WordPress, which is this blog host, has been running a weekly photo challenge with a theme to jog bloggers’ imaginations. This week’s theme is Self-Portrait. Since I’m allergic to having my picture taken (even by me), most of my responses have been off-angles, glimpses, shadows, reflections, and I’ve posted them on my other blog, A View from the Woods. The current photo, though, is actually one taken by my husband, one of the rare ones that I can bear to look at without breaking out in hives. (If you’d like to see it, click here.)
I like it because it features my amazing granddaughter Libby, and in my imagination we two are the Snow Queen (see my gracious queenly wave of the hand?) and the Snow Princess (Libby does it even better). And because it also features my snow-white hair. Since I was 20, I’ve colored my hair the deep red I thought God had always intended it to be, but had absentmindedly forgotten to arrange, letting it default to dirty blonde, or lackluster brown. I even developed a red-headed personality to match. You can imagine, then, my horror to discover in the past couple of years a REAL allergy, this one to hair coloring!
Almost a year of hat-wearing to cover the emerging roots and bi-colored hair, a year of grumbling and regret, only to discover when the process was complete, that I had indeed changed my life — for the better! It felt like at least a minor miracle, something I dreaded had turned out to bring fulfillment. (You can read it about here, on my second post ever on Touch2Touch, It’s the White Hair.)
But as soon as we use the word miracle, I think we’re conditioned to start looking for the supernatural and the supra-natural. At the very least, for the extraordinary. No wonder we find so few! I want to tell you a little story that seems to me a kind of Christmas story, a parable, maybe. Anyway, a kind of everyday miracle, which is the kind that I believe in. Bear with me?
We went recently to a festive Christmas party. I noticed that one of the guests, a vivacious person always active, vivid and lively, looked particularly good.
“Oh, you’ve cut your hair!” I said.
“Well, yes,” she said hesitantly, then added quietly, “Actually I’ve had cancer twice, and my hair is — well — you know, and so I’ve found a new wig, just what I was looking for. I was thinking about your hair, actually.” And then I looked harder, and realized that her hair was now shorter and whiter and styled in what was once called a pixie cut, in which she looks even better than she already had. Our hair could almost be twins! And just as I love my haircut, she loves hers.
I was happy to see her so happy, and I was touched by her story, and I went on thinking about it at home after the party. What came to me was the echo of a common enough saying, “I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” It seemed to me I had never really understood it before.
Once again I realized, hardly for the first time, nor I’m afraid for the last, how lacking I am in gratitude. I grumble over trifles, ignore my many everyday blessings, disregard the miracle of just waking up in the morning. Simple gifts of shoes, and feet, and hair —
This season in several faiths is a time of rejoicing, of festivity. A time of heavenly favors, we might say, for which we are grateful: a savior born, a temple reclaimed. A time of miracles. And my life as it is right now, this very moment is just that, a matter for rejoicing, of festivity.
To whom to say thank you? I don’t know exactly — but if I send my thanks out into the universe I am confident that it will somehow, somewhere be received. Like I said, a Christmas Story, kind of.
Do you believe in miracles? And if so, where do you think they’re found?
I wish all of you the most wondrous of Holiday times!