it isn't that i have a seminarian
degree in the theology of miracles or that i have abundant
knowledge about the miraculous nature of God that gives
me the audacity to speculate about 'miracles'. Certain
circumstances however, though sometimes regarded in the
short term as merely co-incidental, when viewed from
50 years of age and almost half of that within a Christian
perspective, tend to acquire a certain sensibility.
a friend once told me that a coincidence is an event where
the author wishes to remain anonymous. i suspect he meant
the word author to be capitalized.
it's 1950, i'm in this movie theatre in Birmingham, Michigan. I'm
12 maybe 13 years old. the film is over, and so's the exciting
episode number eleven of rocketman, and now i'm watching
the end of the movietone news. there are flags waving as
the camera lense turns toward us the viewing audience and
as we are 'zoomed' in toward it's inquisitive glass front,
the theme plays and i respond by leaning in (at approximately
the same rate) toward the screen. as the lights come on and
i stand up from my corner seat, i glance down and spot a
brand new shiny 50 cent piece laying on the carpet. 'aha',
i muse silently to myself, 'a reward from the film gods for
interacting with them!' i lean forward maybe 20 or 30 times
more during the next several years of movienews watching.
soberingly, there are no more monetary rewards.
i'm told that connections like this for a child are commonplace
and throughout the first 16 years or so there is a process
of weeding the illusionary from the reality for us 'rocketmen'.
i suppose that even as adults we are trying to separate the
real from the illusionary...preferring to conduct ourselves
as missourians (only believe what i see) so as not to appear
too foolish when some oasis or another vanishes.
one of the costs of pride i suppose is to lose touch with
our belief system. PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON spoke to the
child in all of us and in an abstract sense succeeded in
opening up the door of our imaginations at least to remember
how it was to invest our private concerns in a companion
who was always there.
yet, prayer inevitably yields results. either directly by
a seemingly immediate answer (though seldom as specifically
as we had designated), or indirectly by the prayer's effect
on our lives by the praying. sometimes these results are
called a miracle...dependant, i suppose, on how probable
we had assumed its enactment.
if prayer takes the form of a beseeching conversation with
God, then it strikes me that there invariably is the 'give'
part and then there is the 'give me' part. the 'give' part
is worship and thankfulness and grace around the table and
relief when one of the 'give me' prayers have been answered.
so much for the 'give' prayers. now, i've pretty much seen
my 'give me' prayer life evolve in three steps: the first
delivered up to age 9, called 'if You're REALLY there would
you give me that little dog that i saw in the window yesterday',
the second used from age 10 to...well, actually i was still
praying this prayer up until i was 30, 'if You get me out
of this i'll never do it again', and finally the one that
took me so long to learn, 'Thy Will be done...'
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