Blog—Miracles on 56th Stteet

28 Mar

I am not one who talks glibly about miracles. In the April 30, 2000 issue of Newsweek magazine, I published an article entitled, “Why I don’t believe in miracles.” I don’t believe God zaps into our world to intervene and redirect the processes of nature. I do believe in blessings.  Generally, however, you’ll hear a lot of miracle-talk today.

Of course, medical science and engineering are dedicated to intervening in natural processes and redirecting them—but that’s another matter.

The day of Neva’s funeral, Saturday, March 25th, brought anxieties. First, the weather—a rain/snow forecast. I wondered whether my power chair could make it, and scattering of her ashes in the church garden would be difficult. By mid-morning, it seemed that we had dodged the weather bullet. That was the first “miracle” on 56th street, the address of Montgomery Place, my residence.

Transportation, however, was another matter. Since Montgomery Place’s weekend transportation vendor does not have buses that accommodate wheelchairs, one must request their wheelchair van a few days ahead. That was my mistake—I waited until Saturday morning to put in the order.

I was told the van was on its way. Forty-five minutes later, there was no van. I called my pastor to say I would be late to the funeral—perhaps even an hour late. In desperation, I called Curb Cab, a Chicago wheelchair taxi company, that usually takes up to an hour. There are only 300 wheelchair taxis in the city, so at any given moment, it may take a while to get one.

After making arrangements, I no sooner ended the call, and I received a text: “ETA 4 minutes.” I didn’t believe it, but, astonishingly, the cab pulled up by the time I made it to the front door. I made it to the service well before the scheduled time. The second “miracle” on 56th street.

So, what about miracles? I really cannot believe in miracles in any conventional sense, but miracle-talk serves me well when I talk about that Saturday in March.

God certainly could have rearranged traffic patterns that day, cleared the cab company’s schedule, and reconfigured a cab driver’s brain  processes—but that is not credible to me. I preferred to take a deep breath, and say, not only a blessing, “It’s  a miracle.”

(c)Phil Hefner

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