A Short Story About a Minor Miracle
After finishing my book at lunch yesterday, I went to Parnassus to get a new book (shout out to my seniors from last year for the gift certificate). After lingering among the shelves for as long as I could, I made my selection and headed to the cashier. After handing my book to the woman behind the counter, she noticed my Furman shirt.
“Did you go to Furman?”
“I spent some time there as a child. My father played football for VMI and growing up we used to go to all the games they played.”
We then had a nice little chat about her dad, how her father used to always encourage her that there would be a next year (VMI is traditionally not great at football), and I talked a little about my sons and the lessons we try to instill in them. It was a short conversation; maybe two minutes. It was not anything that is going to set the world on fire. We wished each other a good afternoon and I stepped out under the bright blue sky with my new book in hand.
I began to think about the random assortment of events that let to that short exchange. Her father had to play football at VMI and then make the decision to take her to games as a child. My parents had to make the decision to attend Furman and later decide to take their children to football games as children. I had to decide to go to Furman and continue to ardently root for the team through some peaks and valleys. I had to decide that I was going to finish my book and get another one on my day off. I had to decide to wear one of my Furman shirts yesterday, which I probably would not have done if the team had not won five of its last six and was playing for a possible share of the conference title this week.
All of those factors led to a conversation about fathers, hope, and the lessons we want to pass on to our children. That’s kind of miraculous. Otherwise, there would have been nothing there. We may have had an exchange about how beautiful the weather was or something like that, but neither of us would have cracked the door open on our fuller lives.
I don’t believe in a deterministic God. I could be wrong about that, but I don’t believe that God lined up all those events for that conversation. But it is still kind of amazing what led to that short exchange. The conversation is probably not going to change my life. But that neighborly moment was a piece of a good day. There was something small yet good there when there would have otherwise been nothing. We ought to look for those moments and celebrate them when they happen. They are minor miracles, but they are miracles nonetheless.