A Massachusetts native, Michelle DeRusha moved to Nebraska in 2001, where she found gargantuan grasshoppers, looming grain elevators and God. She’s raising two rambunctious boys with her husband, Brad; works part-time for Nebraska public television and radio; launders Sponge Bob briefs on a regular basis; and writes about finding faith in the everyday on her blog Graceful and in a monthly column for the Lincoln Journal Star.
“The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.” ~ Virginia Woolf
I’m always on the lookout for miracles. The Bible, I’ve noticed, teems with them. A raving lunatic witnesses his demons funnel into a herd of pigs. People rise from the dead and start doing jumping jacks. Peter slides across a roiling sea.
It’s not easy for me to choose blessings, miracles, over mere coincidence. In twenty years of “unbelief,” doubt became my natural, instinctive reaction. Doubt was my default. So choosing to see the blessing, the miracle, has had to become a conscious choice, one I make each day.
This fall as I was watering the garden I suddenly heard my son Noah yell: “Quick, Mommy! Come here! Come here! Hurry!” his voice urgent, pressing. I walked over to take a look.
Floating on a gentle current along the tops of the phlox was a most curious bug, a miniscule creature about a quarter the size of my pinkie nail. To me it looked like a thin shred of paper; the kids decided it resembled a teeny piece of Kleenex. The insect bobbed along the bee balm for a bit and then floated over to my sons, navigating its linty body between them, as if to take a closer look at their big bauble heads.
My youngest, Rowan, named the bug “Klee Klee,” the word he uses for Kleenex. We sat on the curb next to the flower garden and marveled at the insect as it gracefully inched its way over the mountainous folds of Rowan’s tee shirt, its snow-white wings wispy and ragged.
I would never have noticed this delicate creature of course, so bent on watering the drooping coneflower and deadheading the bee balm, wrenching the ivy’s suffocating grip off the phlox and pulling the weeds. But the kids insisted I look, squealing and bellowing so persistently I was forced to tune in, if only to quiet the racket.
And when I did I was overwhelmed with gratitude and awe.
In her book Expecting Adam, Martha Beck marvels over her son Adam’s uncanny ability to teach her a fresh way of seeing. “He is constantly reminding me that real magic doesn’t come from achieving the perfect appearance, from being Cinderella at the ball with both glass slippers and a killer hairstyle,” Beck writes about Adam. “The real magic is in the pumpkin, in the mice, in the moonlight; not beyond ordinary life, but within it.”
Sitting on the curb with my two kids, awestruck by Klee Klee — the delicate ruffle of his body, the gentle tickling of his feet over the fine hairs on Rowan’s arm — I witnessed God’s way of illuminating the extraordinary within the ordinary. I uncovered real magic. I chose to see the miracle.