FLOYD AND THE MIRACLE
Many years ago enroute to Mt. Lassen on a horse camping trip with friends, our old truck began to lose power on the steeper sections of the road. The truck, known as Floyd, was soon struggling to keep speed even on the level surfaces and we had no choice but to pull over in a fairly large but remote turnout. Despite our best attempts, we could not get Floyd to move at other than a snail's pace; no way he could pull the loaded horse trailer to our mountain destination. It was four in the afternoon on a Saturday in mid-summer. The horses were impatient, stamping their hooves. We were hot and tired and dreading the idea of spending the night on the side of the road.
We had a serious need for a mechanic. So I said a little prayer of petition requesting one and set about trying to make the horses more comfortable. About fifteen minutes later, a large RV driven by a tiny shriveled man accompanied by a very large woman and a miniature poodle pulled into the turnout. The man climbs down from the cab, hobbles over to us, and asks for help to resolve an arguement with his wife. They are lost and she insists they have already passed the town of Chester while he is adament that they have not. With the help of our map and some loud conversation (he is hard of hearing), we provide the needed information and the man thanks us and turns to head back towards his RV.
As I watch him amble off, my thoughts return to our plight. Suddenly bells go off in my head and to the surprise of my companions, I race off after the man. As he moves even slower than Floyd, I catch him before he gets back to his vehicle.
"Excuse me, do you know how to fix a truck?”
"A truck; do you know how to fix a truck?"
"What kind of a truck?"
"A Ford." I pointed to Floyd.
And without another word, he slowly makes his way to Floyd, climbs up the front bumper like a monkey and peers into Floyd's malfunctioning depths. Pulling a matchbook cover from his pocket to use as a tool, he does something for about a minute and then jumps down to tell us exactly what was wrong and that his jury-rigging will last until Monday when we can get Floyd to a garage. And then he rejoins his wife and poodle and drives off towards Chester.
Now, the miracle in this story is not that a man stops to ask directions and knows how to repair Floyd. The miracle is that I recognize him as the mechanic I had asked for even though his appearance is not in line with my expectations. He could have come and gone and I might have still been waiting on the side of the road for someone wearing overalls with "Mike" embroidered on the pocket. The miracle is in the perception. And this kind of miracle is available to us every day if we cultivate openness to seeing what is there. As Willa Cather wrote, "Miracles... seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming to us for afar, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that there for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always".