We had a serious need for a mechanic. So I said a little prayer of petition requesting one and set about unloading the horses to make them more comfortable. About fifteen minutes later, a large RV driven by a tiny man accompanied by a very large woman holding a miniature poodle pulls into the turnout. The man climbs down from the cab and hobbles over to us. He asks for help to resolve an argument with his wife. They are lost and she insists they have already passed the town of Chester while he is adamant that they have not. With the help of our map and some loud conversation (he is hard of hearing), we provide the correct information and the man turns and hobbles 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 is a rather slow mover, 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.
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 the town of Chester while my friends stand open mouthed in wonder.
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".
The powers of perception and belief shape our lives more than we realize. May you see many miracles this holiday season.