Always Expect Miracles and Pay Attention

When my dad was alive, he printed up a lot of copies of a card that said “Always Expect Miracles.” On the front of the card was a sketch of an old man’s hand holding a baby’s hand. The hand was shaped much like my dad’s, strong and beefy. And the baby’s hand reminded me of my son’s way back when, tiny and pudgy.

If you knew my dad, even casually, you probably received this very card at some point, (or perhaps many times), with his bold, distinctive cursive communicating a loving letter of thoughtfulness or gratitude on his part. This was Bernie’s meaningful brand, for sure.

I think what helped my dad through many illnesses, surgeries, and hard times financially was that he met life with an enthusiasm and a strong belief that he could indeed expect miracles of all kinds. And because he paid attention, even a small synchronistic encounter was elevated to miraculous in his perception. “Can you believe that happened!!” he exclaimed with exuberance. He was delighted and felt awe toward all the ‘miracles’ he experienced daily. And, of course, they came to him often.

My dad’s birthday in this lifetime was this last week; he has been on my mind and in my heart, constantly.

So, of course, I was expecting a miracle. At least one.

Since he has moved onto his “next great adventure”, yet another miracle for him I am sure, he sends me messages frequently. On my birthday, anniversary, before we travel, no matter the timing, I always receive residual checks from his movies. They can range from thirteen cents to ninety-five dollars. This week five dollars and thirty-one cents arrived in time for Valentine’s Day. It never fails. The ethereal communication is far more impacting on me than the amount of the check.

“Buy yourself a treat!” I hear him say. “It’s on me.” This is just one of so many examples too numerous to name. When events of this nature occur in our family, my husband and son and I will look at each other and simultaneously say, “Thanks Beebs.”

The word Miracle holds different meanings to each of us. A dictionary defines it as “a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.”

Growing up around my dad I have introjected this belief that miracles happen as a result of the interconnectedness of all: humans, plants, animals, earth, sky and water. We are all One. So, I was wondering what was going to show up around his birthday. The more I look for miracles, the more they appear. Confirmation bias?  Perhaps.

So, here’s what happened.

When I was a college student an older actor friend gave me a corn plant for my apartment. The plant was already old back then and had tripled its stalks, so she gave me one of them. I have had this plant ever since. Since we moved into our home, when my son was eighteen months old, it has stayed in the same location at the top of our stairs. It now touches the ceiling. I have seen these kind of corn plants all over the place and really just thought of it as hardy and ordinary. Certainly not special. I never even fertilize this probably fifty-year-old plant. Although, last week I noticed its leaves were dusty, as they often get, and I tenderly wiped them clean. I am sure I talked to her as I do all my plant friends.

A day or so before my dad’s birthday I started to smell this absolutely extraordinary fragrance. Where was it coming from? Whatever it was, it filled our house with the most sensual scent, piercing and unrecognizable. The sweetness traveled right to my brain, creating a blissful state. We tracked it down to the corn plant, which was in FULL BLOOM. What? How? When?  There were droplets of a honey-like substance dripping from the blooms, like some orchid plants do when flowering.

This was astounding. All these years and out of nowhere a message from beyond. As you can see from the photos the blooms look very much like photos I see of the coronavirus. They are strange and spikey.

I looked the plant up on an app and discovered that it is called Dracaena fragrans, (also called Dragon tree) native throughout tropical Africa. Living outdoors in a tropical region encourages it to bloom. Living indoors in a cold, dark Chicago winter does NOT invite the blooms. It is very, very rare. And yet…

“What have you come to tell me?” I asked.

“Miracles can come from the most ordinary of things, at the most needed times.” it replied.

I looked up the meaning associated with Dragon Tree. It symbolizes firmness, fortitude, perseverance, patience, longevity, wealth and good luck. What a powerful lesson for these challenging times. I took it to heart for me, for my clients, for the world.

At first, the plant sent its distinct fragrance throughout our house all day long. The research I did told me this might last for 5-7 days. It has been well over a week. Now it only sends its scent out when the sun goes down and all through the night. The sway of its significance seems to be fading, so I tried to put one of the blooms in a jar with its honey-like drip to be able to remember its impact. When I opened the jar the next day it smelled rotten. It would not be trapped; it was only here to communicate while still connected to its life force. You must only enjoy the moment a butterfly lands on your open hand, without grabbing at it, or you will crush it.

Could it be that the miraculous message is also telling me, that over time, with patience and an eye on the long view, that even this coronavirus will bear sweet fruit, as these dragon tree blooms are so suggestive of the visual shape of the virus? I hope so. I hope my dad, wherever he is, is sending me yet another loving metaphoric missive.