Each one of us has a number of miracles that touch us every day. Some we recognize and some we just accept as “that’s the way it is.”
Trying to think back and pinpoint some of those is difficult. Starting from my earliest years that I can remember, I think it is a miracle that I was born to parents who welcomed me into this world. I think it is a miracle that I was born into a home where the Gospel was lived and taught. I have heard that we may have had some input into where we were born and who our family would be. I do not know about that. I am not sure if that would have made a difference in my life.
I struggled through many stages of my life. I struggled to learn. I think I must have a little dyslexia. It was a miracle that I was assigned to be in Mr. Bauer’s 4th grade class. He took me under his wing. I went to school early and read to him. He never scolded me. He encouraged me to persist. He assigned me to be in charge of the monthly calendar. I could get anyone to help but I was in charge. He taught me how to play baseball, and square dance. By the time I moved on to 5th grade and Mr. Adam’s class I could read a whole book and I knew my times tables, and I could hit a home run and do a dose doe.
Jr. High brought many new challenges. Academic classes were still very challenging. But then I got to take Home Economics. This I could do. This I could excel in. I loved to cook and sew. My Mother was an excellent seamstress and cook. I had a great model and help at home. Then I got to take Choir, I loved singing.
I think the next real miracle that came along was in the form of a funny little man named Fred Adams, who came to teach at the College of Southern Utah. He introduced real drama to Cedar City. His dream was to establish a Shakespearean Festival. Then the miracle happened, He invited me to try out for the 1963 Summer season. I was cast as a handmaid to Cleopatra in “Antony and Cleopatra”. Not a large role but I did have lines and I got to die on stage.
Then the next summer of 1964 I had just graduated from High School. He cast me as Helena in ‘Midsummer’s Night Dream’. That fall I started school at College of Southern Utah where I joined the Drama Club and once again I played the part of Helena when we performed it for the College and we traveled to University of Utah and presented it at a College Drama Festival.
In the first act I am alone on the stage, sitting on the edge, presenting my cares and woe’s to the audience. Then I noticed sitting just two rows from the stage almost directly in front of me was Maurice Abravanel, The conductor of the Utah Symphony. I almost froze he was smiling and nodding much like my Father would do when he was in the audience at some school thing or another. The play managed to go on I regained my composure and chalked that up to another little miracle.
I’ve heard it said that if you keep looking back at you High School or College years as the best years you have ever accomplished something then you are living a pretty sad life. I don’t feel that way exactly but I look at the choices I have made and the paths that took me away from the ideals that I was taught and it feels like a wasted life. We chose to come to this world to gain experience. I chose experiences that took me away from the circle and influence of my family. There are some hard things that I went through that to some may seem tragic but to me I felt that it was a little miracle.
I had married a young man whom I felt that I loved. He took the missionary lessons and was baptized. We were married August 1968. He accepted a job in Everett, Washington with Boeing Aircraft. We moved there and in February 1970 our son was born. Eventually we bought a little home in Marysville, Washington.
He took a job working nights and just could not get home and ready to go to church on Sundays. He would miss more often than attend. In the mean time another child was born, a daughter in September 1971. One Sunday on July 30th1972 he went with one of his friends to a four wheel drive rally. I had called my home teacher to pick me up for sacrament meeting. As I waited with my children ready to go, a car pulled up in the driveway. Our Bishop got out with another man. The Bishop introduced him and said that he was the County Coroner and a member of the Church. I was puzzled. Then the Bishop told me that my Husband Frank had been killed in an automobile accident.
I was stunned and of course in shock. Just then my home teacher pulled up. The Bishop talked to him and he left. My neighbor came over because her little girl was going to go to church with us. I managed to stammer out the message and she gathered up my kids and took them home with her. The Bishop left and said he would send his wife to be with me. When she arrived we managed to call Franks parents in Gardner, Montana and my parents in Cedar City, Utah. Everything was in a haze, but as I look back on that time, to me it really was one of my little miracles. I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. I knew I had been given a new chance to regain the faith I had once enjoyed. I knew I would move back to Cedar City with my children and we would have the joy and comfort of being surrounded by family.
This is a piece about what I consider the little miracles in my life so I will fast forward many years. Several of those years were sad and I have a hard time talking about them. But I did marry again and three more children were born. This was not a happy marriage and it ended in divorce. About five years after the divorce my husband passed away and I sold our home and moved to Orem, Utah about 1991.
There I was with five children two were adults and three in grade school and Jr. High. We tried to adjust to our new home and ward. I was determined to be active and tried to keep my children active and happy. One of my Visiting Teachers was another single Mother with two girls about the same age as my two girls. We became friends and she would invite me to accompany her to concerts and plays. Another little miracle. She was there when I desperately needed a friend.
Then as happens in the church our ward was divided and she was in a different ward. We lost touch with each other. Then one day in the late fall of 1999, one of the biggest miracle of all. She called me up and said she had been thinking about me and wondered if I would like to meet her ex-husband? I was stunned, I thought he still lived in Minnesota where she had moved from.
“No, he is living in Salt Lake City.”
“Okay I guess that would be okay.”
She said she thought we had a lot in common, he worked with computers and he liked music and plays and movies and TV. I too liked all those things. He called me a few days later and we talked and emailed back and forth and finally it was time to meet face to face.
He picked me up and we went to dinner. He invited me to go to a Charley Daniels Band concert. I invited him to go to the Utah Symphony with the guest artist Ray Charles. His wife was right we were very good together. It didn’t take long before we knew that we were perfectly matched. We often joke with one another that my Dad and his Mother got together up in heaven and sent that message to Jim’s ex-wife. We never would have found each other on our own. We were married February 29th 2000.
Life together has been good. we have grown in faith and trust. We have helped each other regain and grow our testimonies and faith in our Heavenly Father. There have been many challenges. The desire to have our marriage solemnized in the Temple became the next wish of our hearts. I needed to get clearance from my previous marriage. We prayed and we talked to our Bishops and none would give us any hope.
Then we got a new Bishop and we were assigned to be his home teachers. We discovered that he and his wife knew my parents. He had been in the bishopric when my Father suddenly passed away from a heart attack. He told me he gave my Father his last Temple Recommend.
We approached him towards the end of the year 2015 about the possibility of getting my sealing cancelled and he said we can try. He explained what needed to be done and we began to work the steps. After several meetings with the Bishop and Stake President the paper work was done and submitted. Then we waited. We felt calm and at peace with whatever the answer would be. We both felt that our request was honest and sincere, and whatever the answer, we would accept it.
Finally two letters came from the office of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One addressed to me and another to Jim. My hands were shaking. We opened them together like children opening Christmas presents. Excited with anticipation tempered with hope and disappointment.
Jim read his first. His petition had been approved, relief flooded over us. I read mine and as of this date I was no longer sealed to Theodore Clark Bennion and I was free to go to the Temple with my sweet husband James Lewis Hoag and be sealed for time and all eternity.
So on May 14, 2016, The greatest miracle of all, James Lewis Hoag and Barbara Cox, were sealed together in the Mount Timpanogas Temple for Time and All Eternity.
As I have pondered on the path that brought me here. I see so many wrong turns and dead ends. I think we cannot really see all the little miracles that lead us every day. We stumble and fall and somehow we manage to get up and go on. Then there is someone who comes and takes your hand and says I love you please continue this journey with me. There are few words that can express the deep love and gratitude I feel for this man who accepted me with all my faults and imperfections. Together we have held each other up and moved ahead. Our faith has grown and our love and trust has deepened. We give thanks every day to our Heavenly Father for the Miracles that brought us together.