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Finding Dinosaur Bones (and Other Miracles)

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

When I was little, I believed a tiny patch of trees joining my backyard to Christopher's had a secret buried underneath it. Many summer mornings, Chris and I would meet with garden shovels in hand and proceed to dig and dig until his mom would call him in for lunch. Sometimes, he'd get bored and ask me for the hundredth time, "Why are we doing this?" Without missing a beat, I'd say, "Because we're going to be the first kids ever to find a dinosaur bone." I wanted to add, "not just one bone, but a full skeleton of maybe a Stegosaurus and we'll have a team of scientists wanting to interview us because we looked where no one has ever thought to look. It will take days and days and days; maybe the whole summer! It will happen; you'll see." But, I always kept that last part to myself. No sense, scaring off my best friend with the idea of too much work.

Summers came and went and we spent less time digging but I never lost hope that life carries mysterious surprises just waiting to be uncovered. One day while digging alone, my shovel hit upon something solid that wouldn't budge. I kept working around the solidness until I could pry it out. For a split second, the sounds of the neighborhood stopped; time froze; my eyes stayed locked on the object as my heart paused. Then, I let out a scream that surpassed my seven year old lung's capacity, "CHRISTOOOOOOOPHEEEEEEERRRRRRR!!!"

My blood-curdling shrill brought not only Chris but his mom and sister too. I held up a cream-colored knobby- looking object and proclaimed it the ball joint of a small dinosaur! I think I heard his mother swear in Italian under her breath as she grabbed both her children's hands and dragged them away from the delusional neighbor-child, back into the house with the slam of the door.

Her response to my magical moment didn't squelch my enthusiasm. It did, however, teach me that not everyone was a believer in inexplicable hidden surprises. As I got older, I knew the "bone" was truly a stone but I kept it in my nightstand all the way through high school as a reminder to remain awed and impassioned about the simple things in life.

I asked two of my kids this week if they believe in everyday miracles. One said, "You ask too much out of life Mom." The other paused and said, "I'm not sure what I think." One statement; one confused retort; neither answered my initial question. For a moment, I was sad. But then I remembered that some people forget they have a choice when it comes to seeing the miraculous. We can choose to view life's synchronicity, events, and unfolding as random and mundane. Or we can choose to look deeper and see something mysterious and beautiful. Admit we don't have clear answers to how and why things happen yet remain grateful for their appearance. Be open to being surprised and expect the unexpected.

Every morning, I wake up and say, "I welcome and expect miracles today." I now also remind my kids of this statement before they walk out the door. It's taken a few times before the eye-rolling got replaced by smiles and giggles. I can only hope that it serves as a nudge towards their continued choice in life. See what other people choose not to see. Remain in awe of life's beauty and perfect timing. Remember that miracles happen every day.

I guess you can read this and dismiss this type of outlook for life. But can I ask you this? Are you happier thinking the opposite? I understand, some of us don't want to believe due to past betrayals, disappointments, and fear. We've begged for miracles to happen for a sick family member, or to help us get out of debt, or to save something we feared to lose. But maybe believing in miracles isn't like ordering off a menu ("I'd like one miraculous healing, one windfall of money, and a side order of one faithful husband, please.") Maybe choosing to believe in the wonder of this world means staying open to the moment and finding sheer joy from its alignment.

I trust that miracles happen. My life is a testament to miracles. So is everyone's. We meet the right person at the right time; we miss an appointment only to find we're in the right place for something more important; opportunities show up when needed; the sun shines just as the ceremony begins; a stranger becomes a friend; information is given before we even asked; a helping hand is extended when we've fallen. The list goes on and on.

This Friday's full moon is another chance to let nature shine its light on the miracles in your life. Can you see them? Will you choose to see them? The choice is yours. Happy Miraculous Day! May you be steeped in awe and wonder today and everyday.

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