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Author’s Note

           A few years ago, a television program aired for a brief period and it caught my imagination. The name of the program is unimportant; but in each fifteen-minute segment, a story was told and at the end of the program you were told whether or not the story was truth or fiction.

            If in fact, some were true, the producers certainly took license with the facts. None-the-less, it was a satisfying hour of viewing pleasure; a fete you find less and less these days on the tube.

In the following fiction stories as a writer, I too have taken license with the truth. Whether or not it is possible to have an out of body experience, or whether we can commune with a departed soul is not at issue. The issue is the believer who turns to our Lord for help in an impossible situation.

It has not been my desire to bring anything Satanic or New Age into my writings, but to show the evil in this world as opposed to the grace of our Lord in all situations.

Hopefully you will find a few moments of Inspiring Moments.

Happy Reading!

Just A Little Miracle

A Short Story By Frances Smith Savage

Author’s Note

            When we take a new road in life, and that road leads us away from God, will he send someone to bring us back; or will we be allowed to wander alone and afraid, even when our life is threatened.             When there is only one who will fill the shoes God requires to be filled, will that person then be sent on a mission regardless whether it is within our realm of knowledge and understanding?             Is it important for us to know all God has planned for us even when we go astray? Or, are there times when God uses miraculous means to bring us back into the fold; and will those means be mired in unbelief in our own unyielding lives?             This story is within those miraculous means and whether or not we believe it could happen is not left for us to determine. It is only from the imagination of the author, and if God uses those means, He has not granted any means of proof for this believer.            However, if this story will bring you to a firmer belief that God can and will use all means to protect His, then it has served its purpose. Hopefully you will simply read and enjoy.

Just A Little Miracle

She leaned far over the railing as she peered into the ocean below. Black rolling waves capped by white water crashed into the deserted pier pilings. The water rumbled and thrashed until it seemed to calm as it turned to retreat back into the ocean only to repeat its attack.

She shuddered as the fog rolled in. How long will it take? Will I die when I hit the water? What if I don’t die? What if I only injure myself? What if I break my back? She asked the questions over and over again in her mind. Yet she made the trip to the Southern California beach fully prepared to take her own life.

She felt her zippered pocket. Her identification remained where she placed it. The note was secure back in the motel room. She wanted no one to blame themselves. Her choice and her choice alone. She gave no hint that she wanted to end her life. They all thought she adjusted well. She heard over and over, your mother is doing wonderfully. You must be very proud of her.

However, she wasn’t doing wonderfully! She wanted to be done with it for good. She wanted to join him. She wiped a tear from her cheek why did he leave me alone? He knew how much I depended on him. . . . Why God? . . . . Oh why?

She reached down and removed her shoes. She wasn’t sure why, but it only seemed right to take them off. She placed her bare foot on the first rung of the railing.

“Be careful, you might get splinters in your feet.” A man’s voice behind her. . .

“What?” She put her foot back onto the wooden plank of the pier and turned around. He had a full head of gray hair. She couldn’t tell the color of his eyes, but his smile greeted her, as though nothing was wrong with her standing bare-footed in the damp cold evening.

“Here, let me help you put your shoes back on. I don’t want you to catch a death of cold.” He leaned down and she slipped first one foot, then another into her warm shoes. He laced them up.

“I’ll bet these would be more comfortable and maybe a bit warmer if you were to wear a pair of stockings.”

He stood and held out his arm. She watched him as she put her arm through his. It seemed the natural thing to do.

“Have you had dinner?” He asked.

“No.” She answered quietly.

“I know a nice little coffee shop just down the street. Let’s go there and have a bite to eat.”

“I didn’t bring any money with me,” She said quietly.

“I have money, don’t worry about that.” They walked into the well-lit coffee shop and the waitress said. “Dr. Paul, how nice to see you again. We didn’t know you were in town.”

“Hello Carolyn. You know I couldn’t stay away. It’s been over a year since I’ve been here. This is my friend. We are both very hungry.” He replied in his deep resilient voice.

“Come and sit down. Your favorite booth is waiting.” She handed them a menu.

“Do you like clam chowder? They make the best in the country.” He said as he watched her. She shook her head and he ordered the clam chowder special. The waitress brought a full pot of coffee and two cups and he poured one for her and one for himself. He seemed to know that she did not take sugar or cream. He offered neither.

“My wife Gertie and I used to come here every other month. We loved the ocean. We always came in here to eat.”

“Are you a doctor? She asked.

“No, not that kind of a doctor,” he laughed.

“Where is your wife now?”

“Gertie went to be with the Lord last September. It was a blessing. She had been ill for several years. Even so, I miss her still.”

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“I noticed it looks like you wore a wedding ring. Did you take it off?” He touched her finger where her beautiful rings wore a dent in her finger.

She pulled her hands back and placed them in her lap.

“Where is your husband?” He asked gently.

“He went too. Almost a year now.” Her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away.

“Do you have children?” he asked.

“Yes, two sons, and a daughter. All happily married with families, of their own. They are very busy. I have six grandchildren from seven to seventeen.” She said, and a smile crossed her face as she thought of her beloved family.

“You’re kidding. You don’t look old enough to have grown grandchildren.”

“I know, I was married very young. . . . Would you believe ten?” She laughed.

“No, I don’t think I would.” He laughed too, and then asked. “How long were you married?”

“Forty-five years. We were happy. We were planning a trip to Europe this summer. . . .  I canceled it.” She looked down at the near empty bowl of clam chowder and continued eating.

“You’re lonely aren’t you?” He said.

“Yes. . . . aren’t you?” She asked.

“Oh yes, but I try to keep busy. Did your husband die suddenly?”

“Yes, very. He was eating dinner and said he was very tired. He went into the living room and sat in front of the picture window. He just went to sleep. He was gone, just like that.” She wiped the tears from her eyes.

“You found him?” He asked.

She didn’t answer, but shook her head.

“That is certainly hard on the one left behind. But what a way to go. Think about it. Certainly better than falling into ice cold churning water.”

She couldn’t look at him.

“I don’t even know your name.”

“No, you don’t do you.” She didn’t tell him, but sat smiling at him.

“Well . . . .?” He questioned.

“My name is Barbara Woodruff. And don’t call me Barbie.

“You don’t like Barbie?”

            “It’s fine for the doll, but not for me.”

“Where do you live?”

“In Rancho Cucamonga.” She said, wondering why she was telling this stranger where she lived.

“Really. . . . I live in. . . .” The waitress came just at that moment and offered them a tray of deserts. They each took one and laughed as they ate.

“I can’t believe I’m eating this. I try to stay away from sweets.”

“I guess it really won’t matter if you intend to go back out onto that pier tonight.”

“You don’t think I should?”

“No, I don’t think you should. You have a family, I’m sure they love you very much. Don’t you want to see your grandchildren grow up? What do you think this would do to them. You know suicide is very selfish. You’re only thinking of yourself. You’re not thinking of anyone else. Think of me.”

“You? I hardly know you.”

“Maybe an hour ago, you didn’t know me. Now we know each other intimately.”

“I wouldn’t say intimately.” She stumbled over the word and laughed.

“Well, not in that way of course. I’m sorry to say.” And he laughed.

“But I’ll bet you never told your family some of the things you have told me tonight.” He said.

“That’s true. I don’t really talk about my feelings. No one really cares.” She said before she took the last bite of carrot cake left on her plate.

“I’m sure that’s not true.” He said sipping his coffee.

“I know, but it sure seems that way. They are so busy with their own lives. They don’t really have time for me.”

“Do you ever ask them over to your house?”

“I haven’t in a long time.”

“Why not?”

“It takes so much work.”

“What else have you to do? You are retired aren’t you?” He asked.

“Yes, and no. We owned our own business. A bookkeeping service. One son runs the business now, and our daughter works there too. I only go in at tax time or when they get bogged down. I enjoy it. But I’m just burned out. We always had so much fun when Ed was alive. We laughed so hard. He was such a kidder. Now everything’s so serious. It’s no fun anymore. I want to be gone. She said and folded her napkin in front of her.

            “That’s really not your choice to make. You have too much time on your hands. You need to get involved. Find something to do. . . . Help others. Get involved with me.” He said and they both laughed.

He walked her back to the hotel and they promised to meet for breakfast.

The next day, they walked on the beach. Breakfast, lunch and dinner they enjoyed being together. She promised not to jump off the pier or do anything else to end her life. She felt better than at any time since Ed died. They planned to meet for breakfast Sunday morning.

Sunday she waited and waited. Finally at ten o’clock, she called his hotel.

“I’m sorry, there is no Dr. Paul registered here.”

She thanked the clerk and hung up. Dejected. He lied to me. She thought. She packed her clothes and took her suitcase to the car. The drive home was hectic. Traffic was snarled as usual. She went through Pasadena and down to the Two-Ten Freeway. She stayed in one lane until she reached the Haven exit. It took over two hours to travel the sixty miles inland to Rancho Cucamonga.

At home, she fell into the same pattern as before. She worked almost every morning and went home about eleven o’clock. She attended church on Sunday and usually saw her daughter’s family there. They all went their own way after church. She to her lonely home.

It was late one Sunday afternoon when Margaret called.

“Hi Mom, would you like to go to church tonight? There is a guest speaker, and I hear he is fantastic.”

“Oh, I don’t know.”

“Come on, go with us. We’ll pick you up and stop for a bite to eat after church.”

“All right.” They made arrangements for the evening and she went in to take a nap.

They arrived at the church at six thirty. It was filling fast. She searched the bulletin and found that Dr. Stedman was speaking. She had never heard of him, and thought he would probably speak on rearing children. The choir sang and then the preacher rose to introduce the guest speaker.

He was a retired pastor from Chino Hills, a small city south of Rancho Cucamonga.

“It was Labor Day weekend. Two months ago.” The speaker said. She stared at him. Dr. Stedman was her Dr. Paul. It was the Labor Day weekend when she met him at the beach.

He regained her attention as he continued telling his story. Friday night, I had finished eating dinner and got up to answer the telephone. That is all I remember. The next thing I know, I awoke Sunday morning in a hospital bed all hooked up to life support. . . . Talk about a lost weekend.”

It was all Barbara could do to sit still as he finished his speech. She couldn’t believe her ears. He had been with her that weekend. How could it be possible for him to be in a hospital? Was he telling the truth? I’ll wait until I go out. I’ll be sure to meet him. I’ll see if he remembers me.

            Then the pastor spoke and told of finding Dr. Stedman on the floor in his living room.

“I called Paul and he answered the phone, then the phone went dead. I was very worried and drove down to his home in Chino Hills. The front door was unlocked. . . . You really must start locking your doors Paul. This is California, remember.” He spoke to the doctor now sitting in the first row, then continued his story. “I called 911 first and after he was taken to the hospital, I called the ‘prayer chain.’ Someone was praying for Dr. Stedman the entire weekend. I was with him when he woke up early Sunday morning before church. He was bright and cheerful. They removed life support and he sat on the edge of his bed and told them he was ready to go home, and he did.

“The strangest thing though, his face was tanned. He looked like he had walked on the beach all day, but it was a different kind of a tan. It was almost like he was tanned from within. And he was rested and completely at peace.

“It was a miracle for he had no damage to his heart or any of his other vital organs. A miracle! God’s hand was at work. I don’t know how or what, but I feel certain that God was using him in some way.”

She stood at the end of the line as the congregation filed out stopping first to shake the doctor’s hand. Her turn arrived. She did not offer her hand. He looked her in the eye and said loudly, “Barbara, how nice to see you again. What happened to you?”

He had a puzzled look on his face. “I don’t remember leaving the beach. In fact I don’t remember going there either. Did I have my car?”

“I never saw a car. We walked everywhere.” She said and watched him closely.

“This is so strange. When did I meet you?” He asked.

“Labor Day weekend. Friday night.” She answered.

“Oh yes. . . . Friday night. I remember very well. We met about eight o’clock that night, on the pier. . . .  didn’t we?” His words were disjointed and his voice filled with uncertainty.

“Yes, it was just after dark.” She said, hoping that he would not divulge the reason she was there, for her daughter stood listening to the conversation.

“We spent all day Saturday together. Didn’t we?” He asked.

“Yes. Yes we did.” Again, her answer.

“But they said I was in the hospital. I woke up there Sunday morning. I don’t understand this at all.” He said.

“I don’t think God wanted me to do what I planned.” She said quietly as her daughter turned away and spoke to someone else.

“I’m sure of that.” He answered, a smile in his eyes.

“He must have sent you to save me.” She said and her smile joined his.

Then his simple question. “Have you had dinner?”