Personal Finance

Do You Believe In Financial Miracles?

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The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you or someone you know ever experienced a financial miracle? Do you even believe in miracles, financial or otherwise? I’m going to tell you about a financial miracle I experienced as a child; at least, it seemed like a miracle to me. It wasn’t a $1 million miracle. In fact, it was only a $5 miracle. But to a child of about 10 with very little money, the memory has stayed with me now for a very long time.

My Financial Miracle

I was about 10. On a summer Saturday morning my mom dropped me off at our church for the pinewood derby held by a group called the Royal Rangers (kind of like Boy Scouts). I looked forward to this event every year, where you race cars you’ve built out of a block of wood. Most boys would build their cars with their dad, who oftentimes took more interest in the project than the child (I speak from experience now as a father). In my case, my step-dad took the block of wood and left the house for a couple of hours. When he came back, the block of wood had been transformed into an amazing-looking race car. Not exactly a father-son moment, but I had the best-looking car at the race (see picture below).

Anyway, my mom gave me $2 for lunch and left. Before the race began, a nice breakfast was provided to the boys and the fathers that were there. (I think my step-dad was fishing that day. I don't actually remember that he was fishing, but that's what he did most Saturdays.) During the breakfast, a speaker described a financial need that somebody in the community had. The need had to do with a child, but I don't remember exactly what it was. For some reason, I felt compelled to give my $2 to help this person out. I knew I'd go without lunch, but something kept pushing me to give. So I did.

The Race

After breakfast, the race started. It was a double elimination with two cars racing at one time. Because there were a lot of cars entered into the race, it took all morning. As it turns out, my car was fast, real fast. I kept hearing all morning, "look at that orange car go!" And you guessed it, my car won the race.

Although I didn’t know this until after the race, the winner not only received a trophy but also got a $5 prize. I’m still not sure why they gave out money, but here I am holding $5 in the mid-1970s having earlier given up all the money I had.

Now some will think I'm absolutely crazy, but I believe that $5 was God's way of acknowledging the financial sacrifice I had made earlier that morning. Now I know that it very well could have been nothing more than a coincidence. And I also know that life doesn't always work out so well. But as Emerson so eloquently stated, the "invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common."

And if you have experienced a financial miracle, please leave a comment and tell us about it.

Oh, and here’s a picture of the car today. Originally it had about a dozen coats of beautiful orange lacquer, but it’s taken a beating over the last 30+ years.


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