One Sunday, my daughter, Mary, and I were discussing her Sunday school lesson about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
“I just don’t buy that story, Mom. How could anyone raise someone from the dead?”
Realizing I needed to find a way to field her youthful skepticism, I told her, “Jesus was able to do miracles. He even said if we believe, we would do the works he did and even greater.”
“Oh pshaw, I can’t do miracles. Can you, Mom?”
“Well, once in church, a bunch of us prayed for Ethel Sawyer’s poison ivy and it disappeared. I guess that might be a miracle.”
“I’m just not sure I believe all that stuff,” Mary said, and she ran out the door to play.
“I have doubts sometimes too, Mary,” I said to the door closing behind her.
A while after that our hamster, Tuggy, escaped his cage. Again. If we had known he was an escape artist, we would have named him Houdini II. Tuggy had in the past been retrieved from under the bed, from behind the refrigerator, and from the top of his cage. I shuddered to think what I would have to deal with if he got lost or killed. Tuggy had become, to say the least, Mary’s favorite pet.
This time, as Mary and I searched for him, we heard rustling sounds under the bathroom cabinet. The cabinet allowed no space to poke around for a soft, furry body or to entice with food, so we were left to cajole and coax.
Mary’s sister, Jennifer, came out of her room from listening to us plot Tuggy’s rescue, and said, “I think that rodent’s a goner this time.
He’ll never come out of there.”
Mary looked stricken, and smacked her sister on the arm. “Stop saying that!”
“OK, cease the conflict, girls,” I said. “We just have to use our heads here.”
Using my head involved encouraging Tuggy to come out, yelling at him, and then pounding my fist on the counter.
“Mary, I’m at a loss. What do you think we should do?”
“I’m praying for a miracle,” she said.
"You said you didn't believe in miracles," I said.
"What else are we going to do?" she asked, throwing her hands up in the air.
I sat on the toilet seat and closed my eyes. In quiet meditation the answer will come, I thought. Or is that medication?
Out of the blue, I stood up and shouted, “Tuggy, come forth!”
Mary and I stared at the floor in silence. Out scurried Tuggy, a little blinded by the light, but looking up at us as if to say, “You rang?”
I gave a quiet chuckle.
“It’s a miracle!” Mary shouted, and scooped Tuggy up before he could change his mind.
Erma Bombeck Humor Competition
February 15, 2016