My educational/research experience in physics trained me to be a critical thinker. I see a result and I immediately question it in my mind. Let's be honest, nothing is ever completely correct after the first try.
*Disclaimer: I had a little too much fun with the links on this post.
This repetitive mental exercise has made it a bit more difficult for me in my post-collegiate adulthood to be quick to believe some of those fantastic stories that are so commonly shared in the Mormon culture. You know: the most-likely-embellished or makes-you-think-they-are-embellished miracle stories of the chicken-soup-for-the-soul kind (I'm sorry Mom - I had to - but this really does end well).
Don't misunderstand. I'm really not a cynical person and I do want to believe other people and their crazy-awesome stories, but my first reaction is mostly that of skepticism.
Apparently, I have been missing the point (we'll get to that).
I submit to you the photographic evidence of artifact #1
This is a very special journal to me. It has the journal entries of Whit and I immediately after the birth of our first son, the study notes from my experiences as a teacher at the LDS missionary training center, my struggles with school work in physics, and...oh, yeah, it's been M.I.A for the past five years (last journal entry was on the 26th of February 2006).
I lost this journal the day of a conference at the Provo Tabernacle (the 26th) and I remember being so distraught that it was lost that I called the building managers several times to recover the lost journal and even went there physically to look at the lost and found and never was able to find it. I remember kneeling down in very genuine and sincere prayer to ask for its safe return because it meant so much to me. Since my loss of this journal I have, even recently, had several moments of sadness recalling the many important things that were written therein and thinking "man, I really wish I could have that journal back."
On the 11th of December some fantastic LDS service missionaries were hosting a concert (not originally scheduled for that shift, by the way). For some reason when they arrived at the building the wife felt a real urgency to go through the Lost and Found items. She happened upon my journal, which apparently had been found years later, and some other important objects belonging to other people. She thought she would just take all this stuff home and sort through it there, which she had never previously done. The following Friday the Provo Tabernacle burned as well as everything inside it. All that was left were the exterior walls.
She was able to find and contact my parents and then me. I'm not going to try and describe how grateful I feel to have that journal back. I have those precious moments for me and my posterity because an LDS service missionary decided to act on her feelings and because I have a Father in Heaven who knows how much those written words mean to me and how much they may help me or even others down the road.
I realize that this was all for me. Sure, I hope that this brings other people some hope and maybe even some of that warm fuzzy feeling (that expression always sounds so cheesy to me, but look at me, I'm still using it) that we all get at first when we hear these miracle stories. Maybe it will even help increase your faith in God. But really, in the end, the purpose of this experience was to teach Ben something about Ben and his Father's love for him.
Whether or not you believe in God or whether or not you look at this like I usually would is really irrelevant. I'm sharing it because I believe it was a real miracle.
And because this is my blog :)