Miracles happen all the time. You probably know someone who has had a miracle happen to them, or maybe a miracle has happened to you. I know a woman whose cancer tumor disappeared overnight after she and several others stayed up all night praying. The doctors said there was no medical explanation for this. I feel it is a miracle how I met Barry at the very young age of 18, and that we have been able to be deeply in love with each other for 53 years now. Many things had to happen for us to be able to meet, and also to be given the relationship help, in some cases by strangers, to be able to work through the very big challenges that presented themselves within the first ten years. I also know a family whose home was spared in the current fires of this past fall in California. Theirs was standing intact, while every home on their street was gone. Miracles!!!
Each one of us can also be a miracle for someone else. My parents were both very loving people and had such a deep caring for others. Every Thursday, their church served a meal to homeless men. The same men came every week. The people of the church would take turns bringing hot dishes, salads and desserts. My parents, who were both in their eighties, brought something every single week. After the dishes were placed for the homeless men, the church people would then congregate in the kitchen and talk among themselves. My parents did not do this. They sat with the men while they ate and asked them questions about their lives. They cared about them and treated them like very dear friends. They knew each one by name and asked about their progress on finding jobs, etc. Each year this program stopped for the summer, and on the last day one of the men came over to my parents with tears streaming down his eyes and hugged them both. He told them that being with them gave him a chance to be with really loving parents, something he had never known. He told them that their caring was a miracle for him, for often he had wanted to take his life he was in such despair being homeless. But then he remembered their caring and he kept going. He told them that, thanks to their encouragement, he had found a job and would no longer need to come to the homeless dinner when it resumed in the fall.
Recently we were interviewed by phone for a radio show on the east coast. The woman interviewing us did an absolutely great job and we told her at the end of the show that she was the best interviewer we had ever had. Truly this woman had a fantastic skill. We kept her perhaps ten extra minutes appreciating how good she was. Usually we do not do this after an interview. When we hung up, her boss was waiting for her. Right there on the spot he fired her and said she was not good at her job. She called us right back in tears and told us that our words of encouragement were a miracle for her and would allow her to get over this hurt from her boss. We talked with her for a while and she figured out that her boss did not like her liberal views and, rather than tell her the truth, he criticized her interviewing skills.
When Barry and I were both twenty seven years old, we traveled to France to attend a two month Sufi camp high up in the French Alps. Before we left on this trip, we had received quite a bit of negative feedback from professionals, friends and family that we were too close as a couple. We were told that we should not be together so much and concentrate on being individuals rather than focusing so much love on each other. While Barry was a psychiatry resident, I worked in the same department with children. We received so much negative feedback from professional people in the department that we took to hiding our love completely. Both sets of our family also felt that we were too close and showed too much love for each other. When the leader of this Sufi camp, Pir Vilayat Khan, whom we had never met, entered the camp, he looked at us and walked very quickly to where we were standing. He hugged us and said, “You both should always be together and love each other deeply. Your love will help you to serve others.” Not one person had ever said that in the nine years that we had been together. With that one exchange he gave us permission to love fully and not be ashamed of our love. He was a miracle for us and that miracle of his words continues onto this day.
A few years ago we received an email from a woman who said the following, “I was on my way to take my life. I prayed to see even one thing that could give me hope. As I was walking toward the place where I would take my life, I passed a dumpster. Carefully resting up against the dumpster was a copy of your book, The Shared Heart. I stopped right there by the dumpster and began reading it. Your words gave me hope and the desire to go on. I have since gotten the help that I needed and I have a fulfilling life. Thank you for your book.” But the first miracle is the person who carefully placed the book by the dumpster. This person was probably going to throw it out, but instead decided to place it so someone might see it. It probably took ten seconds to do this thoughtful act, and yet those ten seconds saved a person’s life. This person was a miracle for her life.
It does not take long to be a miracle for someone else. Sometimes just a kind word of encouragement or a simple act of kindness can be a life giving miracle for someone else. Every day, we can be on the lookout for ways that we might extend these simple acts of kindness or loving words.
~Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are widely regarded as among the world’s top experts on conscious relationship and personal growth. They are the authors of eight books, including two new books, To Really Love a Woman and To Really Love a Man.
Excellence Reporter 2018 Copyright ©Joyce & Barry Vissell