Friday, December 13, 2013

Miracles Happen

For months, across from where I sit here at work, there were bundles and stacks of cardboard boxes filled with books.  I'd moved items from one office to another and awaited bookcases.

The delivery of my bookcases was sit com like.  A number of times the wrong bookcases came.  I am not especially fussy but after a "special order" had been submitted what first arrived was just not what had been specially ordered. Then came a bookcase that was broken, then a third delivery arrived which also was not what had been ordered.  Finally, four months after they had been ordered two bookcases arrived from the North Pole or somewhere which I could have picked up at a local Staples in twenty minutes.

This past Monday I finished unearthing all that had been in the boxes and placed the books on the new hoo hah shelves in my office.  When I was done I took a plaque that I'd received as a birthday gift some years back, and placed it in a conspicuous spot on the shelves. The plaque reads, Miracles Happen.

I was not thinking of the arrival of the bookcases when I placed the sign on the shelves, though the message would have been apt.  I was not even thinking of the Patriots incomprehensible victory over the Cleveland Browns last weekend when the Pats were down 26-14 with two minutes left and managed to win 27-26 in a way that still has me shaking my head.  I guess if you cheer for the Miami Dolphins my sign would be apt as last week after collapsing on the last play like a bridge table burdened with an elephant, the Dolphins won when an unimpeded Steeler runner heading for a touchdown and a victory, stepped out of bounds inadvertently.

A few months back I was talking with my dad about a subject that I can't recall now. What I remember was dad's response to a quip I'd made that if such and such happened it would be a miracle.  His comment--"If it happens, it won't be a miracle."

Like his dad--my grandfather--dad is a non believer. Like me, he identifies with Judaism not because of any sense that it is necessary to adhere to a prescribed series of prayer utterances, but because of the need to identify with a population that has had its share of enemies.  Want to be clear that we Jews seem to still be around.

But as it relates to believing in an almighty, my dad, cannot.  His father was even less of a believer. My grandfather's simple response to religious adherence was a head shake and the comment "it's ridickalus."  So, when my dad says that if something happens, it can't be a miracle, he means that the "miracle" may seem miraculous but there really is some phenomenon that explains it.  We may not know what that phenomenon is yet, but there is a reason behind what appears to be miraculous.

I am not sold on this.  Not convinced.  I will not attribute phenomena to some omnipotent, omniscient source, but sometimes things happen and there can be no phenomenon that could explain it.

There is a subtitle on the plaque on my bookshelf that "miraculously" arrived after a four month journey in a meandering van.  The subtitle reads, "The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen."

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