The Reality Of Miracles In A Scientific World
"Live With Joy And Gratitude And Pray By Saying Thank you"
By Patriarch Prof. Chief Alewxander Swift Eagle , D.D, J.D., Grand PhD, Theologian
This year I will be seventy years old. Some have said that hindsight, looking back, is 20/20 or perfect vision.
My young life during the late 1940s and 50s was spent in ignorant poverty. We were poor but I did not know it. Our home was in a poor section of East Los Angeles. Three generations lived in a small house with my grandparents.
We had fifty or sixty chickens in our backyard chicken coop. The coop was built around a large purple fig tree. We always had fresh eggs and chicken to eat at least several times each week. Fig preserves were available all year around. My grandmother was a marvelous cook. Our food was basic and poor but there was plenty of it so we never went hungry.
My clothes were homemade by my mother who sewed very well. Our toys were few from Christmas and made from improvised objects we could scavenge. We had skates, which became scooters. We had used bicycles that we took apart for parts to make a complete unit. Simple pleasures like neighborhood games and tournaments kept us busy and entertained in the years before television. We did have a radio which provided entertainment in the form of serial mysteries.
Mother worked in a drycleaners and earned $0.50 per hour for forty eight hours per week. Mother shared a bedroom with me and my younger sister. A divorce separated my parents when I was just four years old.
The street on which we lived was home for kids and teens from five different violent street gangs. There was an unofficial truce on the block among the rival gang members but anywhere else a confrontation might lead to serious injury or death. There were drugs, threats of violence and many opportunities to get involved with criminals.
What chance did I have growing up among all of that?
I had a quick wit and a sharp tongue. Though small and younger than most of the boys in the neighborhood. My sharp mind and quick tongue allowed me to verbally fence with bullies and to make them laughable in front of their friends if they crossed me. Most made me a friend rather than feel the sting of my putting them down.
However, I was not untouched by the negative associations. I began to work outside the home at seven years of age. I had two jobs. I delivered newspapers twice a week starting at 4:00 AM. After School in the second grade, I sold fruit off the back of a fruit truck five to six days per week. I was the best sales kid. Other boys would walk and fool around between houses. I ran from one house to another, gave free samples and used my wide eyes and appealing smile to make my sales. I got $0.10 for every bucket of oranges that I sold for fifty cents. There were some weeks when I made more than my mother. Mom got all of my earnings to help her. I kept twenty-five cents each week.
Running with the hoodlum boys taught me to swear like a drunken sailor and to make lurid and crude jokes and gestures when girls were in view. I was a skilled petty thief taking candy, sodas and fruit from unguarded trucks and stores. My sense of right and wrong was terribly distorted even though my mother did her best to teach me Right from Wrong.
My mother was a young woman and still had men interested in her. She went on dates. She would sneak out of my grandparent's house after tucking us in for the night. I loved my mother very much.
The Miracle: Christmas was coming and I wanted to get my mother something very nice. My twenty-five cents would not purchase much. At seven years of age, I had no savings because I usually spent my allowance quickly. I was so twisted by my environment and companions that I decided to steal something for my mother for Christmas. It did not occur to me that stealing was not in keeping with the Spirit of Christmas.
After window shopping for about a week, I found the perfect present for my mother. A department store on First Street had an entire outfit in the display window. A smart dress, hat, purse and shoes that would fit my mother perfectly was there for the taking. I decided to steal the outfit.
I put a brick in my newspaper bag. I went to the newspaper pick up depot at about four in the morning as usual. All of the boys were lined up at tables folding their newspapers for delivery from their sacks. I went over the plan in my head. It was early; no one would see me ride up to the department store and smash the window. The goods could be scooped up, stuffed into my bag before anyone could stop me. My bicycle was fast and I knew all of the alleys to make a quick getaway.
Just then, two uniformed police officers came into the newspaper depot. They walked slowly down the line of working boys, pausing to look at each carefully. I began to sweat bullets. They somehow must know my plan. The brick in my sack sagged on the floor at my feet. I would be going to jail and my mother would not even know where I was. I died the thousand deaths of every guilty conscience. As my heart was about to stop, the officers put their hands on the boy next to me. The put him in handcuffs and took him away.
It was disclosed that the boy had used a brick to break a window of a department store on First Street from which he grabbed merchandise. A hidden camera had taken the boy's picture.
I had no idea the there existed such things as hidden cameras. I threw the brick away and decided to go straight. No more cursing, no more stealing, no more disrespectful behavior towards girls. The incident changed the direction of my life. That was truly a Miracle.
The Miracle: Soon after the incident, I was stricken with Rheumatic Fever. It was necessary for me to receive massive doses of penicillin each day and to limit my movement to very slow walking and no excitement of any kind. I was confined to bed for six months. That confinement took me off the streets. The limited activity caused me to learn to read and study during the long hours in bed and in the school nurse's office during the fourth through eighth grade. I became an excellent student because my teachers believed in sitting students in class by their academic rank in the room. When I returned to school after my confinement, my desk was last in the room.
Diligent and secret efforts allowed me to creep forward in the class standings. Extra work and hard study moved me to the top of the class. I never looked back. I served as class president in all grades 4-8th. Graduation with highest honors and superior scores on entrance examinations allowed me to go to the best High School in California. God moved my life from danger to a superior environment where I could flourish.
Enough about me, for now. I wish to share another Miracle that warms my heart each time I share it.
The Miracle: At the time, I was a teacher of sixth grade students (ages 11-12) in a public school. One day, I walked out onto the raised porch at the back of my classroom. I looked out over the dry playground and surveyed the nearly clear blue sky. I sniffed the air and remarked aloud, "It smells like rain." Some students overheard me and said, "you cannot smell rain". I said, "sure you can smell the rain if you pay attention. I am a Native American and we pay attention to what is going on in our world. Can you recall the smell of the sidewalk and grass right after you sprinkle it in the summer? The coming rain smells like that."
Then I decided to have some fun with them. "I was thinking of doing a Rain Dance so we might have some rain."
"A Rain Dance", they laughed. "You can't make it rain."
"Sure, a Rain Dance. You are right. God makes the rain. When a Native American does a rain dance he is just praying for rain. God decides if it will rain."
The children begged me to do a rain dance. I went out onto the porch and did a short rain dance for them. Within five minutes it began to rain. The children were delighted. They asked if I could make it stop. Again, I reminded them that God made it rain or stop raining. However, I felt like pulling their legs, kidding. I went on the porch and did a backwards rain dance. The rain stopped almost immediately. They asked me to dance again. I did a rain dance and the rain started again.
The children realized that if it was raining at recess that they would have to stay indoors. Five minutes before recess I did a backwards dance and the rain stopped. The rain resumed as soon as recess was over. The children were excited beyond containment. They wanted to know if they could rain dance. I told them again that the dance was a prayer for rain and God would have to decide if it should rain or not.
I danced backwards before lunch and the rain stopped so they could play. The children went to lunch recess and began dancing around the tree in a clockwise direction to pray for rain. Other children, teachers and aides asked what they were doing. When told about the rain dancing all made fun of my children and laughed at them. My students let it slide off their backs. They danced their hearts out.
After lunch the heavens opened and it poured. The students did a backwards dance in the classroom at about fifteen minutes to three and the rain stopped at three when they were released.
The next day the children wanted to dance again. I suggested that we did not need rain every day. Perhaps they could dance about once a week. For the next eight weeks, despite jokes, laughter and critics of all ages, they danced and it rained.
One day, the children asked if they could pray for other things besides the rain. I asked what they had in mind. Several spoke at once and requested a dance for a rainbow. I told them that they could pray for anything that they wanted. Then they were asked to specify the kind of rainbow that they wanted. Rainbows are usually a half oval. However, sometimes rainbows are full circles. They all wanted a full circle rainbow. I told them how to dance for the full circle rainbow.
The children danced at the morning recess for twenty minutes. They danced during the lunch recess for about thirty minutes. The day was clear and dry with blue skies. A light breeze was apparent. At 2:10 the students went out for the ten minute afternoon recess. Almost immediately, several children came running back. "Dr. Justice! Dr. Justice! Come and see! Come and see!" I went into the school yard and looked up. There, around the sun, was the most brilliant full spectrum rainbow that I have ever seen. The Rainbow was spectacular and visible over half the State of California. The children accepted the Miracle as normal and expected because of their dancing. I told them that their dance was a prayer but that it was more important that they realize that God especially loves children and did not wish them to be disappointed.
The Miracle: Several years ago, I began using a wheelchair because my older knees do not allow me to stand, walk or run for any useful length of time. Five years later I bought a power scooter to move me more conveniently. My wife inherited the use of my wheelchair because my power chair would leave her behind. I also felt guilty sitting while she walked beside me. We made a personal train. I would use my chair and she sat in the wheelchair. I would tow her using a rope on both sides of the wheelchair. The system worked well. We could visit malls without getting tired after an hour. The chairs increased our mobility.
One day, we were visiting the Los Angeles County Fair. The Fair Grounds are enormous. Families often spend several days to see the entire fair. The day of our visit, we had to park in a lot on the other side of the eight lane highway. Access to the Fair was by means of a large pedestrian tunnel under the highway. Going to the fair was steep going down and gentle slope going up. Returning from the fair was gentle going down and steep going up to the parking lot.
I was towing my wife in the wheelchair and we started up the steep ramp. Half way up the ramp, my power scooter stalled. I told my wife to stay put and I would get out of my scooter to lighten the load. Before I could get out of my scooter, my wife, forgetting where she was and the effects of gravity, said, "Don't worry, I'll let go." She let go of the ropes holding her to my scooter. Her chair began rolling down the steep grade with an ever increasing speed.
Before I could get out of my chair a cheery voice of a woman said, "I've got her." With a sigh of relief I got back in my chair. My wife was in her chair and by my side moments later. I started my scooter without stall and we moved up the steep ramp side by side. I was very relieved and grateful. I noticed that the lady pushing my wife up the ramp was very slight, perhaps one hundred pounds. I am the type of person who likes to look a person in the eye to say thank you. I never saw past the woman's shoulder. My wife never saw her benefactor's face. We got to the top of the steep ramp, thanked the lady, we looked at each other with relief and before we could express additional thanks to the lady, she was gone.
The physics of the situation point to this being a miracle. My wife is a well fed lady of about three hundred pounds. Her full weight was working to move her rapidly down the steep ramp. It would take two men of over two hundred and fifty pounds each, in very good physical condition and brave enough to take their lives into their hands to stop the accelerating wheelchair.
Final Miracle for Now: I have learned the Secret of Life which I will share with all now. Happiness is a choice that we may each make each day. No matter what your situation you may decide to be happy. If you make the decision to be happy no matter what happens during the day, you will be happy.
It is all points of view. If you get a flat tire while driving, you can be happy that it is only one tire and not all four. You can be grateful that you have auto club roadside service and a cell phone to call for help. If you lose your vision, you may be grateful and happy that you can still hear, taste, smell, think, eat, have sex, feel and recall a lifetime of previous visions.
Being Happy is also easier if you count your Blessings each and every night before you sleep.
To be happy: Live with Joy and Gratitude and Pray by Saying Thank You.
I know that the above sounds simplistic and naïve. But I speak from experience. My wife has lost her vision. She is legally blind. She has no vision in her left eye and very poor vision in her right eye. She is still a very happy lady. We have been married for forty-six years. We love each other and our lives are filled with joy each day. I am not able to get around the way that I did when I was young. I feel that I am happy and that I have finally gotten it Right. If there is Reincarnation and we are required to relive lives until we reach "Understanding" I believe that I have come to that place in life. I am happy and my wife is happy too.
We are all pilots of our own ship of life. There is comfort in knowing that the Great Spirit values each of us and that we are not alone. We steer the ship but the Great Spirit will Navigate and create good weather for us.