Remember when you were little and you would gaze up at the sky with a friend or family member, trying to make out shapes in the clouds? At times, you could both make out the same vision, but more often the picture you had in your head was much different than the one your sidekick had, and vice versa. For example, you could clearly make out the shape of a trumpet, with its horn and keys, but your friend saw a dachshund puppy instead. Likewise, the angel in the sky your mom repeatedly tried to point out only looked to you like a giant popsicle. And while those memories may seem now like a silly child's game from long ago, I contend that practicing that kind of visioning and awareness of the personal signs that are always available to us, can be a positively transformational way of experiencing a more enriching life not only for the coming year, but for as long as we are willing to stay present to the practice. We are all on this Earth to fulfill our life's purpose, and that is different for each of us. Through our commitment to self-care first, especially learning to be still through meditation and mindfulness, we can begin to clearly see that there is a unique plan for our life, and there are signs strategically placed along our journey to more efficiently accelerate us forward toward our destiny, if we will but take the time to see them and believe in them.
I remember when I started going back to church a little over a year and a half ago. I was in the bathroom one morning after my divorce. I was thinking of my day ahead and all the responsibilities that were on my plate, with babies due and managing my four kids' schedules as well as my own. I thought to myself, "I don't want to do everything by myself anymore." Don't ask me how or why, but there was another voice in the bathroom that morning that whispered back, "You don't have to." At that moment, I thought of God. I thought of all the ways people in my life had abused and misrepresented the idea of religion and the relationship that was possible with God. I had always loved the Bible, finding great comfort and wisdom in its words. But church people always seemed to have a way of making me feel not "churchy" enough for God to really love me or to have a master plan for my life. I spoke about this to a friend that day. This was a friend I knew loved God and seemed to live her life with trust and faith. When she told me that people's misunderstanding of who God is shouldn't be confused with who he ACTUALLY is, which is pure love, that explanation finally rang true and I decided to give church another try. I was hesitant about going and asked God to show me the way for my life if, in fact, there was one. That night at church the topic of the discussion was on the Proverbs 31 woman. One passage in that chapter struck me most- "She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." Hands down, that's who I wanted to be and that's the sentiment I wanted for my life. The next morning, I woke up early because I wanted to do a little Bible study. I had no idea where to start, but I remembered the talk from the night before and thought I wanted to know a little more about this Proverbs 31 woman. I decided to begin there. I took my Bible off the shelf and opened it randomly to the middle of the book, knowing only that Proverbs was somewhere near there. I couldn't believe what happened next. I looked down to discover that I had opened to the EXACT page of Proverbs 31. I was floored. And in the quiet solitude of the morning, I knew in my bones that I was never alone nor would I ever be again should I choose to recognize and live by that belief.
Not long ago, my oldest daughter got her driver's license and bought herself a car that she had saved her own money for. The journey was long, and she didn't end up getting her license until she was 18, on her second attempt. She never even made it out of the parking lot on her first attempt, for failure to properly parallel park and back into a parking spot. She was devastated, but I was secretly content that she would have to wait just a little longer to be on the road without my supervision. But the day came quickly for her next attempt, and we made sure to get lots of parking practice in to keep from that happening again, so on the second try she easily passed with a score of 100. No mistakes. As she proudly presented her perfect score to the lady at the counter, who in turn gleefully announced to the whole DMV that "we have a perfect score!", I began to sob. I realized I wasn't ready for this. I didn't want this to happen. She couldn't possibly be ready to drive her own car. And other drivers are crazy! But none of my lamenting was going to keep this from happening. The state of Georgia had deemed her fit to operate a motor vehicle, and so it would be. We went to get her car registered, and when they handed her her license plate, I felt a sense of peace. Me, my mother, and my daughter were all given the middle name of RUTH, who was my Granny, and who had helped raised me many times in my life when my own parents could not. Granny Ruth passed suddenly 15 years ago, and it is still probably the worst loss I have suffered so far. As we looked at the license plate, we saw the first three letters at the same time- RTH! Ruth! To me that meant that my Granny Ruth was guarding this child's safety as she traveled these new roads, and I could feel sure that she, too, would never be alone, even if it wasn't me who was able to protect her anymore.
We have signs all around us, waiting to interact with us, to help us propel forward to a new level of living our best, one and only life we will ever have the gift of living. We may as well make it as magical, peaceful, and joyous as we possibly can. your signs may not be found in religion or in the presence of your ancestors. It may come in the form of a silly joke from long ago, retold at just the right time. It may come in the form of a comforting scent carried along your path, reminding you of a perfect day, and encouraging you that there will be more days like that to come if you can just hang on through your current state of pain or despair. However they come, you will know them when it happens because they belong to you. They are made especially for you. It is up to you to decide to recognize, accept, and believe in them. On the brink of this new decade, the possibilities are endless. The world is what you make it. What can you envision? What beautiful realities are you willing to create?
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel