Everyone wants a miracle and rightfully so. They wait for the earth to shake and for a crisis in their life to disappear or to be blessed by a wondrous event. These earth-shattering experiences do happen but, more often than not, miracles come in small packages. They are all around us, everyday. We only have to be willing to see them.
The definition of a miracle is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explainable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.” I live by the adage that my glass is half full rather than half empty. That being said, it has always been easy for me to accept phenomenon that can’t be readily explained. As the saying goes, “Just believe.”
Just recently Nolan Blackman, who lives just down the road from me, recounted a story that is a perfect example of these small wonders. His grandfather Leo Blackman had a soft spot for cedar trees. He also wanted to do something for each young man from his neighborhood who was called to do his duty during World War II. Thus, he planted a row of nearly two dozen cedar trees, one for each soldier who went off to war. Of all those trees, two died. Of the young men who went to serve, two never made it home.
Since the trees all got the same amount of rain and sunshine, there was no disease and all other factors were the same, I can’t believe this was coincidence. Apparently, the Branch County Road Commission doesn’t think so either. Since the row of trees was pretty close to the road, in the interest of safety, the trees were slated to be cut down. After the workers heard this story, they decided not to cut the trees. To this day they still stand. To me, this is a small miracle.
The trees planted by Nolan's grandfather.
Nolan agrees. In his words, “Cecil Black, my grandmother, was very dedicated to the Lord. I just think there is a divine connection here.”
Abe Cline, a farmer from this area, offered a similar experience. He was a prime example that you can take the farmer off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the farmer. When he and his wife could no longer work the land, they were forced by circumstances to move to town. Instead of planting beans and corn, he put his heart and soul into growing flowers. He had a long and narrow yard that ran along the banks of the St. Joe River. Every year he planted 100 daffodil bulbs on that bank.
Soon all of the bank that he owned was ablaze with daffodils every spring. It was a sight to behold. The year after he passed, there were only a few blooms. To this day some of the green plants sprout up each spring but there are no blooms. I know from personal experience how low maintenance daffodils are and how hard they are to kill out. No one can offer a logical explanation on this one either.
I remember when I was growing up there was a gentleman who had a towing business in the area. He drove the tow truck everywhere he went and people just knew that where you saw one you saw the other. When he passed, the family decided it was only fitting that the tow truck should be part of the funeral procession. They washed it, tuned it up and made sure it was in top-notch condition. It ran fine going to the cemetery, up until everyone was ready to leave. There was no reason for it not to start but it wouldn’t budge. To say the least, this incident was a bit humbling.
I’ll bet when it comes down to it, everyone can think of an incident that just can’t be explained by the laws of nature. You know, you think of someone you should re-connect with and before you can dial their number, the phone rings and it’s them. Or maybe you and a friend are sitting around talking and you both get the same thought at once.
Everything, everywhere is connected and if we’re really conscious of our five senses, there are a lot of small wonders we can experience each day. Albert Einstein once said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Quite a phenomenal quote from a scientist!
There is so much more to life than black and white and what we see with our eyes. It’s that gray area in between that holds the wonder and the miraculous; the part that gives us hope for something bright and encouraging in a sometimes mundane world. Nolan’s story is the perfect example of the small wonders all around us if we are only perceptive enough to see. Events like these aren’t earth-shattering, they don’t make the 6 o'clock news, but they are still extraordinary in their own right. There will always be some skeptics who chalk every unexplainable incident up to coincidence. Not me, I prefer to see them as small miracles…it makes life so much richer.