I used to wonder how I might know the difference between a “message” from the Universe (God, if you wish) and a message from myself, that is, my ego. The pastor of the little Arlington Metaphysical Chapel where I began my spiritual path would answer this puzzling question by saying, “Examine the content.” If it is negative, or if it is selfish or self-aggrandizing, he would say, it is suspect, meaning it wouldn’t have come from a Source of Universal Love.
Since I began examining the content of the little “messages” I get, I’ve noticed that the good ones are very subtle. No bolts of lightning for me. Still, I hear them. They may come in the words of a song (like the title of this blog – “Nobody’s Gone for Good), or a line from a play.
At other times, the message comes as an impulse, or an impression. You may call it a “hunch,” if you like. It can come from anywhere, as long as it is beautiful, loving and helpful. It can be comforting. It may flit across your mind as a thought of God Itself. We’ve all had these thoughts, these little “messages,” even if we do not recognize them as such. You may also put them to two other tests: (1) The timing of a message is always perfect, and (2) if followed, it will always produce a positive outcome.
I had one today. Mine was an impulse, or maybe it was more like a little push. My cat and I had had a bad night. I woke up too early with too little sleep, and I was tired. I was tempted to turn over and stay in bed. Instead, (God knows why) I got up, went to my morning meditation group, and afterwards, when I got home, I debated in my head whether or not I should do the volunteer work I usually do on Saturdays, or cancel it and go see a friend who had just broken her hip and was in the hospital. Either one, but certainly both seemed beyond me, the way I was feeling. Not knowing what to do, or what I could do, I asked God to direct me— a practice I’m getting better at. And then, a wave of fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to lie down, and before I knew it, I was asleep. This is not something I do ordinarily or easily. The impromptu nap wasn’t long, but it was enough. When I woke, it was time to get to my volunteer work. Kind of like I’d planned it. I stopped for coffee on the way, hoping I’d have enough energy afterwards to see my friend.
The volunteer work was unusually easy and cheerful, and the energy of the place was uplifting. Afterwards, feeling strongly as if I had to get to my friend, I got in my car and drove to the hospital in Cottonwood. If any of you have driven the 15 miles from Sedona to Cottonwood, you know that the drive is its own reward. Before me was the vast expanse of the Verde Valley, the mountains in the distance, and above, the incomparable, impossibly beautiful late afternoon sky of Arizona.
My dear friend looked tired. She had a right to be. She had just had titanium rods put in her shattered femur a day and a half ago and the hospital staff had made her walk just a few hours before I got there. She had had other visitors during the day, but when I got there, she was alone. She asked me if I’d get her some water. I left to go down the hall, and by the time I got back to the room, she was writhing in excruciating pain. The nurse had hurried off to get her medication. I held her hand as the tears came and a wave of pain distorted her lovely face. A few minutes turned into a lifetime. Time doesn’t fly when this happens.
Eventually, the medication did its work, and my friend, when she could finally talk, told me how glad she was that I was with her when this happened. I knew then that by following my “hunch” to get to her, I had arrived at the point where I was supposed to be, and at the perfect time. Calm now, and relieved from the severest of the pain, she asked me to tell her a story or two, and I did. They were about my husband, Bill, and the sweet and often funny memories I have of him. I brought him into the room with us, because as I’ve often said…Nobody’s Gone for Good, and he was always so good at hospital visits. He could make anybody laugh, from the nurses to the patient at hand. At the end, I left her with a little saying from my pastor: “Remember,” he’d say, “Things come to pass. They don’t come to stay.” She managed a little laugh as I left her.
It took me a long time to trust my little “messages” enough to obey them. But now, when I do, I find that my life is inevitably enriched, and I am grateful for every loving experience.
On the drive back to Sedona, the setting sun was visible behind the clouds only as a silver lining. (There really are such things.) The enormous expanse of the desert sky was hung with lavender and pink clouds. The last rays of the sun peeked through here and there and lit the red rocks of Sedona in the distance. It was all I could do to keep the car on the road. It was that beautiful. Was there another message in the sky? Was it telling me that it was a beautiful world, and that all was well? For me, the answer was yes, and all I could think of was, “Thank you, God.”