On Christmas Eve, I sat around the table with my parents and learned more about where I come from. Not just about their childhoods, but my grandparents’ too. I heard about great-uncles I didn’t know I had, twins I didn’t know existed. The more I heard, the more my eyes started to bug out and a wave of immense gratitude washed over me.
One of the most important things I learned that night is addiction runs deep in my family. Generation after generation, relative after relative. Stories of an alcoholic relation dying after falling down the stairs drunk; a morbidly obese great-grandparent. I couldn’t believe it when I heard about the common thread running through my family’s past. Holy guacamole. It’s a big deal that I’m in recovery for addiction. I’m turning the tide of addiction and dysfunction despite the weight of history pulling me in a different direction. I am a walking miracle.
My friend and neighbor told me a few weeks ago there is often one person in the family who helps heal everyone else. I knew that was me, but didn’t understand how to fulfill that role. After hearing about my family’s history, I understand I’m leading the family in a new direction just by being me. By having the willingness to do something new, to sail uncharted waters. Here I was thinking I got into recovery programs and therapy just so I could live happier and more sanely, and that’s true, but recovery is also so much bigger than me. As soon as one person stops the cycle of addiction and dysfunction by working on themselves in a concerted way, addiction and dysfunction stops. I’m doing something for my family that others could not and that makes me a miracle.
I know this post is about me personally, and my family, but I want to emphasize I am not the only miracle. Everyone is a miracle.
My spiritual teacher says repeatedly that human life is rare and precious. I’ve never understood that. How can human life be rare and precious when there are 7 billion of us? How rare and precious can it be? When I discussed this with my dear friend, he reminded me when we take into account all the other lives — the plants, the animals, the bacteria even — human life really is rare and precious. I think of human life as being expendable much of the time, but when I contemplate there are probably 7 billion bacteria on my pinky finger alone, whoa, being a human really is a miracle.
I think of miracles as walking on water, turning water into wine, or somehow accomplishing the impossible, but really, miracles are so much smaller than that. It’s a miracle that I’m in recovery. It’s a miracle that we’re alive today. It’s a miracle that the impossible can became probable.
I dream of a world where we recognize we are miracles. A world where we practice gratitude for the changes we’re undergoing. A world where we understand miracles aren’t necessarily huge feats, they are also small triumphs.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.