Monday, September 9, 2019

The Miracle of the Screw

I really like miracles, the big and the small. When I was serving a mission, a missionary named Elder Field, who was in my district in Winchester, Virginia, shared a story of a small miracle that happened to him. He was shopping at a grocery store and he really wanted some jam. He didn’t want just any jam he wanted a particular flavor, I think it was plum. It was his favorite jam. He went to the jam isle and he looked at the place where the plum jam was. They were all gone. He was disappointed, and he began walking away. But he had a feeling to go back and check the place where the plum jam was again. He went back, and looked at the empty space on the shelf. He looked way in the darkened back of the shelf and there it was, a single jar of plum jam. It was a small miracle, but I think everyone recognized the tender mercy that the Lord bestowed on one of his servants that day. He loves his children. I did not know Elder Field very well at all, because other than that story, all I remember is that he was very quiet, yet I have remembered that story he shared, and I have often thought of it. In the fact, the story was extremely popular, and it spread over the whole mission. It seemed for a couple months it was referenced often in many talks given at district and zone meetings, and even mission conference. It really resonated with the Elders and Sisters in the mission.

Miracles are there, more often than we may think, if we just recognize them. Now for the Miracle of the Screw.

Since Jami and I have lived in our new house, we have had no ceiling light in our bedroom or our kids’ bedrooms. Our house was built in the 1970’s, so it was a time when people built houses without lights in the ceiling for some odd reason. However, our bedroom does have a box in the ceiling, and has been ready for a light, thanks to a previous owner putting it there after the house had been built.

 After one year of living here, we finally bought a ceiling light for our bedroom. It is a funny light with a bunch of wood beads all around it. The day it came in the mail, I got home from work late as usual, probably 9 o’clock. I also had to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, and go to work the next day. Jami and I were excited and decided to put the light up. After all, it should be pretty easy to put a light up. So I turned off the circuit breaker, and got the light wired up. No problem. I needed Jami’s help to hold the flash light and help hold the light while I put in the screws. If you have ever put a light fixture on you may know that it can be quite a trick to line the screws up through the hole in the light fixture with the hole in the box on the ceiling, especially with that piece of insulation they put in there around the wiring so you can’t see anything through the light fixture’s hole. We tried for a while, and it wasn’t going anywhere. So I got a nail out and tried to line the hole up that way, but still the screw wouldn’t connect. In fact, it felt like the screw wasn’t even hardly touching anything behind it when I tried to put it in. Finally I realized the screws they gave us, were exactly as long as the fixture was wide! I cursed the desire of the manufacturer to save half a cent of metal per screw. Unless the light fixture box on the ceiling stuck out half an inch this wasn’t going to work. I would need a screw that was half an inch longer, or have super human strength and push the screw in so hard that it bent the metal of the fixture in half an inch. So I gave up. It was about 11 p.m., and I needed to go to bed to get my meager 6 hours of sleep to be able to function somewhat for the next day of work. I would have to stop at the hardware store to pick up some new screws because I didn’t have anything like that in my miscellaneous assortment of screws in the garage (the screws were really fat stubby screws).

Of course as time passed, and the light fixture box sat on the table in our room waiting to be set up, Wren got into the packaging and ate some Styrofoam and broke it all up in our bedroom and bathroom.

Well about four or five days later, without having gone to the hardware store, I for some reason got the itch to get that fixture up right away. Again, I had arrived home at 8 or 9 that night. I was looking for the cursedly short screws, and was looking through all the chaotic mess of junk that I keep on my two junk shelves in my closet. I thought that was where I had put them. As I was looking, I stumbled across a different screw. It was just like the other screws, fat and stubby, but a little longer. I then remembered I had put the first screws in my electrical tool box. I got one of those out and compared the width of the screw and lined up the threads to the newly found screw, they were exactly the same except the new screw was half an inch longer! So with renewed determination and hope I tried again to get the light fixture up with Lincoln helping me this time. After two or three tries, again with the nail method, the light was up! Albeit with only one screw holding it up for now, but it is up and we have a light in our room!

I still for the life of me can’t remember where that screw came from originally. I save random screws all the time, in case I need them, but I don’t usually just put them in my closet. Where it came from, I don’t know, but I feel it was a small miracle. Like Elder Field’s jam, that Heavenly Father was just sending me a little blessing to let me know that He cares about Jami and I, and because the light was important to us, it was important to Him.


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