Messages From The Universe

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.”


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or

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Messages from the Universe

Two weeks ago, a friend shared a bit of wisdom from the writer, E.L. Doctorow: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”  Shortly before that, I had come across the words of another writer, John Steinbeck, in Travels with Charley: “I wondered how in hell I’d got myself mixed up in a project that couldn’t be carried out. It was like starting to write a novel. When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever finishing.”

I have been practicing living as if I were seeing only as far as my headlights (which is true anyway), and it’s been fine and interesting.  Here where I live, it has rained off and on for about nineteen days straight. It’s been dreary and wet and foggy and for some lovely, heavenly reason, I haven’t been brought low by it as I usually am when the sky is nothing but cloud and I can’t see into the wild blue yonder. I’m okay. It feels like something has jelled, like something I’ve believed for a long time has matured into certainty. It was also nice to get a couple of confirming “messages” from the Universe (in the guise of masterful writers, of course).

As a writer, I know the “sick sense of failure” Steinbeck talks about, the sinking feeling of knowing neither the beginning nor the ending of the story, while still knowing that one little well rounded paragraph, than another, will come into being. It happens. If it didn’t, I’d have never written anything. let alone a book.

This “jelling” is strangely timely, because I got an offer on my house a couple of days ago. I’ve had two others that did not go to completion, and I was devastated both times. This time it’s different. I am detached from the outcome as I go into this third round, or as a friend of mine calls it, this Kabuki dance.  My house has been on the market for three years. I won’t reiterate the agony of these three years; I’m as tired of my dreary story as my friends and readers are.  At first, I wasn’t going to mention the offer to anybody, afraid that I might “jinx” it. As if I could. I’m no more in charge of the outcome than I am of the sun rising tomorrow. I made a counter offer. The buyer went on vacation.

I’ll wager that no writer is one hundred percent sure how the story is going to turn out until the last word is typed. Yes, we have our schemes, our plots and our outlines, but when we surrender, really surrender to the writing process, the story is allowed to surprise us, delight us with twists and turns we did not foresee. Trusting the Universe is like that. It’s knowing on a deep level that everything is going to be all right. Oh, we have to do our part. We have to fill out the documents. We have to sit down in front of the computer. Then, we have to trust that where we will end up will be just where we are supposed to be.

I don’t believe this. I know it.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or

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