Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

In the magical land called maybe

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY | Published March 21, 2019

Five years ago, my late husband bought me a lovely orchid plant adorned with dazzling pink flowers. Unfortunately, once the array of blooms fell off, the plant stubbornly refused to blossom.

One day recently, I was planning to toss the poor thing into the yard when I noticed two fancy blooms peering out from beneath the leaves.

My friend immediately said, “I bet Jef sent you those flowers.”

A few days later, I was putting my groceries into my car when I spotted a raggedy young man approaching me in the parking lot—and I braced myself for the inevitable request for money.

He surprised me, however, by saying he wasn’t asking for money. He was hungry and had been begging in the parking lot for hours. I agreed to get him lunch, so we headed to the deli section in the grocery store.

After I paid for his sandwich, he shook my hand and thanked me profusely, and I pointed to the nearby patio, suggesting it was a good place to dine.

Outside, I turned around to see where he had gone but couldn’t find him. I was curious, so I returned to the store and also checked the patio, but there was no sign of him.

“He seems to have disappeared,” I thought.

As a child, I loved the game called “Let’s make believe,” which transformed my sister and myself into cowboys riding horses around our Miami lawn.

When we grew tired, we stopped for lunch over a pretend campfire while our imaginary horses rested in the shade. To create these summer adventures, we dipped into a pool of fantasy, well-known to children whose stuffed animals routinely come to life.

Back then, I wouldn’t have doubted that my beloved husband sent the flowers and the mysterious panhandler was an angel, but my serious adult mind says both things are impossible.

Still, as I’m falling asleep each night, that serious mind slowly dissolves, replaced by snippets of poetic musings and colorful images.

Last night, two thoughts from the deepest recesses of the well of fantasy fluttered to the surface: “Maybe the flowers were indeed a gift from Jef—and maybe that man was an angel.”

When we say “maybe,” aren’t we suggesting something else exists besides the definite?

One and one equals two, and that’s definite, not maybe. But maybe angels come disguised as strangers, and maybe souls beyond the veil of this world can break through to us.

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of,” wrote Blaise Pascal.

Faith isn’t about formulas and equations, and it can’t be summed up by logical principles. Oddly, though, folks like me who embrace the miracles of Christianity sometimes retreat to strictest reason when it comes to everyday events.

But in a magical place in our minds, so familiar to children, ordinary happenings can break loose from facts and formulas, and assume an entirely different light.

How sad the world would be without mysterious encounters that can bring us closer to God. And how delightful life becomes in the realm called maybe, where flowers are tokens of undying love—and angels show up in parking lots.

Artwork is by Jef Murray. Lorraine’s email address is