Today, Akash met me with a wide grin and firm handshake.
“Finally, a happy topic!”
“Well, I replied, “Why not start with whether or not you believe in miracles?”
His eyes twinkled as he exclaimed, “As you Americans say, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Of course, I believe in miracles! That we are sitting here in my apartment discussing important topics about the meaning of life is a miracle. That I am alive is a miracle. That you are alive is a miracle. That this small gem of a planet brimming with life is the most extraordinary miracle of all. What are the odds? As we discussed before, we now have a pretty good idea of how old the universe is, how big it is, and how vast it is. If the planet Earth does not fall into the category of a miracle, I do not know what does.
“ You think we are it? That the Great Spirit got all this started 13.8 billion years ago, and all the life that came out of it was one lonely, blue planet? Of course not. But given the vastness of it all and the distance between planets, between solar systems, between stars and between galaxies, it is pretty remarkable. We will never know what else is out there, but the fact that we are here is a miracle, and we should not ever forget this. We should be grateful for this and offer thanks every single day.”
“Well, I understand that though a lot of scientists would disagree.”
“Those scientists who would disagree know little about spiritual matters. They may all now agree on the Big Bang but will never be able to explain the why of it. Of course, never will gurus like me, but at least we gurus acknowledge the profound mystery of it all.
“But what about ordinary day-to-day ‘miracles’ that people think happen? You hear stuff like this all the time: ‘It was a miracle I passed that test. It was a miracle that our team won. It was a miracle that I got the dream job.’ Is there anything to that? The use of the word ‘miracle’ is often substituted for ‘luck.’ Do you think the Great Spirit gets involved in such apparently trivial day-to-day affairs?”
“My friend, What do you think? Do you think the Great Spirit has been responsible for miracles in your life?”
“Yes, no question. Absolutely.”
“So do most people if they are honest. Give me an example of a miracle that you have experienced.”
“Well, I will give you a recent one. A few weeks ago, Embry and I had taken three immigrant kids ages 10-12 to a play and I made a serious mistake when driving them home in making a left turn onto a busy highway when a car going about twice the speed limit suddenly appeared over a hill, roaring towards us, and swerved to miss us by inches. We could all have been killed, but what haunts me most is that I would have been responsible for what happened to those three kids, who are all adored by their struggling parents whose main hope in life is to provide a better life for their children. If I had survived and those children hadn’t, I could never live with myself. The same would hold true if Embry had been killed. It was a miracle!”
“Sounds like a miracle in my book too.”
“Well, I have many more examples, but you could also substitute ‘luck’ for ‘miracle.’ I do that myself all the time.”
“Who knows? Maybe they are the same thing. I recall someone once observing that a coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
“But then again, that raises the question of why miracles happen for some and not for others. Innocent people are killed in car crashes every day.”
“My friend, for this question I have no answer, but I must remind you that life itself is a miracle. Do not forget this and offer thanks to the Great Spirit or ‘God’ or whatever you choose to call the ultimate reality. Do this every day.”
“See you next week. I want to know more about your religion.”