I am celebrating a modern miracle today, thanks to medical science.
For years, I’ve been unable to see the world clearly. Without glasses, the world appears blurry from a distance. Up close, I need to take off my glasses to see what I am reading or writing.
I realize there are many whose eyesight is perfectly clear but cannot see the truth in front of them, but my problem was that my eyes were failing me. It was a problem I knew would get worse over time, until like my grandmother I couldn’t see much of anything.
The modern miracle is that I am having cataract surgery to restore clearer sight in both eyes. It’s literally a personal independence day for me. It is strange and wonderful to see things as if for the first time, an experience children and poets already understand.
My new clarity of sight has me thinking about miracles.
I know most think of miracles as supernatural events. One example might be when blindness is overcome by miraculous, spontaneous healing not explained by natural causes.
But there are other types of miracles, more natural in origin. The fact that an eye surgeon and staff could restore my sight left me grateful for the best of modern science. They helped me regain better vision, and that feels miraculous.
There are other miracles so common we often miss them.
There’s a story about Harvard Divinity School students doing research about miracles. Approaching a Maine farmer, they asked: “Do you believe in miracles?” The farmer paused before responding: “Yep. Saw one myself this morning.”
One everyday miracle is just waking up each day. It’s the miracle we often miss because it seems so ordinary, and we so asleep. The first advice of every wisdom teacher is simply: “Wake up!”
The day after surgery, morning broke outside my window in all its colorful glory. The white clouds stood against a blue sky. I watched a red cardinal perch on the green tree outside and noticed the golden flowers I had planted. Gratitude seemed a natural response to what I witnessed.
The words from Anne Sexton’s poem “Welcome Morning” have taken on new meaning for me as she describes sitting by her kitchen table watching the birds outside. She concludes with thankfulness for the simple gifts of life she often forgets to acknowledge.
“So while I think of it,let me paint a thank-you on my palmfor this God, this laughter of the morning,lest it go unspoken.”
Maybe if we took more time to give thanks for what we have and less for what we don’t, life would reveal its ordinary, everyday gifts.
John C. Morgan is an author and columnist whose columns appear in many papers and can be found at www.readingeagle.com