To overcome adversity and live a meaningful life that contains within it many opportunities for happiness is a healthy human goal. To get there it is important to practice two behaviors that help to make life the greatest joy ride of all. These two behaviors are staying connected and taking positive action. For example, getting together with friends and loved ones is one way to stay connected. Calling that friend you miss but haven't bothered to make plans with for years is taking a positive action. Both activities are good for your mental health. Research validates that it is better not to isolate and if you remember how good you have felt after a great time with others, you know you don't have to even read the literature! But some times an incredible story can help us understand what we need as humans. What follows is a story about connecting and positive action that should wet your appetite to get together with your cousins, have a party, go to your house of worship, or simply ponder the importance
of connections and how miracles can come about. .

This true story, about a soldier in WWII, reminds us of the above: the importance of both connection and positive action. The story is framed in the context of acknowledging the positive power of the Great Divine, but the story can be taken simply at the factual level. Please accept it at which ever level is more comfortable for you! The bottom line is that connection, love between family members, and positive actions of loving family members saved this fellow!


Once there was a young man who lived in a small town in the United States. He loved his family: his mother, his father, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters. When the Second World War came, he signed up for the armed forces, along with thousands of other young men of his generation. He was frightened and overwhelmed, but determined to give his life, if necessary, for his country.

As his last day at home drew closer, he had many opportunities to say goodbye. Special masses were offered at church, and his family threw a gala goodbye party attended by over 150 family and friends. His mother hugged and kissed him. He watched the tears form in her eyes as his father toasted him. At the train station, he had one last handshake from Dad. He watched his family waving, growing smaller and smaller, as the train pulled out of the station. He was on his way toward the scary unknown of war.

The next several months held many adventures. From some he grew; others were too terrible to even think about. Loving letters from his mother, grandmother, and his favorite aunt, Celia, sustained him. It seemed as if every mail call held a letter for him, with welcome news of his family and town, and reassurance that he was in everyone's prayers.

One night, a terrible battle raged. He and his friends were positioned in the front trenches listening to exploding bombs and artillery. Then tragedy struck. His two best friends in the next trench were felled by bullets and mortally wounded. Before he could register the shock of their death, he felt a searing, intense pain. He himself was hit. He looked toward his back hip. Blood. Blood was pouring out of his body.

But there was no time to attend to his wounds. Certain he was dying, and that he would join his comrades by morning to help them work their way to the heavenly host, he nonetheless fired his gun all night, as best he could.

Dawn came. He looked around. All was eerily quiet. Unbelievably, he was still alive. But was death close? In a matter of moments or hours would he find himself in a hospital bed? Would he lose his limbs? Live out the rest of his life in excruciating pain? He started to explore his back hip where he'd been hit. He felt and he felt. Despite the quantity of dried blood around the wound, it seemed superficial, already beginning to scab. Suddenly he remembered the back pocket of his army pants. That’s where he stuffed all the letters from his grandmother, mother and aunt. He removed the letters. And slowly he realized what had happened. A huge bullet was lodged in the now unreadable pages. They had acted like a shield, preventing the bullet from penetrating him. If not for the letters, he would certainly have been killed.

How Can You Relate To This Story?

What an incredible mystical love story! Have you ever felt the hand of God helping you negotiate your life, moving in the love that you feel for others and they feel for you? I certainly have. I had a series of appendicitis attacks when I was 10 and 11, and because the doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me, they literally turned my mother away when she brought me to the hospital, but my mother was insistent. She was convinced that I had appendicitis and she refused to allow me to use a hot water bottle to alleviate the excruciating pain I experienced the night of my final attack. Lucky for me! If I had used the water bottle, the pain may have subsided and I would have died, or become severely ill. For, sure enough, the appendix had ruptured that night, just as my mother knew it would.

If you have a memory of divine intervention, enjoy recalling it now. It might be a good time to even share it with a friend or loved one, as we all need the inspiration. Don't forget, the great Almighty often acts in hidden ways, so that what we actually experience is simply something wonderful and connective happening to us! For example, have you ever been down and that's when someone you find uplifting calls you on the phone?

If you can't think of one in your own life, perhaps you have heard about something that happened to a friend, or of a story in the news. If you still can't think of one, keep your ears open. There's something magical about listening for stories recounting special help when one needs it. The more we look, the more often we become aware of it. Miracle stories are a magic antidote to darkness. Let's all look for special good news stories! Wait a minute. Let's never forget that we can all become blessed messengers ourselves. After all, we don't have to wait for a good news story to thrill us! We can create one! Is there someone who would be delighted by your phone call? Is there a present that you owe someone? You don't even need to owe a present. Is there someone who would be especially moved if you sent a present or flowers, or stopped by? Is there a charity you forgot to give to? Become an angel on earth as soon as you can! I promise you, you will feel good and someone else will smile

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Holstein is the originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R) and a positive psychologist in private practice since 1981. She is the author of The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy, Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!, Delight, and now The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything).

Dr. Holstein speaks on radio, and appears on television in NY and NJ. Her website is . She gives lectures, seminars, teleclasses and her quotes appear often in national magazines. She has a weekly radio show on , Kids, Tweens and Teens, A Positive Psychologist Looks at All Three. She is the official guide for positive psychology on

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