Four Short Stories
From Lee Ryan Miller
#1: Say a Prayer
I was taking my usual morning walk when a garbage truck pulled up beside me. I thought the driver was going to ask for directions. Instead, he showed me a picture of a cute little five-year-old boy.
"This is my grandson, Jeremiah," he said. "He's on a life-support system at a Phoenix hospital."
Thinking he would next ask for a contribution to his hospital bills, I reached for my wallet. But he wanted something more than money.
He said, "I'm asking everybody I can to say a prayer for him. Would you say one for him, please?"
I did. And my problems didn't seem like much that day.
#2: Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 pm, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of a Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her-generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant combination console color TV and stereo record player were delivered to his home. A special note was attached. The note read:
Dear Mr. James: Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.
Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
#3: Giving Blood
Giving Blood many years ago, when I worked as a transfusion volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liza who was suffering from a disease and needed blood from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liza."
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"
Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give her all his blood.
#4: The Obstacle in Our Path
In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.
The above stories were contributed by Lee Ryan Miller, author of Teaching Amidst The Neon Palm Trees, from his personal collection of inspirational stories. The authors of the individual stories are unknown. Visit Lee's web site at : www.LeeRyanMiller.com