There are miracles that happen around us every day. But most of those are ordinary miracles. The fact that the sun rises each day is amazing. But I also believe, each day, that it will happen.
Then there are miracles that are absolutely unfathomable. As with most miracles of the really unbelievable kind, many tiny miracles along the way led to this day of absolute joy that our church had the honor of participating in.
Last summer, a woman and her two small children were dropped off at our church from detention. It was a miracle that she was released.
It seemed improbable that she would choose to live here. She was from a completely different part of the world than anyone we had hosted before. She followed a different set of cultural and religious norms than we do. She was pregnant, and our staffing was in transition, not yet ready to support. But lacking any other good options, she came to live with us. It was a miracle that she stayed.
She just happened to come at a time when we were launching some experimental relationship-building classes at La Casa. Despite so many differences with the other families staying with us, including the fact that none of the three shared a language, they were able to form bonds of support for one another. It was a miracle that she became part of a community.
She started cooking and would share food with everyone in the house. She would put bowls of food in people’s hands as they came in the door. She helped get the café off the ground by doing the baking. As it came close to time for her to give birth, the hospitality group came into being to hold a baby shower for her. It was a miracle that she was able to give and receive love.
Rita moved mountains to sign up her daughter for school and get her enrolled in WIC. She has helped with transportation to school every single day. Because of that support, this woman was able to know her children were well taken care of when she went to the hospital. It was a miracle that she had a healthy baby and that all her children are thriving.
All this time, she was waiting for her husband, who was still in detention. Some days with hope. Some days with despair. Always with incredible patience. It was a miracle she had the strength.
And then on Saturday, she received a call that her husband was going to be released, for no particular reason, after nine months of waiting. And rather than being excruciating, his release was easy. They dropped him off earlier than planned. They called ahead to let us know he was on the way. It is a miracle that her husband is now free.
Her husband said today that knowing that his wife was so well taken care of was the one things that gave him hope through the long months of stress. It was a miracle that the love of our community reached through the walls of the detention center.
Her husband told me a story today about his grandfather, who had lived through the second World War in Russia, a time of destitution. He didn’t want to eat his soup one night, and his grandfather talked about how during the war times, they were so hungry they had to eat grass. So, his grandfather said: “Don’t complain about your soup. This soup is a gift.”
I said something like, “I guess suffering makes us appreciative.”
And he said: “Yes, like me right now. I could look out this window all day. It’s amazing. Look at all these colors. Look at the letters on that truck. They are amazing. Look at where an insect died on this windshield. Look how beautiful that mark is.”
Then he said: “After I ate the soup, my grandfather said, ‘Be grateful for every breath.’ I understand that now.”
And then he said: “I can’t number my thank yous.”
We can’t number our thank yous for getting to participate in this incredible miracle of miracles.
Diana Garcia serves as pastor to families at San Antonio Mennonite Church, which operates a hospitality house for stranded asylum-seekers, La Casa de Maria y Marta, in San Antonio, Texas This is a healing, intentional community offering asylum seekers structure, support and opportunities to serve at Café Cotidiano (a coffee trailer) and Las Catrachitas (a pupusa trailer).