At the wedding in Cana, Jesus seemed more than a little cranky when Mary complained to him that there was no more wine. “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” he asked. “My time has not yet come.” I get the distinct feeling that he did not say this gently.
Mary then turned to the caterers and said, “Do whatever he tells you.”
A lo! He changed the water into wine. What began as a bothersome hospitality problem, Jesus turned into a miracle. His first of many!
I think this is a good model not just for how to behave at weddings, but what to do with any problem—turn it into a miracle! Of course we immediately think of the Big Problems: homelessness, immigration, gun laws, the environment. We absolutely must address these problems.
But I suggest that as we do that, we also practice with daily irritations. How can we turn them into miracles?
You know: long lines, lost socks, demented drivers, people on cell phones, junk mail, robo-calls, over-due bills, ingrown toenails, incontinent pets, misplaced keys, thirteen items in a twelve item line, uncollected dog doo—on your shoe.
Perhaps you read this list and say, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?”
My answer is, if you can’t relate to any of these, just think of one that pops up in your daily life.
Maybe you don’t want to deal with it and declare, “My time has not yet come!”
Oh, yes, it has. I can’t tell you exactly how to transform your situation, but I can tell you how to perform a miracle in your life every day. Because it’s different for everyone, I can tell you only about my own experience.
Let me preface this by saying, I know this is not world peace. We’re talking daily frustrations here. With that said, here is one of mine: The Squirrel.
Yes, we are fortunate enough to live on Thornton Creek which mean we host rats, mice, moles, possums, raccoons, coyotes, crows, robins, chick-a-dees, nuthatches, sparrows, woodpeckers, a Great Blue heron, the occasional owl, intermittent eagles, and—The Squirrel.
Actually there are several squirrels but there is only one who is a daily irritation. And he is irritating because he loves to perch on our seat cushions and pee. I’ve chased him off several times, so he knows I don’t appreciate this. A couple weeks ago I was on the phone—an important call—when he hopped up on the chair.
I tried waving through the window and making hideous faces. I considered knocking on the glass, but didn’t want to make noise. The Squirrel knew. He knew I was on the phone and couldn’t chase him away. He looked right at me blinking his beady squirrel eyes. He rubbed his front paws together in that squirrely way that says, “Neener-neener-neener.” And then he peed.
I know what you’re thinking: I turned squirrel pee into wine!
Let yourself imagine that for a moment. Now I have a red wine all over the seat cushion. Red wine or squirrel pee? Exactly. So, no, I did not perform that miracle.
Instead after a few squirrel-oriented curse words, I took the cushion inside and cleaned it. I thought about The Squirrel and my love-hate relationship with him. Yes, love. I’m not a monster! There is something cute about him and I’m weirdly flattered that he returns again and again. So I simply vowed to put away the chair cushions unless I’m out there sitting on them. You know, remove the temptation. End of irritation.
Oh, but what a weak ending to this story! I didn’t train him to fetch my slippers? We will not appear together on “America’s Got Talent?” Not even a book contract?
None of that, just this: the Squirrel irritation began an ongoing miracle in me. Which is that now while facing frustrations I ask, “How can I turn this into a miracle?” The miracle is not that we transform the situation, but that instead of just reacting, we stop and wonder, “How can I turn this into a miracle?”
What if we asked that question before speaking rude words, throwing a punch, picking up a gun? I believe it would make a difference.
Our time has come.