Monday, September 17, 2012

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Wednesday.
There are moments when something truly divine reaches down and gracefully intercedes in our lives. Like earlier this week when my front passenger side tire exploded going over a wild stretch of California highway. That car shook like the big one, like the whole damn thing was about to come apart. Graceful, divine intercession got me safely off the road, into a McDonald's parking lot and then another kind of magic took over.

I was sitting on the curb in shock, all rattled up, and no less than four people stopped to see if I was okay and offer their help. One kind man stepped in and threw the spare tire on for me, going so far as to take me over to the nearby gas station to put air in it. He even gave me a hug.

God makes miracles in all kinds of ways. Sometimes they are extraordinary, awe inspiring occurrences that ignite or reinforce faith. But far more often, they are subtle, quiet and quite ordinary, the result of the kindness and generosity of the people we encounter.

What makes these miracles extraordinary to me is the frequency with which they occur. I have come to rely on them, leaning heavily on the idea that people are basically good, that they can be trusted, that everything will work out well. I don't just rely on miracles, though, I expect them. I see the light in everyone and expect that they will shine for me. To me this is fair because I expect no less than what I strive to put out: kindness, gentleness, love. This is not always what gets reflected back, but people are nice to me so much of the time that I'm usually taken aback when they are not.

This is the power of expectation. Someone wise once said that worrying is praying for what you don't want.. Worries are simply the fearful symptoms of negative past experience or conditioning, and the expectation that everything remains the same, which is simply not true. Everything changes; sometimes so subtly that it's imperceptible, but it does. If you are looking for proof of the contrary, that the world is always an unsafe, unloving place, then you will find it. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that.

However, I submit to you that we raise our expectations. Why not expect happiness, safety, trustworthiness, kindness? This is a spacious expectation. If a person is very small and mean and rude, this expectation opens up plenty of room around them to grow in to their potential graciousness. Like anything worthy of our effort, this requires courage. Being kind necessitates softening and this can be mighty scary when you expect to be hurt.

For a refreshing change of pace, though, perhaps we can begin expecting to be supported and loved. Why wouldn't we be? We are worthy of this, as well as capable of showing support and love to others. Some people are more skillful at this; they have begun to fill in the potential gracious space around them. We all have work to do, though, and having more work do to than someone else does not mean that you do nothing, that you give up. It means that you begin right now. So let's get to it...

It is my expectation that you will be good, because that's what you are. It is my expectation that you will do good, because that's what you are capable of. I accept that you are not perfect, but I expect that you will do your work, even if it's hard and scary. I will support you in the ways I can.

Of me, you may expect that I will be good, because that's what I am. You may expect that I will do good, because that's what I'm capable of. Please accept that I am not perfect, but expect that I will do my work, even if it's hard and scary. Please support me in the ways you can.

We can be such miracles to one another, far more remarkable than the awing, divine sort because of how ordinary and easy our miracles are. It doesn't always take a lot of time or effort to save a life.

Do what you can. Do your best. Do it with love.
You are a miracle waiting to happen.

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