Many people believe there is a certain number of criteria that have to be met before an event can be called a miracle. Personally, I feel that such criteria, while understandable, is a baited hook of programmed objectivity we've all swallowed. The very fact that there is a “you” looking, observing, and living this thing we call life inside of the human body is the greatest miracle of all. What criteria is there for a “you” to exist and why look any further?
Still, given our limited perspective, some things seem to be more miraculous than others. Because the miracle I Am, and the miracle that life is, defies explanation, we tend to look for more tangible and observable ways to measure them. The short story I am about to share will be viewed through your own unique blend of reality versus miracles. It’s up to you to decide. For me, there's no doubt.
Once upon a time, in what seems like another life, I stood on the shore of perhaps the best-hidden fishing pond in the state of North Carolina. It just so happened that it was also the property where I was living. As long as the water moccasins weren’t too aggressive that day, I could catch a meal of crappy (pronounced croppie) or bass just about any time I went out. It was a little paradise.
Armed with only some minnows from the local grocery store and a basic rod and reel, I knew exactly where to throw my line. I began to sing "go on take the minnow and run" to the tune of Steve Miller's hit song “Take the Money and Run.” It was a fish favorite.
Normally I would snag a fair-sized dinner entrée, but occasionally I would reel in one that was too small and have to toss it back. Such was the case one beautiful afternoon as I settled into a well-worn area of tall grass on the bank of the pond. Waiting for that exciting whine of the reel to begin, I pondered the words and inspiration of Paramahansa Yogananda in the classic book Autobiography of a Yogi.
In it, Yogananda’s devotion to the feminine aspect of God called Divine Mother inspired me to regularly think of her as walking by my side and talking with her as though she were ever-present and always available. She became my constant companion.
Suddenly my reel began to whine as the line spun off and darted around the water. A quick jerk and I knew (or thought I knew) I was bringing in dinner. Much to my surprise, a small bluegill hung from the hook. I couldn't figure out how a fish that small managed to swallow a minnow that big, all the way down into his stomach!
Knowing the odds weren’t good that I would get my hook out without killing the poor thing, I began very carefully to manipulate its barbed structure out of his body. Finally, after much ado, the hook was out but the fish looked dead.
I threw him back into the water and watched him carefully to see if I could detect signs of life, but he just laid there floating on the surface. Still, I kept hope because many times I had witnessed a fish lying still for up to a minute and then suddenly dart away. But in my gut, I knew this one might not make it. I felt horrible. One minute, two minutes, three minutes, and then, I put my pole down. He was still floating without the slightest movement. I began to pray for the fish to be healed.
A deep sense of grieving began to well up inside of me as I prayed with increasing intensity. I pleaded with the Divine Mother to honor my intentions and show me that all things were possible. At least 10 minutes went by with no results. I had never seen a fish spring back to life after such a long time. Still, I refused to give up. Yogananda’s living relationship with God seemed to have inspired me to a new level of belief. Then suddenly, the fish shook off his dream of death and dove deep into the water.
You decide, miracle or fluke? 10 minutes is a long time.