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On The Edge Of A Miracle

Alice falls through the looking glass because of a rabbit. Dorothy lands on a witch. A future King pulls a sword from a stone.

…and then their world was different.

It’s not just that something happens and then there’s a reaction and things get a little wobbly. It’s not just that. It’s about something happening and suddenly, without logic or rationale, the entire world in which you survived, grew up and understand has completely changed.

It’s upside down.

It’s the tea party and everyone else is the Mad Hatter.

Nothing is as it was only minutes ago.

I was teaching last night and as I walked out for our break and lit up a cigarette, a car passed me on Hollywood Boulevard and honked several times. Arms flying out of the windows and with the wind whipping through the trees enough to bend them to the ground, and the sky littered with stars, they threw the words:


…straight at me like lightening.

I knew then, just then as I stood there with a room full of 16 students waiting upstairs for me, that the world I understood and knew just moments ago, was now completely different. No matter what happened from now until the day I leave the planet, that moment, that singular moment of standing on the street and seeing that car speed by me, was life affirming.

I was alive on the planet and I was experiencing something pivotal. Too big to comprehend. Bigger than me. Bigger than my whole life. Bigger than anything I had ever imagined.

I tout that possibilities run rampant in our lives. That anything is truly possible. And yet, when I’m shown that it’s honestly true, I feel uneasy. I felt a joy and a release and a freedom that almost frightened me. Even though, for the last 6 months I had never been more sure of anything in the world, the fact of it scared me.

I stood on the corner, still smoking and a man with a large cigar walked up to me.

“Do you have a light?” he asked.

I reached into my pocket and lit the tip of his cigar.

“Goddam unreal, aint it?” he asked smiling.

His face looked to be about 70. He wore a brown derby cocked to one side and was practically drowning in an old checkered smoking jacket.

“What do you mean?” I asked, knowing exactly what he meant.

“Just that he won.”

“It’s amazing.” I said in a bit of awe.

He smiled.

“You know. I never thought I’d live to see the day that a real live miracle would actually happen.”

And he wished me a good night, puffed on his cigar and walked on. I watched him as he walked down the street. The wind was blowing like crazy, and that man still smoked and tipped his hat occasionally. He walked on as if something in him had grown. As if he was bigger than he was used to.

A miracle.

I’m alive and a real live miracle has happened.

Because he was right. It’s not just about the country I live in that’s different. It’s about everyone else around us. It’s about Oz. It’s about Wonderland. It’s about me now actually looking around at what’s happening and taking it in and believing it and not being frightened of it.

The world is different. And I’m in the middle of a brand new possibility. I can’t imagine what’s next.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2008 11:04 am (UTC)
The miracle.
Wonderfully put. Wonderful story. Just Wonderful. All of it.
Nov. 5th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Being in Grant Park last night was beyond words....right before they called it..we were thinking they were about to give early CA results....then BAM! and the whole park erupted, grown men cried and a cool breeze blew across the masses. Seriously, I am SO glad I went...it was truly electric and unifying!

I'm STILL awake and lying in bed, watching TV & (i think) coming out of shock...I'm still tearing up, afraid if I go to sleep, it will all go away & last night was a dream...
Nov. 5th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
My prayers are with him. I believe he's got a hard road ahead of him thanks to the ones before. I sincerely believe we hired the right man for the job. My prayers are with him.
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:08 am (UTC)
You blow me away! I am absolutely convinced that in addition to heightened sensitivity, intelligence and erudtion are key elements in the trans pathology. You are a gifted writer. It inspires me to read your words. Denny
Nov. 6th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Epistle according to Alex
I'd like to read this as part of my church service. I don't know if I can because of 501c3 stuff. I'll check on that. You once told me that I could put your blog posts on a billboard in Boystown if I wanted. Well, I can't afford to do that... but this post fits so well with what we've been talking about the last couple months.

If you would rather I not read this at church, please let me know.
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Epistle according to Alex
Please, please, please do. I'd be honored. :-)
Nov. 6th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
I've never encountered as much spontaneous joy as I saw Tuesday night. Everyone in the city was cheering. I wasn't even in Grant Park, I was in Andersonville, but the mood was palpable and infectious.

I hope we can have more times like this as we collectively push the dark clouds away. And I hope we can remember to keep working together, because Obama needs all of us to cooperate!
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, like Oz
Absolutely brilliant, Alex. It's so big and different I can see it in people's eyes. I haven't even began to absorb it enough to express my feelings yet. But, you certainly touched on it.

Nov. 7th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
The truth is this country is a bit of a miracle that we all get to live inside each day--whether political results are what we hoped for, or not. When things go against us, we tend to forget the larger miracle. The things we hope for, and dream about, may not happen today, but they CAN happen here. Just for example, look at the vote totals for Proposition 8. Then, compare them to the vote totals the last time something like this was on the ballot, which was Proposition 22 eight years ago. Proposition 22 passed by 23%, while Proposition passed by 4-5%, mostly due to blacks and Hispanics. It didn't happen this time, but it WILL happen.

Nov. 7th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
"While Proposition "8" passed by 4-5%"--sorry left out the 8.

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )