73: Just Ask

73: Just Ask

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Just Ask

Spiritual force is greater than material force — thoughts rule the world.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

On a warm summer’s afternoon I loaded my eight-year-old twins into my father’s car and headed out in search of a new home. Three weeks prior we had left our home on the West Coast and travelled east in search of a better life. Since then we had been living with my parents, who had graciously offered to take us in until I could get back on my feet. The time had now come to make our move.

I had an idea of where I hoped we would live. It was a quiet part of town, close to my parents’ home. Even though I was certain the monthly rent for that area would be out of my comfort range, I’d come to the conclusion that I owed this to myself and to my children, and made the decision that I would make it work. A famous quote flashed through my mind, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” I knew I could do this.

There was an air of anticipation in the car as we cruised through the streets canopied by lush leafy trees. Children bounced through sprinklers as mothers kept a watchful eye, chatting over the fence with friendly neighbours. A kindly looking gentleman mowed his lawn while a happy couple strolled past hand in hand. At one point we stopped to buy a glass of lemonade from a young entrepreneur who had eagerly plopped himself behind a card table on the edge of the curb. It was reminiscent of the neighbourhood in which I had grown up. And it was exactly the place where I would feel comfortable raising my children.

Despite the obvious distractions, we kept alert for any sign of a home available for lease. I’m not sure what I had been expecting that afternoon as we headed out on this journey, but in my mind’s eye I imagined a red “For Rent” sign perched in a front window or stapled to a corner telephone pole.

We continued through the area for a good while with no luck. Every home seemed to be occupied. No “For Rent” signs to be found. My heart sank as we reached the final street of the lovely neighbourhood I had hoped we might call home. I decided it was time to ask for some help. I pulled the car over and turned to my children, who had patiently accompanied me on this mission.

I must confess that I am not a devotee of organized religion, though I have always had a strong awareness of a higher power guiding my way through life. I have strived to open my children’s minds to knowing this same higher power. To listen to their intuition, to recognize right from wrong and to always follow those feelings. So sending out a prayer was not a foreign concept to them.

I suggested to the kids that we ask the Universe for some help. I asked them to say a silent prayer, being sure to send out a thank you to their grandparents for inviting us to stay with them, and if it be the will of the Universe, to please help us find a special place where we could be happy. After a few moments of quiet reflection I flashed my kids an energized smile and said, “Let’s go find our new home.”

The remaining street in the neighbourhood was much quieter than the rest, as it took a dogleg right and ended in a cul-de-sac. At the bend in the road I caught the eye of a man curiously watching us creep up the street, pointing at houses as we passed. I felt uneasy with the way he was watching us, as if he thought we were up to no good. The feeling stayed with me as I made the turn to head back. On our return trip down the street I was happy to see that he was no longer in his driveway. Just a protective homeowner, I guessed.

Moments later I looked into my rearview mirror to see the man from the driveway racing toward us in his car. What was he up to? Did he think we were casing his neighbourhood? As he pulled alongside us, he honked his horn and through his open window asked me to pull over. I could tell by his demeanour that he was not angry or upset, but friendly and receptive. I pulled over and stopped behind him.

He leaped from his sedan and sprinted back to our car. “Am I glad I caught you. I saw you driving slowly up the street. Are you looking for your lost dog?” he asked, gesturing toward his vehicle. Peering out at us through the rear window was a happy mutt, panting in the heat, tongue hanging out the side of his mouth, and tail wagging excitedly. “He wandered up my driveway shortly before you drove past. I could tell he was someone’s pet because he was so friendly and fearless. But he didn’t have a collar. I was sure he must be yours since you were clearly searching for something.”

I explained that no, we were not looking for a lost dog but for a house to rent. I felt compelled to explain our situation and confided that we had recently moved back to the area from the West and were searching for a new place to live. This seemed to amuse him. With a roguish smile he extended his hand to me and introduced himself. He said he was a local real estate agent and a home in the area he had been renting had just become vacant that morning. If I was interested, we were welcome to drive over and take a look at it.

I was interested, and inquired about the address. The house wasn’t in this exact area, but a short drive north to Lakeshore Road. My heart sank. I kindly thanked him, then reluctantly declined his offer. If this neighbourhood was a stretch for me financially, the one he spoke of was out of my league by leaps and bounds. Lakeshore Road was one of the most desirable areas of our picturesque lakeside town, where old growth tree-lined drives ran between perfectly manicured lawns up to the most opulent waterfront homes. I reminded him that I didn’t have gainful employment at this point, and was certain that I couldn’t afford what he would possibly expect for rent on a home in such a prestigious area.

By the look on his face, I think we both felt deflated. But after a moment he seemed to have a recollection. He asked how much I had been paying for rent before and seemed content with the amount I told him. He shook my hand again, gave me the exact address of the house and handed me his business card. “Go out and take a look. If you’re interested, give me a call and you can have it for what you were paying. It was a good thing this dog wandered up my driveway today or we might never have met.”

We spent the next couple of years in that fantastic home. And our family grew shortly thereafter with the addition of a wonderful man and his two terrific kids. It was the perfect home for the six of us to bond and grow. I think back on that period of our lives with a great sense of peace. Sun-filled summer days at the beach, falling asleep at night to the waves washing onto the shoreline, and a backyard rink in the winter that kept all of the kids, big and small, happy for hours on end.

I can still picture that friendly, fearless pup without whom this story would not have happened. From the man’s description, he wandered up his driveway at the exact moment we had appealed to the Universe for help. Some may say it was a coincidence. But when I look back on everything that transpired, I know in my heart that mighty forces did come to our aid that day. When you are ready, the Universe will provide for you. You only need to ask.

~Susie Brunton

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners