62: The Textbook

62: The Textbook

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

The Textbook

Prayer is the medium of miracles; in whatever way works for you, pray right now.

~Marianne Williamson

“Too much textbook left at the end of the money!” I muttered to myself in the college bookstore. I had bartered for used textbooks for some classes and had purchased as many others as I could afford but there was nothing left for my Urban Sociology textbook. I needed to buy it new because it had been revised, but even if I had been able to use the old version there were no used copies available.

When I got home that evening I shared my dilemma with my grandmother.

“Honey, what are you going to do?” she asked.

“I’ll make do the best I can,” I told her. “Maybe someone in the class will allow me to borrow a book to read the pages assigned each week. I’ll take good notes in class and hopefully I can pass the course without a textbook.”

Grandma sighed and said, “You know if I had any extra money, I would give it to you.” She paused to kiss the top of my head, and I knew in just a few minutes she’d be down on her knees in the bedroom taking my concern to the Lord.

On Saturday morning Grandma and I went to the grocery store downtown. As we parked across the road from the market, she said, “Honey, let’s run into this secondhand clothing store for a minute. You need an extra white blouse to take with you. Maybe we can find one in there that I can fix up for you.”

While she browsed through clothing, I wandered to the side of the shop where they kept books, furnishings, and odds and ends. As I searched among the books, I spied a familiar book. Moving closer, I could not believe my eyes. It was a copy of the Urban Sociology book I needed for my class! It was the edition being replaced, the book used the previous year, but it looked the same on the outside. Since I didn’t have the $75 for the new edition, perhaps I could learn part of the material from the old edition.

“How much is this book?” I asked the clerk.

“Oh, honey, we can’t sell old textbooks around here. Everyone wants novels like mysteries and romances, not educational stuff. I’ll let you have it for a quarter and I’m glad to get rid of it!”

About that time, Grandma came over to show me two good white blouses she had found and I showed her the book. She beamed and said, “God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform,” and we went to the cash register to pay.

There was an additional surprise for me when I went to the first day of my Urban Sociology class. The professor held up a copy of the textbook and said, “Now class, take note of the text we are using. In the bookstore you will find the new edition. In case you have not yet purchased your textbook, my advice to you is to seek out a student from last semester and offer him a fair price for his book. I have examined the new text and I totally disagree with the revisions. I will be teaching this class using last year’s edition.”

I hugged my twenty-five-cent textbook to my chest and whispered my thanks. “Thank You, Lord! Thank you, Grandma!”

~Helen Wilder

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