Ramblings: The Problem of Miracles, Part I

I hope that I see this article through to publication here on this blog, because I’ve given miracles a lot of thought. I am still in my break of writing Retribution and will get back to it shortly. I was thinking that I would write several articles here during this break.

A writing instructor said to me once, “The best way to learn to write is to do it. Nonstop writing.” But my problem, as I mentioned before is that while I have a creative mind, I have a lousy ability to see details. I can read something I’ve written, which is missing a key word, and not see that missing word. Or that I substitute a homonym, like hear for here. I just don’t see it. So, while I write a lot, this causes me not publish things because of the dread of proofreading. Actually I have written two short stories during this break, but stopped just short of completion.

But I digress. I think this Part I on miracles will all be a total digression. Think of it as a book’s preface, but the wrong preface, intended for a different book. Miracles, I will get to it.

Regarding the short stories I wrote, one was a horror story titled Like Me, which I was going to publish here for Halloween. In short, it was about a social recluse Chuck who had no friends. The story was filled with psychological melodrama regarding how he got to that point. He discovers Facebook and tries his last ditch effort to make friends. He contacts everyone in his old high school (he is about 22 years old) and out of 400 “friend requests” only 7 accept. Then none of the 7 comment on, or like his posts. He tries all kinds of posts, funny, interesting, cats, newsy, art, . . . and no comments. He even posted a selfie of him sitting on the toilet. Nothing. Was anyone even seeing his posts?

This story, until this point, is based on a true story. I knew someone who got very angry at everyone because no one commented on their posts. But it goes deeper. We all want people to like us and to comment on things that we do, things we write, art we create, houses we build, jobs we take, and children we raise. Well in the case of Chuck, he becomes a serial killer, hunting down the 7 Facebook “friends,” stalks them and runs them over with is yellow VW Beetle, one by one. I don’t know how Stephen King gets by writing such creepy things without people thinking he’s disturbed.

The second short story was about truth, my obsession with absolute truth. It is about a high school jock in the bayou who has severe aquaphobia (fear of water). His new school has a new indoor pool and all students are required to learn to swim. He reports that he sees an alligator in the pool and tells the coach and other students. He does not want to be forced to get into the water.The word spreads. The coach, a very rational man, finds no evidence of a gator nor even an access point of how the gator could have entered the school. While, 10 years earlier an alligator did bite off a young girl’s leg in her private pool, that pool was outdoors and near the swamp. Their school was far from the swamp with small locked doors. But the whole town becomes divided between the gator believers and unbelievers. It becomes hostile at times. “We’re not sending our kids to that gator infested school! That coach and principal don’t care about us!” Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory is spun. In the end, the gator believers burn the entire 20 million-dollar new school down. Over a beer 5 years later, the boy confesses to a friend that he made the whole thing up.

Aquatics Program - The Pennington School

The other reason that I have not taken the time to finish my writings during this hiatus from Retribution is that I’m building a sauna. I’m doing it for a reason. One of my plethora of new medical problems is my extreme cold intolerance. No one knows why. I thought it was due to my anemia but my anemia improved to just short of normal and the cold intolerance has not. I’m reptilian now. I cannot seem to generate my own heat. In the summer I can lay in the sun and feel fine, until the sun darts behind a cloud. Then I freeze.

If I’m physically working, doing house chores, carpentry work, after 15 minutes I feel almost normal. But if I sit down, with minutes I start to freeze, even with the thermostat turned up to 71. I am still wrapped in a down sleeping bag. Some of my doctors have thought it was funny. It’s not. It is painful, just like as if you go out into your yard and sit on a metal chair, in the dead of winter, in your underwear. It’s unbearable. I am starting to think that is far more complicated than anemia, like maybe my thermoregulator part of my hypothalamus is broken. But now even my digression is digressing.

Water Snakes Sunning    A pond in McDowell County, North Carolina
Reptilian Sunning

Another medical anomaly, on the positive side, is that I had uncontrolled severe hypertension related to my kidney damage from the cancer. After struggling with this for months, then presto, about 6 weeks ago it ended. Part of my blood pressure regulating system in my kidneys kicked back on.

I was introduced to saunas during our one year in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. It was settled by Finlanders. The first time we met our neighbors was when they came over and asked if we wanted to come “sauna with them. Clothes optional.” I built a sauna there. Had to.

The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition | Steam of  Life | POV | PBS
Traditional Sauna in Finland

But my plans with this sauna is to sit and write in it. Not turned up to the typical 180 degrees, but more like 100. If even that sounds intense, it would be like our apartment in Cairo from April through October. But like with all my building projects, this is taking much longer than I had expected and distracted me from taking the time to write. It has also cost more than I expected. I was going to build it out of recycled materials. While the siding is recycled split rail cedar from fences, the rest is mostly new material. It is almost done.

New Sauna Under Construction–(the stone wall was last winter’s project)

Then there is the issue of miracles, which I hope to tackle again. I do it with trepidation. Like with those sensitive about typos, there are plenty of miracle believers (meaning that they believe that miracles are common) get pissed off if I question that. But I want to explore the whole topic with great candor. While this discussion will explore miracles across all belief systems, once again I will default to discussing mostly about different Christian perspectives. But to make sure you get your money’s worth (pun of course) with this article, I will begin by an introduction to my terminology.

What I mean by miracle is something completely outside the possibilities of natural laws. So, driving the car to another town on empty is not the kind of miracle I’m talking about. I’m talking about driving a car for 30 years with no gas, and no engine. Just space under the hood (now that sounds like something in a Stephen King novel). While I’m delighted and deeply thankful, even thankful to God that my hypertension went away, and that I’m not on dialysis right now, I would not consider those miracles under this definition. More, much more in the Part II.



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6 responses to “Ramblings: The Problem of Miracles, Part I”

  1. Jeff is experiencing the same ‘cold phenomena’ that you are. He seems to get cold much easier than before his cancer. In fact, we seem to have switched….he is the one now tucked under a heating blanket as high as it will go and I am the one sleeping on top of the covers!! 😎


  2. I hope you’re pronouncing Sauna correctly. (Sow na) It’s a beautiful sauna.
    I love your horror story idea. (I’m an avid Stephen King fan)
    I look forward to your writings on miracles. So hopeful.
    Hugs 🤗


  3. Mike, I would be happy to do some proofreading to make it possible for you to post your writing freely. Frankly, that is a lame excuse to withhold from us, your readers.


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