ESSAY

Week 3

In the Miracle Business

by Ted, CLF member incarcerated in Alabama

Ask most devout Christians, and they will tell you that God is still in the miracle business. When I hear that, it warms me. It feels old and familiar, like a visit to Grandma’s house. A miracle is like a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Nothing is better when you’re down or sad or even lonely.

But wait. The miracle of chocolate chip cookies came from the person who baked them for you. Could it be that people are still in the miracle business? When we do something for another person by filling a need, lending an ear, selflessly giving our time, we perform countless miracles and in so doing are blessed as well.

This simple truth sometime eludes me. I get so into my problems, my desires, and my own pity that it overwhelms me. I recently received a one year set-off from parole, which means that I will be incarcerated for another year before they will review me again. As you can imagine, I felt disappointment and sadness. And I cried out to God to fix me. Nothing happened.

Now I’m not discrediting God’s ability to heal hurt and pain, but I’m seeing that my healing has less to do with asking and more to do with...well, doing.

I got involved this past weekend as co-chair of the 69th Anniversary of the Pathfinder’s AA group here. Getting busy, being of service, helping others was the miracle that I needed. In those four hours I got outside of myself enough to see my life from a better vantage. And we even had fresh brownies.

Recently we lived through Hurricane Harvey. It touched the lives of nearly everyone I’m close to. The news was filled with miracle after miracle for days on end. Each miracle was made possible by selfless acts without regard to age, race, sexual orientation, or legal status.

The scene that touched me most was of an immigrant family that had made warm homemade soup for the evacuees. The sweetest little girl held the sign: “Free Warm Soup,” with hand-drawn hearts. It brought tears to my eyes then, just like it does now. Warm soup!

So the next time you are in need of a miracle, make it happen not by asking but by doing. Throw in some cookies or brownies or soup and you’ll be amazed at how the blessing you intended for someone else will indeed be a miracle for you.