Midweek Musings

Life as a Miracle

     Once again we find ourselves in the month of November and I’ve discovered that a number of my friends are using the entire month as an opportunity to make space for gratitude on a daily basis. I have also found that gratitude as a spiritual discipline is a direct path to joy and have been working on honoring thanksgiving as part of my prayer life and in my relationships.

As I continue to work on my spiritual discipline of gratitude I am reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein. The great scientist 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.” I like the sentiment; and in gratitude, I seek to live my life in the latter mode, as though everything is a miracle. It isn’t easy. Often there are things that do not seem at all like miracles. Instead, they seem mundane and ordinary, disappointing, and not very interesting. But if I choose to live life with grateful intention, if I choose to live a life practicing the art of gratitude, then following Einstein’s equation and seeing all of life as a miracle is a good foundation upon which to build.

I once officiated at a funeral for a man who lived to be ninety-nine. In all of his years, he chose to see life as beautiful and new and miraculous. I remember hearing from his wife how he would see a flower or a sunset and would say, “Would you look at that?” and “Isn’t that something?” It was as if he was seeing a flower or a sunset for the very first time. His wife laughed when she shared this memory with me, adding the reflection, “He was like a child in that way,” she said. “He taught me how to see the world.”

Gratitude isn’t just being thankful for the good things in our lives. It isn’t just being thoughtful, having manners, and writing notes of thanks for the things others do for us. It isn’t even a litany of gifts that we list in a prayer for which we say thanks. I think gratitude is more than counting our blessings and naming them one by one. I think gratitude is a mindset, a way of encountering the world, a complete way of life. You can either see a day as a miracle, the flowers and sunsets as new and breathtaking, or you can take the stance that a day is nothing very special at all. I’m working on living life like the ninety-nine year old man who kept his child-like way of seeing the world. Who knows, maybe with a little help from Einstein I’ll get to that mindset eventually. And trust me, if that happens, there’s my first miracle, right there.

You are the light of the world.