Mini-Miracles: Small Packages of Help From the Other Side
LDS Magazine recently republished this oldie-but-goodie miracle story about a woman and the nudging she got to buy fresh crab and french bread for a friend who was a recent widow. It reminded me one of my own stories where I got a little (but big to me) package of help from the unseen world.
I love these stories because shows me a few things all at the same time:
- God cares about the things we care about
- It’s a little thing, but they’re often the biggest influences of help
- It could look like a coincidence if you don’t see the nuances
- Angels are watching and listening all the time
While it’s not near as dramatic as the story above (originally published in the Ensign magazine), it was very real and very miraculous to me.
My Missing Tap Shoes
In the autumn of 2003, I was entering my final year of college. I was about to complete two degrees in journalism and dance performance, which meant I had just two semesters left of only fun (fun for me, anyway!) classes.
The night before fall semester (which included 18 credit hours of dance) classes began, I realized I hadn’t seen my tap shoes all summer. I had moved to a new apartment four months before, and it dawned on me that I didn’t see them when I packed or unpacked. I also hadn’t thought about them for four months, so they could have been anywhere.
My tap class was two days away, so I determined I would spend the next day searching every possible location on campus for these tap shoes.
Mind you, tap shoes are not cheap. These particular shoes were only purchased the previous year, and I had already broken them in. (If you know anything about dance shoes, this breaking-in process is arduous and often painful!) Also, the nearest dance supply store was 40+ miles away, and even if I could scrounge up the $150+ for a new pair, there was no way I could get there before my first class.
That, and I didn’t have an immediate plan to continue dance after I graduated, so the shoes may never get worn again after those two semesters.
That night as panic set in, I got on my knees and pleaded with heaven to help me somehow. I waited for that sinking feeling to settle in, perhaps to confirm that the shoes were a goner, but it never came. Instead, an illogical, but gentle peace filled me.
The Search Was On
The next day I searched everywhere obvious and not obvious: storage shed, my closet (I tore it apart – twice), car, roommate’s car, all four lost-and-found centers on campus, every dance studio on campus, every shoe cubby outside the tap studio, and every computer lab on campus. I was determined to leave no stone unturned.
All came up empty.
That night I was on my knees again, hoping of all hopes that something would happen that I could borrow someone’s tap shoes, or there would be an extra pair somewhere, or something. I certainly did not want to start out the semester behind!
Miracle At the Last Minute
The day of my tap class came, and still, nothing. I checked every lost and found again, but to no avail.
It was down to the wire. I had no options for my tap class, so I just decided to suck it up and go to ballet class, which was immediately before my tap class.
I was running a few minutes behind dressing for ballet class. (You’re supposed to be there 10 minutes before the teacher starts class so you can stretch and warm up.) So I hurriedly shoved my clothes and things in a nearby locker and bolted out the door.
Before I reached the entrance to the studio, something in my head said, “The other locker.”
I glanced at the clock, saw it was four minutes to the hour, and argued silently, “I’m already late!”
Again the voice in my head said, “Put your clothes in the other locker.”
Without giving another point to argue, I hurriedly pulled out my things and threw open the door to a locker I’d used the previous semester – four months before. It was one of two lockers I occasionally used the other side of the bench, but I had opted that day to use one closer to the door for sake of time.
There, at the bottom of the locker floor was a pair of tap shoes – centered evenly side by side, with both laces neatly tied.
I thought, “Huh. Those are just like my tap shoes!”
I picked them up and inspected them.
They were my tap shoes, broken-in marks and all.
“Wow,” I said aloud, and whispered a quick prayer of gratitude as I rushed off to class.
Little Packages Of Help
Sure, the story could end there as a cool little miracle, an answered prayer like finding your keys. But it doesn’t.
Later that day I recounted the occurrence with April, a friend of mine who I knew would get a kick out of the serendipity of it all too.
When I finished she said, “Wait, are you talking about those lockers next to the large dance studios at the west end of campus?”
“Anna,” she said, “I spent the last two weeks cleaning that locker room as part of my summer job. I personally cleaned and disinfected every single one of those lockers, and there were no tap shoes.”
I was stunned.
She went on to explain that I just had what she called a “Mini-Miracle.” Some people call them “tender mercies.”
In scope of the world, this was a very little thing. They’re just silly tap shoes, after all. They’re totally replaceable (though extremely challenging on a miniscule student budget), but that “Mini-Miracle” taught me something money could never buy.
To the Skeptics
Truly a miracle? Sure, there are seemingly “logical” ways those shoes could have ended up in that locker. Someone who knew me could have heard that I was looking for tap shoes and had been holding on to them for four months. Perhaps someone felt weird giving them to me directly and put them in the locker where they assumed I would look.
Regardless of who did it – on this side of the veil or the other – he or she was my angel that day and answered my prayer.
And then Heaven, in its mysterious ways, whispered to my mind that day – just at the right time – to look, and find the very thing I had asked for.