13: Miracle of the Flying Diamond

13: Miracle of the Flying Diamond

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

Miracle of the Flying Diamond

Trouble and perplexity drive me to prayer and prayer drives away perplexity and trouble.

~Philip Melanchthen

My daughter’s beautiful new engagement ring was flying somewhere around the world underneath the floor of an aircraft. It had barely been on her finger a few days, and she hadn’t even had a chance to show it to anyone.

Our daughter, Ardelle, had spent a good part of the winter in the Dominican Republic, working with a team from her church on a building project for a Christian school in a poor neighborhood, and then staying on to teach English to the children there. Now spring was coming to our home in central Alberta, and her job was nearly ended. Mark, a special guy she had been seriously dating, was inspired to fly out to meet her in the DR and sweep her off her feet with a marriage proposal on a beautiful white sandy beach. Then he would bring her home, and we would have an amazing celebration! The very idea was so romantic it nearly took my breath away, and I was only her mom!

The plan gave Mark little time to raise the money for everything. On short notice, airfare to the DR was going to be costly, and the ring he bought must be exquisite. The ladies who worked in the jewelry store in the mall near his workplace soon knew him by name as he visited their display case almost every lunch hour. Finally, in an act of sacrifice that impressed even a mother-in-law, he actually sold his car to complete the purchase! As parents, we thought he certainly deserved our blessing when he flew away, the secret jewel safe in his pocket.

Some days later, the scene at the beach on the Caribbean was as he had dreamed. To nobody’s great surprise, Ardelle said yes to Mark’s proposal. Thinking about how we would meet them at the airport in Calgary, Mark with his victorious grin, and Ardelle holding up her left hand, made the very days sing.

But what was this awful news I was now hearing on the telephone? It was the day of Mark and Ardelle’s return, but Mark’s mom was calling. Somewhere in the skies above the Gulf of Mexico, Ardelle had finished her lunch, brushed some crumbs off her skirt, and felt her ring go spinning off her finger. It had found its way to a broken space in the grating that covered an air vent running the length of the floor of the aircraft and disappeared! Of course, fellow passengers tried to help, and when the flight landed in Dallas, Texas, even the crew came out and rolled up the carpeting, but the ring was gone. When it was time for the connecting flight to Calgary, there was simply nothing to do but abandon the search and come home, leaving the aircraft that still held their special ring to continue on its flights elsewhere in the world.

Well, Mark and Ardelle’s homecoming was happy but more subdued than we had planned. It’s just harder to be ecstatic about your engagement when your ring gets lost. At church, the pastor announced their engagement and prayed for the couple, reminding people who wanted to congratulate them after the service not to ask to see their ring. It was hard not to cry.

But then folks started telling us amazing lost-and-found stories. We heard some tales so incredible that a small flame of hope seemed to light my heart, and I began to pray for a miracle. By Monday morning, I was praying and phoning. “Directory assistance for what place, ma’am?” I found myself talking with American Airlines personnel in the Dallas airport, in lost and found, in public relations, in management, in places that would transfer my call to other places. But finally I had someone’s promise that in two or three days, when that particular aircraft would be down for routine maintenance, there would be a search for the lost ring. “Not to get your hopes up — this would be a needle in a haystack!” I was told.

A few mornings later, our phone rang early. Someone from American Airlines in Tampa, Florida, was speaking with an exotic southern accent. “I have something in my hand that I think y’all have been hoping to find,” reported a man’s voice. I had been praying for this moment, so why did it seem unbelievable? It had to be a miracle.

But most awesome was the part of the story we only discovered a little later, in a letter from our hero in Florida — an aircraft mechanic named Ted. Ted’s assignment on night shift had been to complete his routine service duties, then search for an engagement ring lost by a passenger. He was working with a heavy heart, saddened by the death of his father-in-law. Ted admitted he did not believe he would ever find a ring, but he loosened between 200 and 300 screws to access the area where it might have fallen. This area was congested with electrical, hydraulic, air-conditioning and water lines, all covered with dust and insulation fibers. With his arms scratched and sore, Ted took a coffee break and looked up at the stars. Somewhere up there, his father-in-law was in heaven.

“Please,” he prayed, “help me.” Taking a small mirror in his hand, he stuck it into a crack and shone a light behind it. His letter continued, “I turned it left and saw nothing but dust, turned it right, and there it was! I started to tremble.” Knowing that if he disturbed the ring it could fall farther out of reach, Ted paused to calm himself, then began the delicate task of getting a hold on it and finally extricating it from its dark hiding place. At last, it was in the palm of his hand.

Ted described what had happened as “a spiritual event for me.” He knew that getting that mirror into the exact right spot was no coincidence. “Your prayers also helped this miracle happen for the both of us,” his letter concluded. Mark and Ardelle have been married for almost sixteen years, and their diamond ring is as lovely as ever. So is the renewal of hope and faith I still feel when I remember this story.

~Sharon Pipke

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