Stopping Traffic and Other Miracles


I’ve been giving a lot of thought to miracles lately, because this is, after all, supposed to be a season of them. And funny thing about that – you usually find what you look for, so depending on what constitutes a miracle to you, you can be perpetually steeped in wonder or dying of thirst in a vast desert devoid of such things.

Me, I like to look on the bright side, especially in these dark times we appear to be living in, so what constitutes a miracle to me is as simple and as difficult as any act of love in an unloving world, a change of heart, compassion, or genuine forgiveness.

And that brings me to last night…

Our band, The Inspire Project, which is comprised of me, Tanya Leah, and Lorraine Ferro, had a gig at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan – our first actual gig in New York City, despite the fact that the three of us are New Yorkers.

Christmastime in Manhattan is filled with lights and festivity…and so many people that it is nearly impossible to traverse on foot, let alone in a car.

But my mother, God rest her soul, did not want me to be afraid to drive anywhere – which is a neat trick, considering my fears are many and vast. So she took me to practice driving in Manhattan, when I first started learning to drive.

In retrospect, that was not only a little insane, but also, a precious gift she gave me, because I’ve driven practically everywhere in these United States.

So there we were – me, Tanya, Tanya’s husband, Arnie, keyboards, guitars, and assorted other band paraphernalia, packed snugly into my Prius, trying to get to our gig downtown, four days before Christmas. We were doing okay, until we got to the corner of Clarkson and 7th Avenue South, which was complete gridlock across at least six or seven lanes of traffic on 7th Avenue.

We would be there forever. In fact, I think I’d still be sitting on the corner of Clarkson and 7th Ave. South right now if it wasn’t for Tanya, who hopped out of the car and into the middle of oncoming traffic on 7th Ave. to make a clearing for me.

Lane by lane, she singlehandedly stopped traffic, with nothing but her hand and determination, as she waved me on excitedly to cross 7th, which I did.

Now, one could just chalk this up to the lengths a band will go to, to get to a gig on time, which are many, by the by. However, I choose to look at it as the great lengths a friend will go to in order to help another friend out.

And that brings me back to miracles.

We all possess within us the ability to be someone’s miracle.

In these times, it is a radical idea to love one another. It is hard to conceive of peace amid the deafening sounds of intolerance. It is an act of faith to get out of bed in the morning to face the ugliness of hate-filled rhetoric and the barrage of lies that would convince us that we are perpetually threatened by our fellow man or that we are separate from him or her at all.

It is easier to blame, to cast out, to berate and belittle. It is much harder to love in the face of those things. But that is what we are called to do. It is what we were made for and it is why we are here.

I usually shy away from such preaching. After all, who am I to tell you what to do? But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I believe we’re there. So I’m telling you – our job is to love one another, to lift each other up, to be the walking embodiment of peace and goodness, and to stop waiting for anyone else to lead the way to that. It’s you. It’s me. It’s time.

So in this season of miracles, I’m asking that your gift to this world be you – in all your glorious imperfection and vulnerability, and in your greatness and magnificence.

Tell people what they mean to you. Be the one who offers the kind word, or the olive branch, or the helping hand. And be the one who remembers to be grateful for every kindness people show you.

Our world will be redeemed by love alone. It is quiet, but mighty.

So in this season of miracles, I wish you eyes that see through the lens of joy and gratitude, peace that fills your heart and home, and love that transcends everything. Oh, and I also wish you someone in your life who’d stop traffic for you.

Peace and blessings, and the merriest of Christmases to you,