When I was a kid, my mother would kiss us at the door as we made our way out to school and leave a smear of red lipstick on our checks. We would whine and rub our faces, horrified by the idea that neighbors and friends might see the mark of our mother’s love. We didn’t mind so much that she loved us; we just didn’t want it to look that way.
A miracle is like that. It’s the mark of God’s kiss. As special as this sounds, it’s not special at all. I understand that it might be hard to believe. The whole world supports the idea that miracles only happen to the lucky and the few. Our society buys into the agreement that miracles are mostly a fluke, a crap-shoot, unexpected, unexplainable and for the most part unachievable. These mystical events only happen on the rare occasion, under a blue moon, after a long hard journey. It’s understandably off putting to accept the idea that Miracles are actually the norm. They are as natural as a mother’s kiss at the door.
If they are so normal and natural, you may be asking, “why we don’t see them more often.” Well we do. The thing is they don’t always look like we think they should or how we think we would want them to.
I like to say that miracles are the extension of God’s love that requires no sacrifice. That’s my own little definition that I cobbled together after years of studying and teaching a book called A Course In Miracles. Why no scarifies? Because although it seems that we’re giving something up, the miracle shows us that what is given, is actually returned to us multiplied abundantly. A miracle is the place where giving and receiving become one in the same.
From a parenting perspective, when I think of miracles I can’t help but think of the story of the angel coming to the Blessed Mother. The angel greets her with, “Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you.” Then the angel goes on to say that Mary will deliver a baby who will grow up to be the light of the world. This news was quite startling because Mary had not “known” a man. But the angel soothed Mary’s concerns with the suggestion that all things are possible with God. That right there is the miracle. It’s that still small voice that tells us, don’t worry about it, and do not be afraid. It is not going to look like what you think, but that doesn’t mean it’s broken.
This story sums up parenting perfectly. Parenting with its thrills, dips and detours, takes us on a serious ride of faith. Where no one has a map and the terrain keeps shifting. The good news is that this is the same for everyone. No ones’ plan for parenting ever ends up looking the way they had thought it would. There will be surprises and unexpected announcements at the door.
In that moment, that the angle informed Mary of the new plan, we see fear and faith standing in the same shoes and Mary says, “Thy will be done.” From this stillness and selflessness comes a holy game changer. We as parents have stood in those shoes. We have faced the great mystery of unconditional love, we have had our hearts broken and our worlds rocked and we have for the most part learn how to stand in the fire and trust. As amazing and rewarding as parenting can be, it is also nerve wrenching and unsettling. So we survive on miracles. We survive on Grace.
Mary is not the great exception, but a great example. As parents we are taking to the edge of our comfort zones and pushed.
Our children are our greatest teachers. They show us our blind spots, poke us in tender places and tug at our heart strings to the point that we can not help but bend our agendas and fold to their needs and desires. They soften our rough places and bring us to the classroom of grace. When the angel tells Mary that she is full of grace, she is being shown what we all must learn; that there is strength within that we can rest in. The recognition and reassurance that that no matter what we are brought to, we can be brought through with grace. Grace and the miracle are synonymous.
Grace is a place of peace and acceptance. It’s the moment we stop fighting and begin surrendering. It has the ability to wash over us and lift us from the fray. Grace is the unflinching truth that is true like a river that runs its course without stress of struggle. Grace is the word that describes the choreography of a dancer who expresses a certain fluidity of movement that catches our breath and stands us still. Grace has the power to settle things, to solve, to save, to strengthen. Grace is able to hold all that is and places no investment in guilt. It is gentle and healing and soothing and surprising.
It greets us in our broken places and announces our perfection.
It redeems and restores and is the birthplace of the resurrection when despite our crushing crucifixions, we all get the fuck back up. Grace is the chalice of Joy and it comes without the need of grandeur or defense. It springs from itself in audacious generosity. It sits with us in our hour of darkness and demonstrates limitless patience. And if we ask for it, it will reveal itself. This is grace, this is the miracle and this is the mark of God’s kiss.
Maureen Muldoon is a writer, speaker, storyteller and thought leader who helps you go from where you are to where you want to be in business, love, and life. She blogs at www.communitysanctuary.com. ~ MaureenMuldoon.com and Vlogs on YOUTUBE