Miracles, New York

In Life on July 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

There are so many miracles.  Tonight on the subway.  Cradling my head in a full car.  Cellist on the orange seat, wire rim glasses, a baby asleep below a banner, an old man hanging off a pole.  And somewhere between 42nd and 59th, the girl next to me opens a Moleskin journal filled with red and purple ink, cascading lines, a comic book villain, a falling sky.  When the train reaches my stop, I touch her shoulder, and she removes her earbud.

“I couldn’t help notice your book, are they your drawings?”

Such a kind, young and overweight face nods yes.

“You have a real talent.  They are beautiful.”

It’s funny how nervous I get to compliment strangers, how out of place or odd I feel.  But for this young woman, there was no hesitation, no dormancy to thanking her for who she is.  I hope I have made her night a little better and given her a compliment to suck on from time to time, in honor of those who have done the same for me.

Miracles Series 2

Yesterday down the street.  Tapping cool concrete with sneakers.  Oh!  I pass a church.  There’s a sign posted in its cold glass case hung on brick.  A quote about “love, faith, and hope,” from Corinthians.  CLICK.  Funny how we turn our feet, unthinking, down this street, not that, and one sign makes sense of something we’ve held close for years.  TS Eliot’s East Coker, the page falling from the book, is a little clearer on that board – he was Christian, after all.  And then standing there, I hear the music.  The noise from within draws me.

It’s a rehearsal. Two, maybe three people watch from the pews, sunlight streaming through stained-glass.  A lady rises and holds my hand, “welcome,” she says.  And the 100 women on the alter life their voices to God, as does the keyboardist and the guitarist, and I am shelter for that not uncommon feeling – my soul remembering its wings.

“Praise the day,” they clap, and they smile.  “Praise the day,” I laugh.  “Praise the day,” is all they say. “Praise the day,” I clap, they move and feel.  “Praise the day.”  “Praise the day.” “Praise the day.”  “Praise the day.”  “Praise the day.”  Each stop breathes life into the silences that are not dead, but waiting.  Waiting as a canvas for paint or a universe for existence or our own forms for death.  “Praise the day.”  Again.  “Day.”  Again.  “Day.” Again.


“Wait without hope for hope would be hope of the wrong thing /

Wait without love for love would be love of the wrong thing /

Wait without faith, for the faith and the hope and the love are all in the waiting.”

Their wait lasts just long enough so as to begin Again, and when their song does end, and I rise and thank them for what they’ve wrought, the silence is just another canvas for laughter.

Oh my joy.

I return to the street without a faith in Christ, but with immeasurable faith in the praise to which their God has given voice.

Miracle No. 3

My mom sits on the subway.  It is her first time in New York.  I am at her side and we are scouring my map.  A young woman gets on, sits her toddler besides us.  He is all smiles and before long, we’re chatting.

“Have you read this book?” my mom asks of our old faves.

The boy cranes his neck to catch the stations zooming; they haven’t, the mother says.

“What about this one?” I offer, but the mother gently grabs her son, saying, “sit up, Charlie, get off her” for Charlie has begun to slither on the seat.

We continue chatting, but before long, Charlie’s nestled his head onto my mom’s shoulder.

“Honey, sit up.  Strangers don’t like when you lay on them,” to which the boy immediately clasps my mother in a hug.

“Oh he’s sweet,” says my mom, returning it, and this child, a seedling to the world, receives his validation – love is what he offers, and what he receives.  This is why he is here.  It is no purpose, no goal, but the nature of him, which is right to love.

The two get off some stations later and after that, we do.

  1. Thank you for this, Lizzy. It is exactly what I needed right now. I love the way you write and express yourself! You’re wonderful, and don’t you ever forget it!

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