Once I had a dream in which I was given a baby. She was around ten or eleven months old, the happiest, most beautiful little person. I took her into a room where men in white lab coats – I understood that they were “experts” – were standing at a metal examining table. They were supposed to give her an examination. They had a whole sheet of data to collect and record. I stood by as they weighed her and measured her, marking everything carefully with their black, ball point pens.
When I brought the dream to my therapist she asked me what I thought of these guys measuring the baby. I said that in the dream it had seemed quite natural, but upon waking I was thinking that the baby needed to be held, not measured. I needed to get to know her; we needed to bond. My therapist agreed. “Those fellows are pretty thick, aren’t they?” she asked. “Thinking they can learn about a unique, little person that way. They are missing out on the miracle!” We went on to explore what part of me they represented – and, more importantly, what new, creative, beautiful energy was entering my life.
The Pharisees in John’s story about Jesus healing the man blind from birth are as clueless as the experts in my dream and I were. They look at a miracle, and they want to figure out what category to put it in. How do they measure it? What sense do they make of it from within the structure of the religion in which they are experts? Meanwhile they miss how astonishing it is.
God, God’s very self, is in their midst. The light of the world stands right there among them. There is no blindness on earth that cannot be healed by that presence.
But he does not come with fanfare and armies, with eclipses of sun or moon, with wealth or power, in terms they understand. How could he, really? There are no miracles in what we already know.
I love that the blind man is healed by spit and mud. He doesn’t even know who healed him. “The man called Jesus,” he says.
Christ dwells in our hearts, and his beautiful, mysterious creativity moves through our lives as we pray, and learn, and live. He operates in the little things, in spit and mud. Often enough we don’t even see the light of his presence because it doesn’t fit with our notion of how God operates, or because we don’t think we are worthwhile enough for God to visit us. We can miss the most astonishing miracles simply because we don’t know how to think about them.
My prayer today for you and for me is that we really see the astonishing miracles of the incarnate God as God creates in us and through us. May we set aside our tools of weighing and measuring and accept the startling presence of brand new vision. Amen.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and writer living in Fort Collins, Colorado. For more information and to see some of her images, visit everydaymysteries.com.