Every so often when I’m driving through our countryside, memories from many years ago pop into my mind, often because of no present reason; they just come to me.

This one is 55-years old and it reminds me of the generous family I was surrounded by as I grew up in Berne, Indiana. My dad taught Sunday for a young married class (Homebuilders) for over 40 years. Mom and him often encouraged and help many of the young couples that were part of his family.

One couple had married particularly young and moved into Berne from their native Muncie, Indiana. Unfortunate, they had some hard moments early in their lives. One of the most sad moments is when their first child passed away at two days of age. I remember the many evenings when my parents would invite them to our home for supper to encourage them and hold them in their time of grief.

One Easter Sunday in the midst of all of that, we were visiting with family members in LaGrange, Indiana. On the way back to their home from church, a news flash broke in over Radio WOWO announcing a massive fire in downtown Berne. When the announcer mentioned the buildings involved, one of them was one that housed the young couple’s apartment. There were no questions. In spite of the pending Easter Sunday meal, my parents made the decision to immediately go back to Berne to check on them and see what was going on.

Within minutes after we arrived home, they were at our back door, sobbing and pouring their heart out to us. I will never forget the scene of my mother and the young wife embracing each other in hysterical tears as we heard the story of how they had lost everything in the fire.

But it wasn’t the “everything” that was the biggest loss to be dealt with. Within hours, our house was full of donations of clothes and things that they would need, showered by the town people, so much so that we hardly had room to move. The most devastating loss, however, was the only picture they had of their dear two-year-old son.

This is where the understanding of the “most important heart gift” comes in. My mother, always determined to reach out to God to make miracles happen, started making phone calls. She called from referral to referral, looking for the existence of the hoped for negative of that picture somewhere. And in her search, it happened.

She found some type of a negative storage place in Chicago that stored negatives from the company that had originally developed the picture. In the midst of it all, the negative was found, produced and turned into a picture of that son. I will never forget the rivers of tears that ran that day from that couple when my mother called them together and gave them the “restored picture” of their son.

Over the years, I heard the couple tell the stories of that episode.

So many times I would hear them say, it wasn’t the “stuff” we lost in that fire that meant the most to us. It was the miracle of that restored picture that we will never forget. That means everything.