Last week I experienced a real live, bona fide, completely cliché miracle.
I’d undertaken the monumental task of overhauling my daughter’s room. For eight hours I sorted, tossed, scrubbed, organized, folded and stacked her belongings. From treasured birthday cards to McDonald’s Happy Meal toys to toddler toys that had been hiding in the bottom of her toy box for the last seven years, each item was rigorously evaluated.
A heap of junk went in the trash. Detached doll limbs, orange peels, torn-up coloring books and the like went straight to the recycling bin or the city landfill. (Sorry.) Items that still had the ability to delight a little girl — dolls with most or all of their limbs, outgrown baby toys, outgrown clothes — those went into the “give away” pile. Everything else found a home.
The day was long, sometimes frustrating and a bit sad, as I realized my little girl was growing up. My back ached and I longed for a shower as I approached the home stretch and set about the finishing touches. I saw a cross that my in-laws made for my daughter. It was cut from white board with bottle caps glued to it, and in each bottle cap, a colorful dragon tear.
A nail protruded the wall, from which the cross had once hung. At some point, for some unknown reason, it had been taken down. I set about putting it back up.
The hanging hole was small — barely big enough to slide over the nail’s small head. I smashed my face against the wall, trying to see behind the cross and line the nail up with the hole. I tried, and tried again, giving my spatial estimation skills a full workout. Time and again, I failed, feeling the nail slide across the back of the cross, never finding it with the hole.
Frustrated, I feared I would have to go to the garage, find the picture-hanging tools and start from scratch. The thought made me weary.
I decided to try one last time and uttered my last-resort prayer.
God, could you please help me hang this up?
I kid you not. You’re going to think I’m lying, but I pinky swear that this is the truth. The moment the prayer crossed my lips, a beam of sunlight came in the window and hit the cross, shining through the tiny nail hole onto the wall. My jaw dropped, and I wondered if, perhaps, I could line the pinpoint of light up with the nail. It worked, and the cross was hung with perfect ease.
I pictured God slapping his knee, cracking up about His impeccable timing. I’ve been waiting to use ye olde beam-of-light trick on you!
I’ve shared this story around. Some people muse that the cross will be special to my daughter, a reminder that God lends a helping hand if we ask. Others suggested it was a faith vitamin — a moment to keep my faith healthy and keep God’s loving nature fresh in my mind. Or a reminder that no problem is too small to place before God. Or that He’s always listening.
What do I think? I agree with the others, but something else has crossed my mind. Perhaps it’s a reminder for someone else, something to write about, a message to deliver. Maybe it’s a message for you.
Freelancer and Overland Park mom Emily Parnell writes weekly.