Friday, December 23, 2011

Write a new story

      This is the season of miracles.  A couple of days ago, hundreds of people gathered on a plain in Wiltshire county, England, just a few miles north of Salisbury to participate in a centuries-old tradition of welcoming the sun at the winter solstice.  For many early peoples around the world, the diminishing of the light during the autumn was frightening; whatever it took to keep the sun coming back -- well, it was miraculous.
       Likewise, earlier this week, Jews around the world began celebrating Hanukah, the Festival of Lights -- a centuries-old observance of another miracle.  During the Maccabean revolt against their Roman overlords, one day's worth of lamp-oil miraculously kept the Jerusalem temple lamp lit for eight days.
       And, in a few days, as they have for centuries, Christians will celebrate Christmas, miraculous in at least a couple of ways, Christians believe:  (1) God assumed human form, as well as, (2) a virgin conceived and bore a son.    
       Miracles rewrite the dominant stories.  Clearly, steadily decreasing light grows dimmer and dimmer until it is gone.  One day's worth of oil lasts one day.  Virgins don't conceive.  These were the stories that held sway . . . until something perceived as miraculous occurred.
       This line of thinking wormed its way into my head earlier this week as I read somewhere that we are at a time between stories.  The subject of the piece had to do with the seeming decline of the preeminence of the "story" of scientific materialism in the face of new discoveries.  From biology to physics to neuroscience, the material "facts" are being challenged by non-physical realities of the mind and heart.  The "old" story is not final, it would seem.  And so, I would argue, that is ever the case.
       There are major dominant stories aplenty in our world.  Shifting them MAY take a miracle.  But not every story requires a major miracle to change it; scientific discovery, poetic inspiration, or even a walk in the snowy woods, equally may bring about a new plot line.  Sometimes simply asking a question will bring about something new, something amazing, something . . . miraculous.
       Every so often I find myself mindlessly living in an out-dated story of my life.  Those are the times I know it's time to find a miracle-worker:  a friend, family-member or counselor.  Someone I can trust to ask just the right question that will serve to alter the course of the plot and create a new chapter.
      Students, lawyers, employees, lovers, parents, scientists, managers, politicians, athletes, clergy, doctors, mechanics, accountants  -- THIS is the season of miracles.  A time calling for new stories to be written and lived.  May we be inspired to "take up the pen"!

Seasons blessings,


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