My parents rented a cottage on the lake for the summer when I was 15 years old. It was a wonderful place with a tin roof that seemed to make music every time it rained. My sister and I shared a bedroom that had a screened in porch so we could sit out and watch the weather while playing games or reading.
Dad bought us a Sunfish sailboat which became my favorite way to navigate the lake. I sailed to visit all of my friends and to explore gullies and coves. One time I sailed to the bluff of the lake. There was a stone chapel near the top of the bluff. I hiked up to it and then climbed the iron rungs on the outside to the very top of the bell tower where there was the most absolutely beautiful view of the lake. I remember feeling like a great explorer who had found a piece of heaven. Sailing provided such a feeling a freedom as I flew across the water with the warm breezes taking me wherever I wanted to go.
One day, I was out sailing and a squall came in. In a squall, the winds seem to come from every direction so navigation is really difficult. I seemed to struggle with the winds for a long time without making any progress. Nothing I did could get my headed back home. Suddenly the clouds darkened and it began raining. I knew this was not good. I renewed my attempts to get the boat moving towards home without success. The lightning started all over the lake and here I was sitting in a boat in open water with a metal mast. I was the perfect target for the lightning. I was terrified. My first response was tears before I started praying. I just prayed, “Dear God, please get me out of this storm. I devote my life to you.” I repeated this prayer over and over and then the miracle happened. The funny thing is that I can’t exactly say how it happened. I searched my mind over and over after that day but was unable to remember exactly what happened. Anyway, suddenly my sailboat and I ended up at a cottage on the opposite shore! It was amazing! The best part was that I arrived at a family reunion where they had a large feast laid out. The welcomed me, gave me a towel to dry off and fed me. I looked out at all the lightning, wind and rain on the lake, amazed at how I got to a safe shore. They called my parents to come and pick me up. I shared the story of my miracle with friends and family. They seemed to discount that it was a miracle and attributed it to the wind changing direction at the right time. I remained certain that I had indeed experienced a true miracle. Miracles are the most wonderful experiences as they show us we do have a relationship with God and that the divine works in mysterious ways. I have remained eternally grateful for that miracle. The added bonus for me was the sumptuous feast that awaited me when I arrived at the other shore.
Since that day, I ‘ve devoted myself to being helpful wherever I see a need. I have loved volunteering and giving my whole life. It is in the giving that we receive.