Being the inquisitive type, I clicked through from that article onto one by a Lisa Kogan which promised "12 reasons why even a skeptic can believe". Bearing in mind Carl Sagan's maxim "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", I dived in headfirst.
The effect is jaw-dropping. "Look, honey!" I whisper, "Mary Poppins is suspended in midair!" My darling little 7-year-old glares at me as though I am certifiably insane and whispers back, "Mommy, that's an actress and I can see the strings."So your daughter's already smarter than you are. Good start.
To cut a long and coma-inducing story short, here are her 12 reasons to believe, handily set out in month format.
January: Lisa falls while ice-skating and doesn't break any bones.
February: Lisa and her partner's relationship has endured for 17 years.
March: Lisa has lost four pounds.
April: Eva Cassidy's voice.
May: The season of spring, more precisely
the sun and cherry trees and open windows and linen skirts and iced cappuccinos that cost more than my father's first car.June: A baseball umpire admits his mistake in calling a batsman safe (something like that, I fail to comprehend America's bizarre sporting rituals. You should have stuck to cricket).
July: A Christian Republican promises to support Obama on immigration reform (but only if he's right, the conditions for which remain unspoken).
August: Lisa has forgotten how long it's been since she saw Dennis Quaid in an apparently forgettable movie.
September: Lisa's friend is pregnant and looking forward to the "miracle" of birth.
October: Another friend helps people who have cancer but no money.
November: Thanksgiving dinner passes without the extended family at each other's throats.
December: A tapestry from the 17th century hangs in a cathedral (looks like she was getting a bit desperate for evidence).
Oh yeah? What about the tapestries that didn't survive, and tha families that broke up, and the cancer patients who died anyway, and the women who had miscarriages, and the people who put on weight, and...
Tonight I will sit down with Julia and tell her the story of my year spent searching for miracles. "The thing is," I'll explain, "nobody really has to go looking for a miracle because it turns out, they're usually pretty close to home." They come tiptoeing in while you're watching a no-hitter or folding laundry or tapping a rock-hard pumpkin muffin against the kitchen counter. They're in tapestries that survive hundreds of years, and parents who survive the morning onslaught, and people who don't have enough food to make it through another day, and somehow make it anyway.
Don't be fooled, Julia. Question what your parents tell you, listen to reason, look for rational explanations, and remember - the woo-meisters, fakers and charlatans are out there, still trying to deceive you. Be on your guard.