There are moments of stress and struggles in just about everyone's life. Taking the time to step back and reflect on those struggles, it's easier to see that things always have a way of working out somehow.
This is what Edwin Smith, a writer from Kaysville, Utah, experienced as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1970. His experience has been published in the most recent book from the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen" (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, $14.95).
In his story titled "Check is in the Mail," Smith, who served a Mormon mission in Germany, realized he and his mission companion didn't have enough money to pay their expenses, including their rent due the following day. Contact to family was limited to letters, and letters to and from Germany took at least two weeks to be received. After praying with his companion, Smith sent a letter home asking for $60, even though he knew it wouldn't get to his family in time for him to be able to pay the rent.
The same evening, Smith's building manager informed him he had express mail. As he opened the envelope, Smith couldn't believe his eyes as he spotted a check for exactly $60. "You need this," said a note from Smith's father. Not having a clue of the financial struggle his son and his son's companion were facing, Smith's father sent the check two weeks before the missionary companionship even realized it had a financial problem.
Looking back at his experience in Germany, Smith could only describe it as a miracle from above.
"Many people would write such things off as a coincidence, but I recognized then and have often since, that miracles happen," Smith writes at the end of his story.
After over 40 years since returning home, Smith has been able to reflect on his experience as a missionary, as well as other struggles he has faced, and see life in a more positive way.
"In today’s world, we tend to look down upon situations and only see the negative that results from it," Smith said. "For me, I’ve learned that if you have patience and a little faith, things do work for our good. By having a positive attitude, it allows you to see things in life that you would otherwise miss."
When sharing personal experiences such as this, the reach of the stories can be unexpected. No one ever knows who will be impacted from them. After reading his story in the most recent Chicken Soup book, a man from Saudi Arabia emailed Smith, thanking him for sharing his uplifting story.
"You never know where something you share will land or how it might benefit someone someday. His comment really touched me," Smith said. "It's one thing when someone you know reads about your experience, but hearing from someone you don't know and will probably never meet, it goes to show that my story was worth sharing."
Smith has some advice for those that may believe miracles are simply coincidences.
"Have patience and be careful to not miss that light in your life that isn’t just a coincidence but something much greater," he said. "Take a look at your life and see if you can reflect on times where incidences happened that perhaps helped with strengthening your faith or testimony. There's too many things in our lives we pass off as a coincidence when they're actually wondrous."
With now having two of his submissions included in the Chicken Soup series, Smith appreciates the opportunity he has for his stories to be published for others to read.
"From reading others' stories, which come from people with different backgrounds and different ways of life in general, I've learned that despite the challenges each of us face, life is basically good. I'm grateful to be included among the many others that have an inspirational message to share," Smith said.
Kylie Lewis is a freelance writer for the Deseret News. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a bachelor's degree in communication.
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