Sunday, March 17, 2013

On The Matter of Sunflowers And Miracles

It was the night before I returned to work from the Christmas break.  Two weeks of being home, waking when I choose, having my time be my own was quickly coming to an end.  There was anxiety within me as I knew the new Associate Principal was coming in and after 20 years of doing the same job, I really wasn’t looking forward to having to prove myself all over again.  I simply didn’t want my time off from work to end.

I tossed and turned as I tried to fall asleep.  I normally have a radio program playing in the background.  After so many years, its like the noise of the fan running, it just buffers out the night.
I finally drifted off to sleep.

I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of a man’s voice on the radio.  I listened as he told the story of driving with his son at night and the conversation they had.  I got the impression they were driving through a state with alot of open spaces.  Montana, Wyoming or some similar state.

The man told of how he heard his son say “Dad, I don’t believe in miracles”. 

“Why not?” his dad replied

“I’ve never seen one, I don’t believe they exist. “  his son said.

“I don’t see why not,” his dad told him “they are all around you.”

“I just don’t believe in them.”

“Have you ever asked God for a miracle?” the man said to his son.

“Well, no.”  his son said.   “Then ask for one” his father said.

“Ok God, send me a miracle” the son said.  “No” said the dad, “be more specific”.

“Ok, God, send me a miracle right now.” the son said.

“No, be more specific than that.  Ask God to give you a miracle in the next ten miles.”

And so he did.  The son asked God for a miracle in the next ten miles.   At the nine and a half mile marker, the father stopped the car.  “Do you see a miracle?” the father asked his son.  “No” replied his son.  “Look around, do you see a miracle?”  Again, the son answered that he did not see one.

“Look there on the side of the road.  Do you see that sunflower?  Its all by itself.  There are no fields of sunflowers yet there it grows on the side of the road.  That is a miracle.”

And that was the story that started this story.  I fell back asleep after hearing the man tell his story of a journey and a conversation with his son on the matter of miracles.  When I woke up, I remembered the story and as I was getting ready for my first day back at work, thinking about all the changes and the loss of my time at home, I said the words “God, I need a miracle, I need a really big miracle, I will take anything you’ve got , but send me a miracle.

With that, I finished getting ready for work and headed off to the campus.  We had a meeting scheduled for 8am with the returning faculty and administrators.  Within an hour, I heard from my Principal that the Associate Principal I was not wanting to deal with would not start working for us for another three weeks AND I was the winner of two door prizes.

Now mind you I seldom win anything ever.  In the span of one hour, I had not just one miracle but three.  I asked.  I received.

Coincidence you might say.  Perhaps.  I did ask and I did receive. 

For a month, I asked for miracles.  I talked to God every morning and I told Him that the blessing of His miracle for me would be much appreciated and that I would give Him all the glory for any miracle was His to send.   For a month, I saw miracle after miracle.  When I was  hungry, food appeared.  When I was so busy, time appeared and conversations occurred.  I needed to find a second job and an opportunity appeared and I got the job.  Even finding a very small baby squirrel and making sure it stayed alive and found a home with wildlife rescue staff seemed a miracle.

I felt compelled to share the story I had heard on the radio that night before the Christmas break ended.  It was almost as if I needed to tell it because someone else needed to hear it.   I told friends, I told acquaintances, I told anyone who would listen.  I just felt there was someone who needed the story.

I told Cindy.  Cindy was a lovely young woman, married and desperate to have a baby.  Try as they might, she was unable to become pregnant.  After months and month of trying and numerous doctor visits, Cindy finally become pregnant.  She miscarried a month later.  In her sadness, I shared the story as a story of hope.  She listened and we often talked about looking for sunflowers on the side of the road or in our daily journeys.

Two months beyond the night I heard the story, I began to question whether or not it was selfish of me to continue to ask for miracles.  We are taught to be humble before God and I wondered it asking for miracles every day was just and right to do.  I felt greedy so I stopped.  After all, things were going well and how could I feel good about asking for more.

Weeks went by and life returned to normal.  I went about my days, working my day job and occasionally my evening job at the local funeral home opening doors at visitations and handing out memorial cards.  Life was going well but it was pretty much void of the joy of all those miracles. 

Two days ago, I got ready for work as usual and I stopped and asked God for a miracle.  I assured him that I would know it was His work when I saw it and I would give Him all the glory.  I asked him for my Sunflower.

I went off to work and during a break went to the ladies room.  Its a small bathroom with a toilet, a sink , a chair in the corner by a table with an artificial plant and small shelf on it.   I sat down to relieve myself of the coffee I had had for breakfast and looked at the corner with the table.  There, on the shelf,  was a single Sunflower, just sitting there.  Perhaps it had been there all along but on this day, I saw it.  I saw the lone Sunflower.    All I could do was smile.  There was my Sunflower.

Great news came and Cindy was pregnant again.  With guarded optimism we talked quietly via text messages and I told her to be calm, be still and be happy.

When I saw Cindy today, I told her about finding the Sunflower in the bathroom.  She began telling me about her weekend and noted that what she was going to tell me would make me cry.  I was afraid her news would be bad but as it turned out, my tears did flow and they were of joy. 

Cindy had traveled to see her family in San Antonio.  While there, she felt a strong need to visit her grandparents grave.  She told me she had loved them so much and just wanted to visit them.  So she went to their grave site and was disturbed that it was unkept, leaves and sticks all over their graves and the picture of them that was once mounted under her grandmothers name was gone.  She said she must have looked like a mad woman as she thrashed around and dug through the leaves searching for the picture.

She finally found it and wept and talked to them.  She said she had asked them to watch over and take care of the baby she had lost and to protect the baby she now carried.  She asked that if they could hear her, she needed them to show her a sign.  She remembered the creek that was near their burial site and how much they loved that creek.  She made her way to the edge of the water.   She said as she neared the water's edge she saw it.  Three Sunflowers standing all by themselves.  Cindy got her sign.  She got her Sunflower times three.

I tell this story, this ongoing story for a reason.  Simply enough, we receive absolute miracles every day but most times we simply do not see them.  Sometimes its a magnificent sunrise on our way into our workday.  Sometimes its a quiet moment observing nature doing what nature does best.  Sometimes its finding a dollar when you need it most.  Sometimes its hearing a story in the middle of the night that not only changes your life but the lives of many others.

Go ahead, ask for your miracle.  You will be amazed at what happens when you do.

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