I am still kind of shaking my head in disbelief. But let me take you back to a few days.

It was a very cold, nerve-racking day. My youngest of two sons had just been through spinal fusion surgery. Two hours away, my husband sat at his bedside. He messaged about his struggles between finding food on a holiday weekend during a minor blizzard and updates on my son's condition. (He came through fine.) A series of almost unbelievable events were about to occur, the first taking place hours earlier.

Home alone, pacing the floor in concern over my son's pending surgery, I asked God for a sign — anything — to help me ease my worries and fear. My son had a lot riding on this surgery. So much seemed pitted against it, including the weather. But hubby got him there without incident, and once there, they awaited prep to begin. 

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Back home, my request for comfort sent, I asked my favorite listening device to play some Christmas music. Tired of the same ol' same ol', I decided to throw "her" a curve ball and said, "Play some country Christmas music." Only half paying attention, words suddenly leapt from a song I'd never heard before. . .

It'll be alright, when I'm holding you tight,
cause this Christmas, I'm home.* 

Okay. Did I hear that right? It said, "I'll be home for Christmas," and everything will be alright." Was I being assured hubby and son would make it home for Christmas day? Unfamiliar with the song, I asked the same listening device for the song's title. I Google searched the words. The lyrics that appeared were similar but not for a Christmas song. Maybe I just imagined it. But then, sometime later in the day while my son was still in surgery, I heard the song again, then later that evening, a third time. At that point, even after successful surgery, them being home for Christmas still seemed like a long shot, not just due to the seriousness of the procedure but also due to the weather settling in.

The next morning, the banter between us all seemed centered on the hope of them coming home that day. The hospital set forward a series of benchmarks for my son to pass, and, one by one, he passed them, until he didn't. Nurses began consoling my son and telling him, if he did have to spend Christmas in the hospital, it would still be celebratory. He's not a child. It's just that Christmas is his favorite of all holidays and he wanted to be home to enjoy our family time together.

A day passed. Now Christmas eve, the benchmark process started again. IV out. Standing. Learning to use a walker. Learning to climb stairs with a walker. He still needed to be released by his doctor. The nurses let him know he could expect the PA to do this as, due to it being a Saturday, a holiday, and horrible weather conditions including below freezing temps and wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour, the surgeon wouldn't be coming in.

This is where things really started to get weird.

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My husband texted that we needed to find a tall man's walker, and they'd had trouble finding one locally — but then they did. My husband could stop there on the way home. My son needed to have some prescriptions filled near the hospital because, due to state regulations, they were unsure if we could fill them at home, across state lines. Yet they did. And, remember, my husband had barely eaten in two days. As it turned out, the pharmacy had a deli. We have no such creature near us, so this was a big, beautiful surprise.

Meanwhile, hubby sent texts with orders to pick up items per the physical therapy staff. I also needed a few groceries. So despite the weather, I bundled up, warmed up the truck, and prepared to go out into the cold.

Sitting in the truck, still less than a year old to me, I could not remember how to put it into 4-wheel drive. Earlier in the week, hubby had told me in explicit instructions, push this button here, don't touch that button there, but now it all seemed like a blur. I guessed, pushed a button that seemed the most logical. I waited for the 4-wheel light to come on. It did! What a relief! I couldn't imagine navigating the drifting snow in two-wheel drive.

Pulling out of the driveway and toward the main street, I had a choice. For my grocery pick-up order, I would turn to the right, yet my order wouldn't be ready for another fifteen minutes. For the rest of hubby's list, I needed to turn to the left. Something told me to go to the right. It didn't necessarily make sense, but that's what I did. Halfway up the hill toward the grocery store, I heard a "ding" on my phone. The order was ready for pickup. Great!

Picking up the groceries, the wind gusts and freezing temps cut right through me. I felt so bad for those delivery girls. Somebody before me had purchased ten baskets full of food. The clod didn’t even bother to get out to help the gal load his car. He obviously was capable because he got out afterward to clear his wiper blades. I couldn't believe someone would be so cruel in these conditions. I got out and helped mine and thanked her profusely. I would not want that job!

On the way back down the hill, I noticed traffic stalled because a truck similar to mine couldn't get moving due to ice forming on the roadway. The wheels spun, but the lady driver couldn't go forward. If I had gone later, I would’ve been caught in that traffic. Thank goodness I chose to do the grocery pickup first. My phone "dinged" again, but I couldn't look and drive. I waited until I got to my next stop.

After I parked, I checked my phone. It was a message saying the grocery store had stopped all pickups. If I hadn’t gone when I did, I don't know when or how I would have gotten my order.

I walked into the pharmacy looking for the items on hubby's list from the physical therapist. I couldn’t find a single thing I needed. I walked the isles, and couldn’t even find a clerk. Finally, out of desperation, I whispered, "Help me, angels!" 

I walked down an aisle looking for some cough drops, stopped, because another text from hubby came in. Read the text. Looked up. And there on an end rack were all the items requested. Each one was the last one on the shelf. This day was turning out to be amazing.

I headed home. As I started to pull in, our plow guy was clearing the driveway, which was great since all the cars were out of the way. I waited in the street while he finished the job. Perfect timing.

Inside, hubby texted saying that, to everyone's amazement, the surgeon had driven down to the hospital to release my son. Wearing street clothes, he'd made the trip just to check on him before he'd start his long, two-hour trek home.Winter DP 12563286 XL

So now you know the miracles of my day, but what is the "mirage" mentioned in the subject line?

The mirage is how we tell a story. I could have ranted about the horrible weather. I could have lamented about my worry that the family might not be together on Christmas. There were so many opportunities to miss the miracles and see only the mirage of problems and troubles.

A week later, I got caught up in one of those mirages. I'd purchased a food-by-mail service for my sons for Christmas since the youngest, the cook of the pair, would be in bed recuperating, and my oldest, not so adept at cooking, would be in charge of that. But the food boxes kept getting messed up. One arrived missing four of the meals. I got so angry over this and the problems it caused, I couldn't sleep. I wanted to yell at someone and let them know the hardship it created. No one answered the phone. I only had email to express my disappointment.

The next morning, I decided to let my anger go. It wasn't helping anybody. In the end, the company sent me a generous credit, one that allowed us to get an extra box—a full additional week of food—for no cost. If I had stayed focused on the mirage, I wouldn't have realized the benefit we received.

I hope you had a lovely holiday and are recuperating from all the goodies you may have tried and all the many get-togethers you may have survived. My wish for you is that you'll see only miracles in your life and avoid all the mirages.

Happy New Year!

*The song, Home, sung by Blake Shelton and Michael Bublé