saving hand of God. You might well become a miracle chaser yourself!