Miracles Happen: A Miracle Story about Adversity, Fate and Joy

Copyright 2006 Colleen Kettenhofen

Miracles happen. This is a miracle story about what happens when we look for the lesson in every situation. After all, business and personal success is about attitude, overcoming adversity, and successfully managing change as well.

It was Easter, March 31, 2002 and I was on a hiking vacation with my husband in a California desert near where we lived. Our baby daughter, Caroline, was supposed to have been born on this date, but there were complications with the pregnancy and we lost her five months earlier on October 30. Three weeks later in November, we had put my 18 ½-year-old cat, “Baby,” to sleep. Needless to say, with all this adversity we needed a vacation.

It was now late October, 2002, and we were living in Atlanta, Georgia. We’d been contemplating adopting a dog, yet it didn’t seem right with our travel schedules. My husband was an airline pilot, and I was an international speaker. Still, I walked into an animal shelter having convinced myself I would “just look.” In the shelter was a calm, sweet-faced puppy, eight or nine weeks old, who caught my attention. Sensing our chemistry and trust, I did what you’re never supposed to do. I put my hand into her cage. While looking up at me with her big brown eyes, she licked my hand over and over. This innocent puppy was also highly intelligent and obviously knew how to sell herself. After many minutes, I pulled away and forced myself to walk towards the door. Already in love with her, I turned around, and there she was…still looking at me with those eyes.

A new puppy sounded wonderful, except that it didn’t seem to fit into the lifestyle of an airline pilot and international speaker who traveled. And my husband kept telling me how much attention puppies require. Still, my gut feeling was that it was fate. We were supposed to have her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I was going back to the Peachtree City animal shelter later the next morning to visit.

The next day at a garage sale, two smiling women walked up to me holding a puppy. As I looked more closely, I realized this was the puppy. The same one I’d been thinking of adopting. They placed her in my arms and said, “Would you like to adopt her? She’s from the Peachtree City animal shelter. We can’t have anymore pets, but she had only two hours to live. And we’ve named her Joy because she’s already brought such joy to our lives.”

Joy fit perfectly in my arms as she gazed up at me with those puppy-dog eyes. There was an inexplicable connection and incredible bond. I wanted to talk to my husband first, even though I had a feeling he’d say yes about her this time. They even offered to pet sit her for free.

Later that day, lunching with a friend, she said, “My gosh, Colleen, it’s fate. You’re supposed to have that puppy! Let’s go see Joy tonight.” We drove to their home and as we pulled in the driveway, my friend shrieked, “Oh Colleen, it’s fate, it’s fate!” I had no idea what she was talking about. She pointed to the car in front of us in the driveway, and in huge letters was a bumper sticker that simply read, “FATE.” How many more “signs” did I need?! The family explained to us that night that their son had died unexpectedly a year earlier, that this was his car, his bumper sticker, and that he’d always believed in fate. They believed it was fate that I was supposed to have Joy. This was a miracle story about overcoming adversity, following fate and literally finding joy.

After playing with this happy puppy named Joy, I went home empty-handed that night. I needed to read some inspirational literature, and really think this over. After all, I wanted to make certain this puppy would be with us forever. As I pulled out this little book with its daily word message, I gasped. In big letters, the word of the day was JOY. It was fate! The next day my husband and I brought our bundle of “Joy” home. On Caroline’s anniversary, October 30, 2002, there I was with Joy sitting in my lap riding in the car. And it was the only place she would sit. She refused to be anywhere but my lap.

My ex-husband and I are no longer together. Joy is a healthy 47 lbs, happily living in Portland, Oregon with me and her big cat brother. Pacific Northwest scenery is gorgeous. There’s lots of family history here and many large fenced dog parks. My mother’s cousins love to pet sit Joy since I still travel as a motivational speaker and author. They have a spacious backyard and a wonderful dog of their own.

Miracles happen. The lesson of this miracle story is that eventually, even through adversity, everything has a way of working out. Especially if we will roll with the punches, trust our gut, and follow our fate. Often, we get what we need, not necessarily what we think we want. Joy has literally given me pure joy. She is a miracle of love. A miracle story.