Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans. So sang John Lennon — and that song’s been a soundtrack for me during the past year as my own life has swerved and careened and accelerated to warp speed and slowed to a near halt, as it has sometimes seemed like someone — when I wasn’t looking — flipped a switch to put me on automatic pilot, my destination programmed and out of my control. It’s been a sad, chaotic, disorienting and often disillusioning period of my life.

But it’s also been a time in which I’ve encountered unexpected wonders and wonderful revelations. And many of those wonders and revelations have had something — everything — to do with love and its power to heal, inspire, rejuvenate, to restore one’s faith, to revive, to resurrect, to make life come alive once again, to appear and come to the rescue when you least expect it and all seems lost.

I’ve experienced a miracle. I don’t mean I’ve seen the blessed Virgin bearing messages or had stigmata appear on my hands and feet. No flowers have fallen to the ground when I’ve opened my cloak. I have not, like St. Catherine, risen to the top of the room. I have not heard voices — except the tender, warm, soothing voice of true love and pure affection. How many people can say that? I’ve realized there are so, so many people in this world who never feel true love.

These thoughts are inspired by a piece of writing, a burst of emotion, that’s way, way better than what you just read.  Read the latest installment of SilverLining (complete with great photos of a young deer encountered on the path around a pond). Speaking of miracles. Speaking of giving thanks. Speaking of love. Speaking of life happening to you when you’re making other plans…

Here’s Ella Fitzgerald — from my hometown of Yonkers, N.Y. — singing about hope and happiness…singing about blue skies:

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