‘Holden’ a Christmas miracle

I do not just write about pets and miracles, I live a life “filled with miracles” and am the author of “Expect Miracles” and “A Christmas Filled with Miracles.”

Here is my favorite miracle wrapped beautifully in Holiday Spirit. Christmas Eve 40 years ago my husband, Howard, and I prepared for an unusual — possibly depressing — Christmas holiday because my stepfather, Jim, had terminal cancer. But never in a million Christmases did we expect to end up immersed in a miracle.

At the time, as newlyweds living of Vancouver Island in Canada, we had to take the ferry from Nanaimo to reach mainland Vancouver and my parents’ home. Along with the usual assortment of luggage and Christmas gifts, we also packed our “traveling trouble-adors” Channel and Camelot, Shaded Silver Persian cats whose fluffy, white winter coats resembled the cuffs on Santa’s red jacket. For our listening pleasure they meowed their way to our holiday destination.

I was the first to awaken on Christmas morning, the most magical day for children everywhere. Everyone else in the household was still peacefully asleep, so even though it was only 7 a.m. I decided to call my best friend, Rita, back on Vancouver Island. After all, her giggling children would have awakened her hours ago.

“Hello,” she answered in a weak, crackly voice.

“Rita, are you all right?” I asked.

“Who is this?” a total stranger replied.

Oh-Oh! Apparently, the busy holiday phone lines had crossed resulting in awakening an elderly woman. I apologized for waking her, to which she said, “Not to worry. It is nice to have someone to talk to, as I don’t have anything to do today, nor anyone to talk to.”

No one is a stranger to me, so we began chatting.

I had phoned Rita on the Island, which is a long-distance number, so I was curious as to where this woman lived. “Burnaby,” she said. Only 10 miles away!

Introducing herself, she said that her name was Faith and that she was an 80-year-old widow. Her husband Dick had passed and she did not have any children. She continued that she had no reason to get up, as she had no one to share Christmas with. She was glad I phoned and called it “A bit of a Christmas gift.”

Faith and I talked for an hour. My mother awakened in the meantime, so I asked her if Faith could share Christmas dinner with us. Faith hung up the phone and hurriedly dressed to catch a bus for her visit. Little did the bus driver or we know that he would really be delivering a Christmas miracle.

Excitedly anticipating the arrival of our mystery guest, our home’s atmosphere was transformed from doom and gloom into joy, with the delicious aroma of the holiday turkey wafting from the oven, all through the house.

I met our gift of Faith at the bus stop; we smiled at each other. As a child, I frequently rescued stray animals, but this new rescue was much more fulfilling, resulting in a wonderful visit, sharing a delicious meal and lots of laughter. After dinner, Faith and I donned our coats in preparation to drive her home but we were sidetracked by a miracle so extraordinary that we are still in awe of it after all of these years.

Faith and my mother were saying their last farewells when my mother realized that we had not shared last names. My mother asked Faith, to which she replied, “Holden.”

“No!” my mother said, not understanding, “That’s our last name!”

What were the odds? The same last name and spelled the exact same way. What a miraculous, divine, coincidence! Obliviously, the universe was saying, “Family is not by birth alone, but also by divine appointment. We are all one.”

We sat down on the living room couch unprepared for even more as-yet-to-be-revealed surprises as Faith shared the story of her life. Her husband was from England, as was my stepfather, Jim, with both families migrating to Winnipeg, Canada. Both Dick and Jim were the second of four children, with the same combination of brothers and sisters in the same birth order, and all of the siblings remaining childless after marriage. Faith and my mother had attended the same high school. An amazing list of coincidences, as if the two women were reading from identical books of life, reiterating one similar experience after another.

How was it possible to dial a long-distance number on Christmas morning, but end up connecting with a local person who needed us as much as we needed her? God obviously works overtime on Christmas.

It is a Christmas and a miracle we will never forget! And the clincher: Faith revealed that her phone number is unlisted.

May your holidays be magical, filled with miracles, family and friends. And if the holidays look dull create some magic and memories for others.

PS: Now you know the “secret” behind naming my second miracle book, “A Christmas Filled With Miracles”. We can all “Expect Miracles” which is the title of my first book. For autographed copies email me at [email protected] or http://angelscribe.com/miraclebooks