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Small Miracles

This is a story of a miracle.  Now, don’t get too excited, no one rose from the dead; no water was turned into wine, however in a way waters were parted.

Almost 20 years ago, my son Trent was murdered while he sat on his front porch at his 21st birthday party.  The long sad story of the legal system’s failures is a topic for another time.  Needless to say this kind of thing is devastating to families.  I truly believe that mothers are affected more by a child’s death than any other family member or relative.  My wife Ann was no exception.  Her grief, which continues to this day, can only be described as inconsolable.  We have grown to accept our loss over the years, but she thinks of Trent every day.

About 12 years ago I wanted to get her something that would remind her of Trent.  At the suggestion of a coworker who knew a jeweler, I had a gold necklace that had belonged to Trent, some odd pieces of jewelry from my wife, me, and my parents, melted down and cast into a pendant with an angel, a football helmet, Trent’s number (67), and some very small diamonds.  On the back was engraved “Mom, I’m right here”  It turned out to be a beautiful thing that thrilled Ann, and was often commented upon by people who saw it.

In the spring after I gave it to her, during Derby week, she was getting ready to meet me at a Derby event.  She had a bit of time to kill, so as she often did, was walking in the yard surveying her domain.  We have a small pond, with a very shallow creek that runs through the back yard, and over the creek is a small wooden bridge.  As she was walking over the bridge, she bent to look at something.  At that moment, the necklace broke and the pendant dropped straight between 2 of the boards on the bridge into the creek.  As she looked down, she could see it laying there.  Since she was dressed to go out, she went to the garage to get a small net to retrieve the pendant.

By the time she got back, it was no longer visible.  She was devastated.  This was more than a piece of jewelry, this was Trent.  It could not be lost. We all have stuff, but this one thing might well have been her most precious possession.  Not because it had much physical value, but because what it represented.  Needless to say, panic ensued.  Into the creek she went, good clothes and all.  She scrambled on hands and knees in the mud of the creek bed.  She called me to tell me what had happened.

She dammed up the creek with rocks and mud so that the pendant would not be washed away.   She removed all the dirt and mud down to bare rock, sifting the mud, all the while looking; hoping.  On my way home, I bought a metal detector.  After searching for hours, I went and bought a better metal detector.  Friends came and helped us search.  Literally, no stone was unturned; all to no avail.  Apparently it had washed away.  it was obvious that this most precious talisman was gone

In subsequent years, after big rains, the creek would run wide, deep and furious.  We often commented that one day someone would catch a fish in the Ohio River, cut him open and find the pendant.

There was never a trip over that creek that we didn’t cast a glance for the pendant.

A few weeks ago we had about 4 inches of rain in Goshen.  Again our pond overflowed, and the creek ran wide and deep.  A few days later, I looked out the window to see Ann, as she often is, poking around in the pond and the creek.  She came in the house, generally covered with mud, (again a not so unusual condition).  She stepped into the kitchen looked at me, and opened her hand.  There; still covered with mud was the pendant.  Still shiny, all the diamonds in place, and only slightly scratched; and still saying “I’m right here, Mom”.

She found it within 3 feet of where she last saw it.  In the past 12 years, probably millions of gallons of water had flowed over its resting place.  How could it not have washed downstream?

Is the fact that it didn’t wash downstream a miracle – probably not?   But, on that day, at that time, something led Ann to that spot.  For 25 years, the water had flowed down that creek and over a small waterfall.  What caused her to investigate that day was that no water was flowing over the falls.  She looked into the creek, and found that a hole had developed that was diverting the water from the creek underground at that point.  As she walked along the creek, there was a patch of now exposed mud, and sticking up out of that mud was a corner of the pendant.  An hour after she found the pendant, the hole in the creek bed apparently filled up because the water was once more flowing over the site, and the water was once more murky.

That the pendant was exposed for about an hour, and that she found it in that time may very well be a miracle.  It’s a small miracle, but to us one of great importance. It means that if there are small miracles, there is the possibility of larger miracles and we all need the hope of miracles.