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Lara Patangan considers how the little miracles we can have a hand in each day don't have to be spectacular in scope to have a big impact.

The shelter gave the big black dog with the shiny coat and glossy white teeth the name Razzle Dazzle. It made me think of the Broadway hit song “Razzle Dazzle” from the musical Chicago. After meeting him I had the impression this dog would have gladly tap danced for us if it meant an end to his 6-week stay in isolation. A dry erase board hung on the door to his kennel. It didn’t highlight his snazzy name, just a stark confession: “I eat blankets.” 

Maybe it was that shaming statement which tarnished his fanciful shelter-name, Razzle Dazzle. Either way, it didn’t seem to fit. After adopting him, we called him Gus. It wasn’t meant to be short for anything elaborate like Augustus or Gustavo. It was just a plain name for a black dog who, once adopted, never ate even a single blanket.  

Although none of us are one-dimensional, names can instantly convey a specific persona. When I think of God, from the often-overlooked beauty and intricacies of Creation to the evidence of His healing miracles, I can’t help but think of a little razzle dazzle. After all, what could be more dazzling than a miracle? 




Yet for most of us, our experience with God feels more ordinary than over the top. We want the dancing spotlight of big solutions and to feel the elation of answered prayers. We have real problems, and we need resolutions. Often, we already have the solution in mind, we just need God to be a good pharmacist and fill our prescription. We don’t want to hear any nonsense about how God’s timing is different. We aren’t in the mood for any blessings in disguise. We don’t want to hear Garth Brooks sing his optimistic opinion about the gift of unanswered prayers. C’mon God, just show us a little razzle dazzle.  

Yet so often what He shows us instead is the redemption that comes from suffering. Despite significant loss we ultimately become more—not less. I’m not only talking about the way hard experiences and hurts often shape our vocation, passion, or purpose; how difficult times clarify priorities and make us more grateful for loved ones; or how painful life events make us both stronger and softer. Maybe any of these changes could even be considered a miracle in themselves. Yet, the sparkle that we readily miss—the razzle dazzle that God so desperately wants us to experience—is the miracle we take part in by loving our neighbor through their hardships.  


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The razzle dazzle that God so desperately wants us to experience is the miracle we take part in by loving our neighbor through their hardships. #CatholicMom


It's easy to tap dance around service and focus on self but we were created to love and serve God and others. There is tremendous power in the capacity of God’s love in each of us to change lives. Loving others is not some sing-song sentiment humming the merits of harmony. It is God’s command, and there is tremendous power to make the world better by obeying his command. Too often we overlook the value our compassion toward others has in giving someone the strength to endure, heal, and carry on.

Our world needs our merciful love more than ever. We aren’t God and we can’t move mountains, but we can move toward becoming a more compassionate society by small acts of kindness. The world has taught us to distract ourselves with the spectacle of superficial greatness to the point that we have forgotten how great small things are to someone in need. Loving others is transformative. There is nothing more miraculous. The fact that we can somehow be a part of God’s mercy by our care for others is what should take center stage. 

God doesn’t just dazzle. He also directs us to love. A small glint of gratitude from someone you’ve just helped may not live up to our perception of who God is or what a miracle should look like, but don’t underestimate the way it shines. Even plain old Gus knows it’s pretty spectacular.   



Copyright 2023 Lara Patangan
Images: Canva