Here are four short, short stories. All of them are true.
The License Plate
Frederick Buechner tells this story in his book Listening to Your Life. One day he sat in his car on the side of a road. He was “terribly depressed.” His young daughter was ill and he didn’t know what to do. He was also afraid of what might happen. A car came down the highway. Its license plate bore one word on it: TRUST. Buechner asks, “What do you call a moment like that? A kind of joke life plays on you? Or was it ‘the Word of God?’” For him, it was something of both.
He learned later that the owner of the car was a trust officer in a bank. The man happened
to read Buechner’s account of this incident. He found out where Buechner lived and, one afternoon, showed up on his doorstep and handed him the license plate. Beuchner now has it propped up on a bookshelf in his home office. He writes, “It’s rusty around the edges and a little battered… But it is also a relic as holy as I have ever seen.”
The Closet of Forgiveness
The three siblings had been arguing and fighting with each other all day long. That night, about 2:00 in the morning, a terrible thunderstorm hit. Hearing an unusual noise coming from the children’s bedroom, their mother called out, “What’s going on in there?” A little voice answered, “We’re all in the closet forgiving each other.”
Rewriting an Obituary
Over 100 years ago, a man picked up the morning paper and, to his shock, saw his own obituary. Obviously the newspaper had made a terrible mistake. But the headline read, “Dynamite King Dies.” He was taken aback when the article described him as “a merchant of death.” Yes, he had invented dynamite. And yes, he had made a fortune. But is this what he wanted to be remembered for?
It was a “conversion moment” for the man. From that time on he decided to devote his time and money to works of peace and the betterment of humanity. Today he is not remembered as being a merchant of death, but as being the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize. His name: Alfred Nobel.
This last story comes from Sister Chris Koellhoffer’s book, Longing for the Endless Immensity. Bobbie was a golden retriever who had a spacious backyard surrounded by a wire fence. There was a small wire gate in the fence. For years the dog sat patiently before the gate each day waiting for someone to open it and let him out for a walk.
One day the owner decided the fence was no longer needed for his yard. He spent the day removing it, but he saved the gate for another day. The next day the dog went to the gate and sat in front of it, waiting for someone to open it. Only when someone unlatched it, did the dog go outside the yard. Sister asks, “Do old patterns get in the way of seeing or imagining new possibilities?”
Our song is “Blessed Assurance” here performed by Third Day. The hymn was written in 1873 by two women: Phoebe Knapp who wrote the melody and her friend the blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, who wrote the lyrics.
Did any of the stories speak to your heart today?
What about the song?
Feel free to respond below.