I believe that buried deep within each of us is a hidden wellspring of talent and tenacity that can be tapped in circumstances where a herculean effort can overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
For many of us it’s a slow and painstaking process of discovery; for others, it unfolds in the blink of an eye and can seem miraculous.
I was reminded of one of my favorite examples of the latter recently when a dear friend from high school forwarded me Flying Home, (Sully’s Theme) from the Clint Eastwood movie about the Miracle on the Hudson, where Captain “Sully” Sullenberger managed to successfully land his plane on the Hudson River after its engines were destroyed shortly after takeoff in a collision with a flock of Canada geese.
Faced with prospects of crash landing in one of the most densely populated urban spaces on earth, Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles made the miraculous decision to glide the craft to a safe landing. Thanks to their quick thinking and the amazing response of a flotilla of volunteer rescuers, all 155 people aboard survived with few serious injuries.
In a world that’s grown cynical about the possibility of miracles, this was a modern miracle impossible to ignore.
This got me to thinking about how many other less dramatic miracles take place that don’t get even a modicum of notice. In my experience, bits of miracles do matter. They cling to one another forming a chain of amazing coincidences and blessings interspersed between the bumps, unwanted detours and devastating losses we encounter in life.
The birth of a healthy baby, recovery from an illness that’s frightening and unusual, a new job or home, even a child’s first puppy – each of these represent small blessings that enrich our lives.
The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are when I contemplate these small miracles in my life. This year’s thoughts are bordered with a thin veil of sadness.
Mother died December 30th of last year. I think about how much she loved the holidays and having my siblings and me and her grandchildren home for the holidays. As her health deteriorated, were blessed that she remained alert and aware of us. When she finally passed, it was a blessing that her suffering was no more.
Mother was a primary school librarian and loved to read children stories. Her young students called her the “library lady.” From when we were small, she instilled in us a love of books: how to treasure them, read them and learn from them.
She helped each of us obtain our passport to the universe – our first library card. We visited weekly in the summer and were expected to return last week’s book and check out a new one. Mother taught me to love stories, to love to read them and to write them.
To this day, I remain an advocate for storytelling as a central tenet of being human. Each of us has our own stories to tell. Sharing of ourselves this way helps diminish our differences. I encourage people to write their stories at workshops and at book talks. My memoir, Where the Water Meets the Sand is a book of the stories that make up my life.
When we share our stories, they bring us together, give us hope and recognition for our bravery and forgiveness for our mistakes.
The words to Sully’s theme remind me of the power contained in stories. Take a listen.
(c) Tyra Manning 2017