Can You Recognize a Miracle?
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Can You Recognize a Miracle?Be open to the right words at the right time.
Sometimes just when we need the power of miracles to change our beliefs, they materialize in the places we’d least expect. They can come to us as a drastic alteration in our physical reality or as a simple synchronicity in our lives. Sometimes they’re big and can’t be missed—the vision of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to 50,000 people on a hillside near Fátima, Portugal, in 1917, for example. Other times they’re so subtle that if we aren’t aware, we may miss them altogether. They can come from the lips of a stranger we suddenly and mysteriously encounter at just the right instant. If we listen carefully, we’ll always hear the right words, at the right time, to dazzle us into a realization of something that we may have failed to notice only moments before.
On a cold January afternoon in 1989, I was hiking up the trail that leads to the top of Egypt’s Mt. Horeb (the mountain of Moses). I’d spent the day at St. Catherine’s Monastery and wanted to get to the peak by sunset to see the valley below. As I was winding up the narrow path, I’d occasionally see other hikers who were coming down from a day on the mountain. While they would generally pass with simply a nod or a greeting in another language, there was one man that day who did neither.
I saw him coming from the last switchback on the trail that led to the backside of the mountain. As he got closer, I could see that he was dressed differently from the other hikers I’d seen. Rather than the high-tech fabrics and styles that had been the norm, this man was wearing traditional Egyptian clothing. He wore a tattered, rust-colored galabia and obviously old and thick-soled sandals that were covered in dust. What made his appearance so odd, though, was that the man didn’t even appear to be Egyptian! He was a small-framed Asian man, had very little hair, and was wearing round, wire-rimmed glasses.
As we neared one another, I was the first to speak. “Hello,” I said, stopping on the trail for a moment to catch my breath. Not a sound came from the man as he walked closer. I thought that maybe he hadn’t heard me or the wind had carried my voice away from him in another direction. Suddenly he stopped directly in front of me on the high side of the trail, looked up from the ground, and spoke a single sentence to me in English: “Sometimes you don’t know what you have lost until you’ve lost it.” As I took in what I had just heard, he simply stepped around me and continued his descent down the trail.
That moment in my life was a small miracle. The reason is less about what the man said and more about the timing and the context. The year was 1989, and the Cold War was drawing to a close. What the man on the trail couldn’t have known is that it was during my Egyptian pilgrimage, and specifically during my hike to the top of Moses’s mountain, that I’d set the time aside to make decisions that would affect my career in the defense industry, my friends, my family, and, ultimately, my life.
I had to ask myself what the chances were of an Asian man dressed in an Egyptian galabia coming down from the top of this historic mountain just when I was walking up, stopping before me, and offering his wisdom, seemingly from out of nowhere. My answer to my own question was easy: The odds were slim to none! In an encounter that lasted less than two minutes on a mountain halfway around the world from my home, a total stranger had brought clarity, and the hint of a warning, regarding the huge changes that I would make within a matter of days. In my way of thinking, that’s a miracle.
I suspect that we all experience small miracles in our lives every day. Sometimes we have the wisdom and the courage to recognize them for what they are. In the moments when we don’t, that’s okay as well. It seems that our miracles have a way of coming back to us again and again. And each time they do, they become a little less subtle, until we can’t possibly miss the message that they bring to our lives!
The key is that they’re everywhere and occur every day for different reasons, in response to the different needs that we may have in the moment. Our job may be less about questioning the extraordinary things that happen in our daily lives and more about accepting the gifts they bring.