Is there a more misused word in the English language than “miracle”? I can think of only a few others that can compare to it. Note this article in the Washington Post that talks about a “Christmas miracle” that happened when an atheist found a priceless engagement ring (it belonged to the groom’s grandmother) and returned it to the owners. I’ll skip the absurd amount of detail in the article and cut to the chase:
Siranjan Kulatilake, 55, walked down his steps, and there, on the sidewalk, he spotted a diamond ring.
The band was so small he wondered if it belonged to a child. Puzzled, Kulatilake hooked the ring onto a lanyard that held his keys…
Desperate, he and Plack searched their trash, picking through wet coffee filters and rotten lettuce. They re-rode her bus route and got a number for the people who clean the vehicles. At the Metro station, they found the manager.
As riders walked past, Plack broke down.
“I’ll pray for you. Keep your faith in God,” the manager told them. “Let’s hope a godly person finds it.”
Oh yes, because only a “godly person” would have the moral fiber to return it, right? Wrong.
Kulatilake, who describes himself as an atheist, returned to his apartment and examined the ring.
“What do I do with this?” he wondered. “It’s obviously precious to someone.”…Kulatilake, who has lived in the District for about 15 years, placed the ring into a vase for safekeeping. He and his wife discussed how they might find the owner. The Internet? Local jewelers? He had no idea.
The next morning, on her way back from the farmers market, his wife saw one of the fliers Plack had taped up around the neighborhood.
“LOST ENGAGEMENT RING,” it said. “***REWARD WILL BE OFFERED***.”
Plack and her mother had just finished wedding dress shopping and were on their way to a florist in Annapolis when her cellphone rang. She ignored the call, but listened to the voicemail.
“Hey, Hayley,” Kulatilake said in his clipped British accent. “I think I found your engagement ring on the street. Give me a call if you get a chance.”
She screamed, then called him.
She asked where he had found it. He told her. He asked for a description. She gave him one.
But before Plack got her ring back, before she texted her fiance a message that ended in 11 exclamation points, before their mothers cried, before she once again looked forward to holiday parties, Kulatilake asked her an important question: “So you said a reward would be offered?”
Plack panicked. Yes, she told him. How much do you want?
“I don’t want the reward for myself,” he explained. Could she make a donation to the Washington Humane Society? Even $50 would suffice.
So no miracle at all and no need for a “godly person” to have found it, just a kind and decent atheist who knew that what he found held great meaning for someone.