In a special, literary karma effort, SheKnows is proud to present an exclusive chapter from the Chicken Soup for the Soul series' next book. The story is by Marianne LaValle-Vincent and is entitled, A Charmed Charm Bracelet, and is from the upcoming book, A Book of Miracles.
Exclusive from Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles by Marianne LaValle-Vincent:
"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you," Psalm 39:7
When I was sixteen, my mom and dad purchased a charm bracelet for me at the very best jewelry store in Syracuse, New York. I was thrilled. The bracelet was fourteen-karat gold and each charm they chose had a significant meaning for me and me alone. There was a golden cheerleader, a small shoe with a tiny diamond in it, and a lovely gold and peridot engraved circle that celebrated my August birthday. I loved that bracelet and I wore it for every special occasion.
It became even more special to me after Mom died. Even though I was blessed with the world's best father, I missed her terribly but my charm bracelet made me feel continuously connected to her.
After I graduated from nursing school, I took a job at one of the local hospitals on an orthopedic floor. We were instructed to wear very little jewelry, so the only thing I ever wore was my bracelet; it was on my wrist every single day of my life. It was a part of her, and I felt empty and sad if it wasn't touching me. My patients commented on the beauty of the bracelet and I was only too happy to tell them the story behind it.
The hospital was located in a hilly area of town, and the nurses' parking lots were at the bottom of the hill. One snowy January morning, I parked my car and started the long trek up to the hospital. I was bundled like an Eskimo in the bitter cold. The wind and snow made the usual climb even more difficult, and by the time I entered the lobby, I was practically frozen. I left my mittens on for a while to warm my hands.
After morning report, I began the narcotic count and readied myself for passing the day's medications. It was then I noticed that my bracelet was gone!
Devastated, I ran to the locker room and searched frantically for it. I looked in my mittens and hat and shook the scarf silly in hopes the bracelet would appear. But it was nowhere to be found. I felt sick.
I had lost the best memory of my mother.
I could barely concentrate on work, but somehow made it through to the 10:30 morning break. I quickly put my snow gear on and headed down the snowy hill to the parking lot, hoping it had fallen off my wrist and was lying next to my car.
When I got to the gigantic parking lot, I was even more upset. The entire lot had been plowed. Mountains of snow were piled against the fences.
My precious bracelet was lost forever. I walked back to the hospital crying like a child.
One of the nuns, Sister Anne, noticed my tear-stained face and tried to comfort me. I explained my heartbreaking loss. She promised to pray for me, then suggested I say special prayers to St. Anthony, the patron saint of all things lost. I began praying immediately.
By April, I had resigned myself to the fact that the bracelet was gone forever. The original jewelry store was no longer there and no other store in the area carried that special piece. By this time, St. Anthony and I were practically on a first-name basis. Several times a day, I sent him short requests for his intercession in finding my hopelessly lost bracelet. I assumed he was busy with more important services.
One Tuesday morning, another nurse found me in a patient's room.
"The janitor wants to see you."
I was way too busy so I asked her to tell him I'd connect with him later. I spotted Mike at lunchtime.
He began to explain that this winter had been one of the snowiest ever. The mounds of snow were still melting. I didn't understand what this small talk had to do with me.
"While I was shoveling snow yesterday, I noticed something shiny. For some odd reason, I picked it up and put it in my pocket. Later, I happened to show it to Sister Anne. She suggested I show it to you.
There, dangling from his hand was my bracelet! It was a bit mangled, but it had survived the winter and found its way back to me.
My eyes filled with tears. I could barely whisper, "Thank you," as I hugged him.
The bracelet was repaired to look as good as new. I don't wear it every day now for fear of losing it again, but when I do place it on my wrist, I am very aware of the miracle, thanks to the intercession of my mother and St. Anthony.
A Charmed Charm Bracelet from Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles by Marianne LaValle-Vincent is reprinted by permission of Marianne LaValle-Vincent.
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