Miracles Within The Mundane

Dec 2, 2013



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Marcos just made it. The elevator doors slid shut behind him so close that they almost gripped the back of his coat. With a big exhale he removed his mobile phone from his left coat pocket. He noticed he missed a call from his girlfriend then he scrolled through several mundane texts from friends. He dropped the phone back into the same pocket and looked up at the elevator’s ceiling lights for a reprieve.

He was a darn good pharmaceuticals sales representative. He felt relief that he was able to strengthen the account with this clinic but his thoughts quickly turned. “If I finished that meeting fifteen minutes sooner I would have avoided the late afternoon traffic.” He moved his gaze down to the elevator floor in dejection as he casually fished his pockets for his car keys. Not much kept his enthusiasm up anymore and he didn’t explore why. He had a good income, a nice car, lots of friends and health benefits. Whatever it was that dampened his interest would surely pass.

Things were just as he predicted: behind the wheel he entered the slow and thick downtown street traffic. His eyes darted to the phone he tossed in his car passenger seat. It pleaded for his attention with a muffled buzz but he disregarded it and opted for listening to the radio. Eyelids heavy with boredom, he surrendered to the northbound stop-and-go flow. As predicted, the traffic light before him turned red. He obligingly stopped.

A heavy, ageless moment of pause stuffed his ears before he felt a deep stirring.

His eyes drifted towards a figure standing at the curb to his right waiting to cross the street and his ears tingled. In the midst of this drab gray city was a striking Buddhist monk. His clean-shaved smooth dome of a head contrasted the large folds of orange fabric that was his swathed robe. Marcos sat up and felt alert.

He looked away from the monk to the opposite side of the crosswalk. To his left stood another remarkable figure: a self-assured western cowboy. He was tall and lean and wore yards of tight blue denim about his long legs. On his head was a large tan cattleman’s hat and his sharp-toed boots jutted over the curb like expectant racehorses at the gate.

“I can’t believe this!” thought Marcos. The contrast between the figures standing on either side of him was so extreme, their differences so distinct, that he wondered if he was witnessing a staged event. “East meets West right in front of me!”

The moment their crosswalk signal turned green sound and time paused.

The monk gently stepped onto the street, with his socked feet and thong sandals, towards the cowboy. At that exact moment the cowboy entered the crosswalk towards the  monk. Marcos could swear he heard the chinking of spurs that weren’t really there. Marcos’ attention was so acutely focused on these two individuals that they appeared isolated at the forefront, like vibrantly crisp earthly angels moving in front of a blurred gray city backdrop. He leaned forward over his steering wheel, gawking at them through his windshield as they advanced towards one another:

The Buddhist monk looked up at the cowboy with open simplicity. Wafting centuries of Eastern culture, he pressed his palms together and offered the Westerner a gentle bow. In response, the cowboy met the monk’s eyes with a knowing smile and a respectful tip of his hat. Each embodied cultural and historical viewpoints so significant and yet the reverence they shared for one another was unmistakable. Like intersecting beams of ancient power, the two vastly distinct forces peaceably crossed paths. The electricity ebbed as each continued to move in their opposite directions, and the fog of the ordinary closed back down upon the city.

Marcos felt keenly alert. His eyes darted about. He questioned if anyone else saw the multi-dimensionality of that moment the way he did. If it was truly random why didn’t it feel ordinary? It felt potent. It was miraculous!

The din of the city returned and his traffic light turned green. Marcos dutifully drove forward but he felt undeniably different. He looked up and saw a bright blue sky amongst the tops of the leaden skyscrapers. White cotton clouds drifted beyond the airplanes and morphed into on-looking faces. Oodles of white pigeons soared about the street while others perched on wires to watch him drive by. Everywhere he noticed specks of green poking out at him from the gray, like the blades of delicate new grass defeating slabs of cruel concrete. He wondered if this awareness would stop and if the numbness would return. He looked at the driver in the car next to him wearing a familiar look of sedation and smiled with compassion.

Forever yours,