Share your experiences of the miraculous

I think the title’s pretty clear. I actually think this is better situated for IMHO, but since it seems likely that this will involve some witnessing I’ll start it off here. Mods, if you want to move it, knock yourselves out.

I’ll go first. Let me warn you that this story is rather long, and the miracles involved, if there were miracles, are subtle and unspectacular.

In the summer of 2002, I was living in downtown Memphis and working as a freelance writer. I use the word “working” advisedly, as just then assignments were hard to come by, and as I live alone, money was a little tight. In an attempt to supplement my income (read: pay the rent), I took a telemarketing job. This didn’t last long, as the position was even more odious than the average telemarketer; we were supposed to be soliciting for charitable donations to the widows and orphans of police officers and firefighters slain in the line of duty, but it swiftly became clear to me that little, if any, of the money the office was bringing in was going to any location other than the owners’ pockets. So after two days of it, I quit. This didn’t leave me in any immediate financial straits–when freelance work was more plentiful, I’d paid up the rent for the next three months–but even so it was frustrating and worrisome.

After my second night at the scam artists’ place, as I was walking home, I decided for no particular reason to vary my usual route. I felt pretty miserable; I knew I’d have to quit or be consumed with guilt. Approaching my apartment from the east rather than the north, I came across a homeless person in an doorway. Seeing him, I felt guilty for feeling sorry for myself: I had a roof over my head, a pantry full of food, clean clothes, and so forth. He was clearly in distress, so I asked him if I could help; he asked for some food. I went up to my apartment and made him some soup; then, noticing that it was a chilly night and recalling that I had a single-bed blanket I hadn’t used in years sitting in my closet, I gathered the blanket and some other usefuls, put them in a gym bag that was similarly unused. The bag was a garish bright blue; I’d won it years ago while working at Sears and never once used it, so it wasn’t as if I was being especially generous. I took the bag and the unused blankets and clothes down to the homeless fellow, whose name, incidentally, was Mitch. He mentioned that he had diabetes.

I went back upstairs and sat down to write. At the time I was working on a story in which one of the main characters was a woman whose mother had died of diabetic complications. I wanted to know little more about it, so I called my best friend, an RN who worked in the ICU of a local hospital. In telling me what my character might have seen as a child when discovered her comatose mother, she mentioned that persons going into a diabetic coma often have a sweet smell on their breath; she described it as being like Juicy Fruit gum. She was careful to differentiate between people having an insulin reaction and people whose blood sugar is too high; the latter are the ones with the sweet breath, and they must not be given more sugar. After we were done talking I finished typing my notes, then, with a little difficulty, fell asleep. I didn’t really have the energy to be creative just then.

When I woke the next morning I was the one in distress. My problem, though, wasn’t physical: it was psychological, or perhaps spiritual, depending on your point of view. For some time, you see, I had been in the grips of an addiction. I won’t specify to what I’m addicted; let’s just say it was something that had the potential to leave me FUBAR. I’d been in control of the addiction for a while, and most days, it felt as if I didn’t suffer from it at all.

Most days, that is–but not that day. That day I needed a fix. I needed a fix the way you need water if you haven’t had a drink all day: not quite so bad that I couldn’t control it, but bad enough to feel extremely uncomfortable, and bad enough so that I could see it was going to get worse.

I needed a fix, but I didn’t want one. If you’re addicted to anything you understand: the first drop is what starts the flood. You can never do just a little.

So I decided to pray. For a while, prayer had been working, but that morning, it seemed, God had the machine on. Five minutes on my knees left me no less agitated than before. So I decided to find someone to pray with: specifically my pastor. It was a Wedneday morning, a day she’d usually be at church, and I knew she’d help. She knew about my addiction; she’d helped me get into a 12-step program; she’d given me her number for just these occasions.

But when I called the church, she wasn’t there.

I hung up the phone a little irritated, but not too bad yet. I knew other people I could call. But none of them answered either. At the same time I felt a very specific urge; to go to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, about seven blocks away. I’m not Catholic, but I knew that church; they do a lot of good social work, and I thought I could probably find somebody there to pray with.

I got dressed, left the apartment, and headed to St. Mary’s. On the way, though, it occurred to me that it was silly to walk that far. In downtown Memphis, you see, there aretons of churches. I’d have to walk by several other churches to get to St. Mary’s. And I wasn’t actually acquainted with anyone on staff at St. Mary’s, whereas I knew the rector at Calvary Episcopal, and the pastor at St. Peter’s, having interviewed both for some articles I’d written when freelance work was falling into my lap. With every step I took I felt the urge to get a fix growing stronger, and even the seven blocks to St. Mary’s seemed farther than I could manage before my will gave out.

So I stopped at Calvary and headed to the rector’s office. He wasn’t in. It was his usual office hours, but for some reason he’d taken the day off; and there wasn’t a single other person in the church I could talk to.

I headed to St. Peter’s, and found the same story. There were no clery at First Methodist, nobody at the Baptist church; or perhaps the people answering the door just didn’t want to let me in, as I must have been looking pretty frantic and dicey by that time.

I seemed that I tried every other downtown church before I got to St. Mary’s. But I never made it inside. You see, as I was heading to the door, I saw a familiar garish bright blue gym bag in an alley beside the church. It was the one I’d given Mitch. I felt a little irritated: had he already thrown it away. I walked closer, intending to salvage it.

When I got to the bag, I saw that Mitch was lying a few feet away. I hadn’t noticed him from the street. He wasn’t moving.

I looked him over. He wasn’t quite unconscious, and he could talk. His breath smelled of Juicy Fruit.

I ran to the church, banged on the door, and asked to borrow the phone. I called 911 and told them what I’d seen, then ran back to Mitch. A woman who worked in the church came with me, and she offered Mitch some hard candy. “No!” I said. “That’s the exact wrong thing!”

We stayed with Mitch till the ambulance came, and then I rode with him to the hospital–the same hospital, incidentally, my friend worked at. Unsurprisingly, he had no family to contact, so I went in with him to the ER and stayed by him while he was treated, then sat with him for a while. Some hours later I thought to look at my watch and realized I was supposed to be at the scam artist’s in just a few minutes. I had time to make it there, but I knew I wouldn’t go. Instead, since Mitch was asleep, I went home, called the scam manager, and quit.

As I hung up the phone, I realized something. The compulsion to get a fix was gone. It was as if my addiction was a rainstorm, and the day before I had been under an umbrella. That morning the umbrella had disappeared, leaving me in drenched with need; but from the moment I saw Mitch the umbrella had been back, and I’d been so busy I hadn’t realized the urge was gone.

I slept like a baby.

The next morning my friend the nurse called me, asking me if I wanted to get breakfast on her. She’d just worked a 7p to 7a shift in the ICU and needed to decompress. So to breakfast we went, and as was her wont she told me about her night. Among her patients, she said, was a homeless man with diabetes; she’d thought about me while treating him, because he had the same symptoms she’d been describing to me in our last conversation. For obvious reasons she told this story without mentioning any names. If the homeless guy hadn’t been brought in when he was, she said, he would have died.

“Wait, a second,” I said, “was his name Mitch? Black guy in his fifties, grey hair?”

She nodded. “How’d you know that?” she asked.

I told her. I couldn’t help but smile as I did. I felt as if God had wanted me in that specific place that at specific time to save Mitch, and had removed her hand from me, shielding me from the need for a fix, just long enough to chase me out of my apartment and where I needed to be. If miracles ever DO happen, that’s how I think it works.

Anybody else got a story of miracles to tell?

Fabulous Creature, how do you make the distinction between a miracle and an instance of incredibly good luck?

Floyd, I don’t believe in an “interventionist” deity; that is, I don’t think that God contravenes natural law to work her will. I think God works by nudges and hints, acting by means of human agency and natural phenomena, the better to allow us to maintain our free will. Thus, much of what we see as luck or coincidence is, to me, the hand of God. I told this particular anecdote because the conjunction of circumstances seems, to me, miraculous.

Please note that I qualified each statement above with “I think” or “I believe.” Your mileage probably varies. People interested in this thread may tell similar stories of a subtle God, or they may tells a story of a more overt divine agent; that’s up to them.

I think it’s great that you helped save a life and are coping with your addiction.

Sadly I don’t think this is evidence of a miracle.
I think you are impressed by a series of coincidences.

Consider what is ‘natural law’, and why can’t your God override it?
Is your God omnipotent? If God can foresee precisely what effect all those ‘nudges’ will have on you, why do you have ‘free will’?
Why does your God spend effort of saving one life, yet allow natural disasters to kill hundreds of thousands?

Yeah. Sadly (or maybe not, come to think of it) we live in a miracle-free world. There must have been thousands of incidents all over the world that day in which people weren’t in the right place at the right time, in which people died because no one was there to help them. Were these people not worthy of miracles? Your guy was lucky. They weren’t. That’s all there is to it.

Since Fabulous Creature asked for people’s personal miracles, or lucky coincidences however you prefer to see them, I will share mine. It is not as long but meaningful to me none the less.

I was in grade 11 at the first school dance of the new school year I was at a new school and was meeting new people and having a good time until my older brother tapped me on the shoulder and told me he had to take me home. My Grandma had been in a car accident and was in the hospital unconscious. She was driving along the highway on a rainy night. A person in the opposing lane hydroplaned and hit her head on. The closest town was about 45 min away and so any help called for would have taken a long time to get there. Fortunately the car directly behind my Grandma’s car was an empty ambulance that was for some reason headed to the next town. Without that ambulance being right there, three people would have died. There were no casualties that night.

And on a side note my Grandma was in a coma for a month and in the hospital recovering for another month after that, and that was the only thing that made actually quit smoking after many many attempts.

I don’t recomend that method though :smiley:

My son had an onset of diabetes at age 3. I’m still waiting for my miracle.