Walking to work yesterday I was standing at the intersection across from my office, waiting for the light to change so I could cross Congress Avenue. Across the street I spotted a one-legged man in a wheelchair, moving along on the sidewalk using is one present leg. As he approached the intersection across from me to cross 4th Street, it occurred to me he needed someone to help him across so as to navigate the road crown and cars. Ener a man coming the other way across 4th Street, a younger man, a bit shabbily dressed, with arms full of tattoos. He meets the wheelchaired man just as the latter starts across the street, turns around, and pushes the man across the street to the safety of the sidewalk.
Webster’s defines “miracle” as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.” I don’t know if what I saw was a miracle. It occurs to me that one may have the same difficulty defining “miracle” as Justice Potter Stewart had defining “pornography,” and put “miracle” in the “I know it when I see it” category. I know what I saw felt like a miracle to me, either because one human helped another unselfishly or because as I observed it I felt some bricks come tumbling down or, (in Grinch terms) my heart grow three sizes. What I do know is that when the helping young man crossed 4th Street again we met at the corner. I told him “Way to go” and “high-fived” him before we both went along our ways. And I know I walked away feeling a little better about the future of this clod of dirt and water spinning around in space.