96: Wise Words

96: Wise Words

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Wise Words

Make yourself familiar with the angels and behold them frequently in spirit; for, without being seen, they are present with you.

~Saint Francis of Sales

We prowled through the secondhand bookstore the day after Christmas, just my husband, our two daughters, and me. This was a precious time for us. We would be splitting up as a family in a couple of days.

It had been a tough eight months since my husband had retired from the Navy. We had been shocked to discover that the only job available for Louie was in a city six and a half hours away from the mountains of southwest Virginia where we lived. My asthma had gotten so bad that it was impossible for me to stay with Louie in the city. We had finally settled for a temporary separation, praying that a job would become available in the beautiful region that we loved.

So there we were, delaying our departure by passing time in a secondhand bookstore before the girls and I headed back to southwest Virginia. We were so broke, with Louie supporting two households, that we had very little to spend in the store, just five dollars each.

We joked as we continued our treasure hunt, all hoping to find the oldest, least expensive book. There was a lot of a laughter and hugging and kissing as we enjoyed each other’s company.

Jenny suddenly remembered that there was an ATM not far from the bookstore, and she had twenty-five dollars that she had squirreled away. We could divide it up, she decided.

“Come on, Jenny,” Louie said with a laugh. “I’ll drive you to the ATM.” Then we did another round of hugging and kissing, not wanting to be apart for even a few minutes. It must have been a curious sight, this emotional family scene, but we were oblivious to what others might think.

Besides the proprietor, only one other person was in the bookstore — a lovely, well-dressed woman about my age. I noticed her expensive clothes, shoes, and handbag. I wondered what it would be like to be rich enough to walk into a bookstore and have the money to buy any book my heart desired. We were having so much fun, however, that I quickly forgot the woman.

Finally, I spied my perfect book! It was a hundred years old, and it was on my favorite time period — the Middle Ages. Oh, how I wanted that book! I quickly checked the inside cover for the price, and my heart fell. It was too expensive!

“Oh, I wish I were rich,” I murmured, as my eyes locked with the woman’s.

“It looks to me as though you already are,” she said, with a smile.

There was a long pause, and then my heart filled with comprehension. I was rich. Very rich. I turned quickly to thank the woman for her gentle reminder, but she was gone!

Who was she? I don’t know, but what she did for my outlook was nothing short of miraculous. I will never forget her. Where did she disappear to? I can’t say.

Strangely enough, within days my husband received a job offer in southwest Virginia. In less than two weeks, he was hired, and we moved to the place that is now our home.

I’ve had plenty of time to wonder about that day, when an angel in a secondhand bookstore gave me God’s rich message of love and encouragement when I so desperately needed it.

~Jaye Lewis

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