“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein
A Short Story…
The other day, Jan and I headed out to an early dinner. We had been doing some spring cleaning, prepping for the neighborhood garage sale coming up Memorial Day weekend.
We could have left the house at any time, but decided to head out at exactly 3 on the dot. Five minutes later, we embraced fate… or an unfolding Miracle… depending on how you want to look at it.
Immediately as I turned on 10th Avenue, I noticed a lump of something on the right side of the street ahead of us. As I drifted left and passed it, I asked Jan if she saw what was in the road. She said, yes, it was a dead goose. (We have hundreds of over-fed Canadian Geese on the golf course, so it would be the logical choice!)
I knew it was not a goose, so I immediately flipped a U-turn and drove up to it. “Wow,” I said, “I haven’t seen a snapper in Colorado — ever!” Especially one that was a good 50-60 pounds, and a full 4 feet in diameter!
As I approached it, it started snapping at me and released its giant claws. Menacing is the best word I can use to describe it.
My heart raced, as I told Jan that I was going to try to carry it back across the road to the pond in the open space. She thought I was nuts and told me to just push it to the side and get back in the car.
No, this turtle would not die on my watch.
I took a jacket out of the trunk and tried to grab the snapper towards the back. His giant mouth opened, and neck extend almost the full length of his shell.
He would have none of this, as he was willing to fight me every step of the way as I tried to help! Truly, he scared the bejesus out of me.
As a kid growing up on the Sandusky bay outside Fremont, Ohio, I had seen turtles like this almost every week. We used to watch them snap branches in their giant “beaks.” I was well aware of the risks, and instinctively, I knew I was not up to the challenge of moving this beast.
Because I parked in the middle of the road, I was backing up traffic. Some drove by, curious as to what was happening… rubber-necking with the best of them. Some sat patiently waiting… just to see what the moron in the silver Jag was going to do next!
Just as I was giving up hope for a happy ending, a Boulder County School District van pulled up, and a scraggly looking kid — maybe 19 or 20 years old — walked up to me and asked, “What are you doing with that turtle?”
“Well,” I said, “I tried coaching him back across the road. He refused. I tried to pick him up to carry him back to the pond, but he would have none of it.”
“Here,” he said, ” I will handle it. I just lost a pet turtle bigger than this, and I will get him back to his home.”
As the kid knelt down, the turtle pulled his neck and legs in, and went quite. The boy simply picked him up, and talked to him as he walked across the road back to the high reeds surrounding the pond.
Cars honked. I got back in the car, turned around and headed back to dinner.
In that instant, I looked at Jan and said, “What do you think the chances are that we would be there at that exact point in time… that out of nowhere a ‘turtle-whisperer’ would appear to save that snapper’s life… and that kid knew exactly what to do — and was capable of doing it?”
Miracle or Coincidence…
According to my trusty dictionary:
Miracle | ˈmirikəl | noun
• a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.
• a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences: it was a miracle that more people hadn’t been killed or injured.
Coincidence | kōˈinsədəns, -ˌdens | noun
• a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.
Personally, I believe that our faith is tested everyday.
Sometimes the test is on a grand scale where we struggle to meet the test. Sometimes, it is a small test of who we are… a test of our character.
As we so frequently like to say, there can be no Testament without the Test!
Maybe this was my inner-Jesus coming out, feeling the connection between what I knew was right for me to do… coupled with my innate desire to act accordingly.
Maybe, in that instance, I truly became the heart of Jesus on earth. I knew I could not become His hands… so He sent me that kid as proof that when we fully engage, in His name, the means for accomplishment will present itself. After all, He promised that “with God, All things are possible…”
Maybe that kid became the hands of Jesus in that instant — sent by divine intervention — to confirm to both of us that we are the Miracle.
The simple truth of the matter is that it was one of those wonderful experiences that caused me to stop for a moment and say, “Thank you Lord, for permitting me to honor you with my God-given compassion.”
In that moment, I felt like a Champion of Spirit-Led Success — actually WINNING my Faith Mission.
In that moment, there was no difference between my faith — what I believed — and my actions. I was, in that instant, the man God created me to be.