Last week I was writing about what it takes for a miracle to happen and one of my commentators, the lovely Patsy Collins who joined me on the podcast not that long ago, pointed out that there are all sorts of miracles that happen, including some everyday miracles we never know about, because they happen behind the scenes.
And it got me thinking about the all the little miracles that have happened in my life over the years. And, once I got thinking, I got into musing about what life would be like if they hadn’t happened. And, as it’s been a week of ups and downs on the exam front I thought I might as well start there.
Miracle No. 1 – More years ago than I care to remember I too was an ‘A’ level student waiting on my grades to see if I’d get into the university of my choice. Back then they operated on a points system as well as grading, I don’t know if that’s still the case, but it was fortunate for me as I didn’t get my predicted grades, instead I got higher in one and lower in another, but overall the points worked out right and I was accepted.
Miracle No. 2 – To say I had an eventful time at university would be putting it mildly, at the end of my second year I had an accident at work during the summer which meant I had to put off my third year and as a result lost the funding to do my PhD in Canada. But, I stayed in my student flat, was able to do extra courses during the year I was off even though nothing was being paid for. At the end of my final year I found myself ill and unable to attend the exams as normal as I was in isolation. I ended up avoiding the stress of exams by doing them in a room on my own in the university medical centre. My final year had been traumatic, lots of things had happened that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and that respite from the stress of other students was the best thing that could have happened. I came out with not quite the degree expected, but a reasonable one instead of the fail I was expecting.
Miracle No. 3 – Without my PhD place I was scanning around for things I could do instead. Initially I thought I might teach English as a foreign language and I was offered a placement in Egypt but the interview took place in a hotel room, which looking back was probably a tell-tale sign that this wasn’t quite what it seemed. I was young and naive, but even I recognised that gut feeling telling me to be careful. Back then though I found it difficult to say no and it was a stroke of luck that the law firm representing me in my claim against the employer I’d had the accident with said that leaving the country might damage my claim meaning I was able to reject the job offer.
Miracle No. 4 – I had suffered from IBS and other women’s health issues since my mid-teens. I now know they were all stress induced, back then though it really felt as if it was happening to me. I had treatment after treatment, some invasive and others pharmaceutical in nature. By the time I was 23 they were already lining me up for a hysterectomy. Bearing in mind I’d been told I had incurable endometriosis and the only treatment was surgery, by the time the day of the op came around I was psyched up to lose all the womanly bits. I was sedated, wheeled down to theatre and then woke up in recovery to be told that no surgery had been done as the endometriosis had simply disappeared. I was oddly disappointed, but it did start me on the journey I ended up on today.
Miracle No. 5 – Despite what happened in my 20’s, by my early 30’s I was back in surgery and this time the operation took place. Looking back, I could have learnt the lesson from my earlier experience and chosen to do something about it; but I hadn’t. And perhaps that’s where this particular miracle lies. By a very circuitous route I founded a social enterprise, the Hysterectomy Association at the beginning of the Internet boom. I learnt so much about the psychology of the web, social marketing, building a business, writing and publishing books and building huge communities of people. And it showed me my raison d’etre was to empower others using technology as a medium and driver. Without that experience I wouldn’t be loving the life and work I have now.
Miracle No. 6 – At the end of the last century (that sounds so old!) I was looking for a fresh challenge and location. I had persuaded my then husband to move house and for one reason or another – the story really is too convoluted to explain in a short blog post – we ended up in Dorset for a long weekend. And I fell in love with it. We agreed to buy two flats in the new village of Charlton Down. Sadly, getting home meant realising my contract at the time still had two years to run and it wasn’t really feasible. At least though I knew where I wanted to be, we agreed we’d move when my contract finished. Of course, the contract came and went and I was raring to go. But my husband had changed his mind, he was happy in the new house we’d bought and didn’t want to upsticks and leave the midlands. And then we got into a boundary dispute with our neighbours, which given the house was brand new on a new estate seemed rather far-fetched. But it was the catalyst needed to shift hubby.
I’ve chosen these because they all appear on the surface to have something negative about them, but they illustrate the point that Patsy made perfectly. Miracles happen all the time, sometimes we aren’t aware of them happening because we don’t see them, just imagine if you will that the bus you’re catching for work is late so you get into trouble with the boss; but what if that bus had been on time when the lorry that swerved across the road was just in the wrong place at the wrong time! Life is a series of miracles, sometimes what helps define them is just how you choose to see what’s happening around you.
There are many, many more I could point to – some that would be in the category ‘miraculous’ as we generally think about it, but the ones that always stand out for me are those that show me that life just works.