I have dreamed of the day when I would have the miracle story to share. When everything in my life finally came together, made sense, had a purpose. I have dreamed of the many ways it could come together, whether spectacular or commonplace, it didn't matter. As long as it happened, as long as I finally found someone to share my life, it didn't matter which way it happened or which novena finally brought it about.
That is the miracle story that we all want. The infertility finally being healed. The adoption going through. The struggling marriage being restored, and back better than ever. The cancer being wiped out forever. The vocation finally being fulfilled. The long years of suffering finally culminating into something amazing that never could have been without the suffering. The senseless finally making sense. Right triumphing over wrong.
We love those stories. We live for those stories, for ourselves and for our families and friends. We are even happy when strangers are able to share these stories. And you know what? We should be happy, we should rejoice in them, and we should praise the goodness of God in the midst of them.
In case you couldn't tell, today's not that kind of story. It is nonetheless the sort of story that should be cause for joy (not necessarily happiness), a cause to recognize the great work of God in our midst.
Mine is the story of the unanswered prayer, when the prayer is "God, it is not good for us to be alone, please send someone to share this life." He is silent, but He is present.
Mine is the story of learning to live a life that is far different than I had ever imagined or dreamed. I do not know that you can really say that this is "good" or "bad". It simply is. And He is.
My story is of days of not knowing how to go on, but getting out of bed anyway. That miracle doesn't feel triumphant or beautiful, but it is a miracle. Every single day, it is a new miracle.
My story doesn't make sense. Pieces of it are nice. Other parts are really not fun, but there is no overarching point to it. That's not to say that there will never be a point, but there is not one right now. He's still there.
Not too long ago, I felt the bitterness closing in and killing off anything that was good, twisting what was left. At this moment, that is not really the case. That is a miracle, let me tell you!
There have been so many times that God has felt far away. Actually, He felt lost, like I could no longer find His presence. And yet He was there. Right there.
I got to the point where I didn't want to go to church. There were times where instead of being a comfort, it made everything hurt worse. I admit that I haven't always been good about paying attention, and I have developed a terrible habit of running out before the last hymn is over, but the fact that I was there at all is a miracle. It wasn't a miracle that felt good or nice, but it was a miracle all the same.
How's this for a miracle: No matter how bitter and cynical I have been, no matter how much I have dreaded church, no matter how little attention I have paid, no matter how far away from God I've felt, He was always waiting there for me. He was waiting and desperately desired my presence. How's that for a miracle? Again, He was there every time, but most times, it didn't feel like it. The truth is still the same. He is there. Always.
I think that life is such that there are days where the stories of the miracles of our lives are dramatic and lovely and happy, yet I sometimes wonder if the other miracles are not just as big of a deal, if not bigger. The miracles that don't feel good at all; in fact, the miracles that we don't even feel at all, because the pain overrides. There are the miracles in the midst of the very thing that we wanted the least, whatever is making life so difficult right now. Sometimes I resent those miracles for not being the miracles I want, but hopefully I eventually come to accept them as the gift that they are.
I still believe the other story could happen, the story that feels like a miracle, the one that I've longed and waited for for so many years. If that happens, I want to rejoice as such miracles deserve, but I don't want it to be the only miracle in my life that I acknowledge. It's also possible that it may never happen. I've met people for whom that is the case. I've seen the pain in their eyes, felt it, and tried to keep the fear at bay that it may also be what happens to me. Whichever of these happens in the future, I can only live in the now. These are my miracles right now, and this is my miraculous story of God's love for me today.