A Few Thoughts … on Miracles

By Sandy Compton
Reader Columnist

We’ve been arguing forever about how we became a species. True, some don’t argue. They just believe one way or another, or accept that they will never know. These relatively rare subjects are happy to be at peace with the question. Maybe they know that their vision of the Spirit is nobody else’s business. Some Higher Power may be hanging around, but I have no idea what It’s up to, though I often ask It favors. As vague as my vision might be, I’m OK with it. When folks come knocking with their answers, I ask if they’re happy in their faith. Sometimes they are. 

Creation is a touchy subject for us creatures. Is Darwin right, or did God build the world in six days and take Sunday off? Or did She work Sunday and take Saturday off?  Did Coyote create the people on the Clearwater? Or did a great Nordic whale puke us up on a rocky beach. We don’t really know, but we surely argue about it. 

The only thing we really know is that we came from somewhere and, according to the methods described, we and everything else arrived by some miracle. Even Darwin’s version is miraculous. By his thinking, that we became human has infinitely longer odds of happening than a high school football team winning the Super Bowl 48 to nothing. 

The point of contention is always the miracle. We even argue about meanings and methods of the same miracle, especially in major religions, often to disastrous results.

We seem to love to argue. We love being right, even if we aren’t. Most especially, we love to get what we want, sometimes at great cost to ourselves and those with whom we argue. Witness: every war and persecution in history.

What solution, then? I can’t say in any concrete way. There is no 12 Easy Steps to World Peace guide, but there may be just one step: simply letting others believe what they believe. Maybe if we do what J.C. advised a couple of thousand years ago — as well as a few other prophets before and since — “Love your neighbor as yourself,” we can quit killing each other for our own selfish and uninformed reasons.

One of the problems with this is that many of us don’t love ourselves very much. Some seem intent on self-destruction, and of these, some seem to want to take as many others along as they can. Witness: terrorists who believe that dying while killing innocents earns them a place in heaven. 

The kid who shows up with an AR-15 at school — theirs or another — and bloodies the place is self-destructing via a method conservative pundits and politicians endorse by refusing to control the proliferation of weapons of war in the public arena. It seems like those with an education sufficient to be in positions of power should know better than to let the mentally ill and those with no hope have means of expressing their frustration by killing innocents so someone else will kill them. It might be better to address their mental health and hopelessness, don’t you think?

In the musical South Pacific, the lieutenant sings, “We have to be carefully taught,” in reference to prejudicial views. This is true of many of our failings when it comes to loving the neighbors and ourselves. Parents, peers, teachers and preachers teach in subtle and incredibly specific ways that if “they” don’t believe what “we” believe, “they” must be bad. It is often ignored that “we” are also “they.”

It’s easier to follow the lead of others than to figure out things for ourselves, especially if we are children, which we have all been at one time or another; some longer than others. Some people never become adults, except in appearance and physical capability. Ease of life in the Western World keeps some people in elementary mode, where they think it’s OK to bully, steal, lie and flaunt common courtesy. They don’t know how to play well with others. Witness: Congress. 

The rich and famous and powerful get away with antics that land the poor and unknown and disenfranchised in jail — or make them and a few other people dead. 

The true miracle may not be about where we came from, but that we have made it as far as we have without destroying ourselves. If we ever grow up as a species, it may be another miracle altogether. But, let’s keep trying. 

Sandy Compton’s latest book (perhaps his best) is Her Name Is Lillian. It is available at Vanderford’s, The Corner Bookstore and on amazon.com.

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