The universe (God, goddess, angels, universal consciousness, whatever you want to call it) speaks to me in many different ways. I have had dreams, visions, heard a public speaker (complete stranger) reiterate in a talk the exact words of a private conversation I had with a friend earlier that day, seen repeating numbers, and on rare occasions, heard a voice inside my head. I cannot count the number of times I have thought of a friend only to have them call or email me soon after. So many serendipitous things have happened in my life that I no longer believe in coincidence. My family even coined the phrase co-inky-dink years ago in an attempt to make light of these strange occurrences.
I have been getting messages of one kind or another my whole life, but it has taken me some time to really learn to pay attention to them. Many were so subtle that they could have easily passed by unnoticed, yet they were the ones that spoke the loudest to my soul. We all hope that the universe will come through for us in the big stuff (the job, the healing, etc.), but when something small happens just to delight us. It is then that we truly experience the whole of the depth and breadth of the love available to us.
This is my favorite example of the universe speaking to me.
It was early, maybe six-thirty in the evening, and I was where I usually was at that time of day, in front of a sink full of dirty dishes. My wasband stood behind me in the doorway to our kitchen talking at me. Apparently he knew the script of our lives as well as I did. He was in his place as much as I was in mine. I could hear my two girls arguing over some perceived injustice that one had suffered at the other’s hand. I had grown so accustomed to the constant bickering that it was little more than background noise now. They knew I would not choose a victim and had been forced early on to learn to work out their squabbles on their own. The wasband was another story. He was always the victim. Me? I was the sounding board.
The townhouse the four of us shared was nothing to write home about. At least it was in a nicer area of Georgia than some I’d seen. God only knows how we paid for it. Life for the wife of a pastor-turned-construction handyman was no walk in the park. Wasn’t God supposed to take care of us? Then why was I never able to buy shoes for my children? Why did I have to choose between health insurance and groceries? I had learned one very useful thing over the course of those ten years: how to pack a kitchen in one hour or less. Since 1987 we had lived in seven different dwellings, three different states, and one foreign country. After almost ten years of moving, I was tired. Tired of jobs ending. Tired of every application being rejected. Tired of listening to the pie-in-the-sky delusions that comprised my wasband’s life story.
He was at it again – telling me his plans for the job he had applied for a week ago. Never mind that it could take up to a year to even hear back from a church. He had no interview scheduled, did not even know if anyone would ever look at the application. Still, he had plans for the money he was going to make, for the ministry he would do. He had already mapped out where we would live! He had a plan for everything – everything except another rejection. He assured me that this church would be the one, this time it would happen. I had listened to the same speech multiple times over the previous months – many, many more if you count all the years of training. Same song, umpteen millionth verse. And like the tune, the outcome never changed. Standing there in front of that soapy water, I could not have imagined two more failed internships, bankruptcy, a three-month separation, military service and deployment, another job loss, three more years of graduate school, 12 more moves, and finally divorce were all headed my way.
Yet even back then, I had run out of words.
I could not muster a response to his assurances. All I could do was bristle in silence against the barrage of pipe dreams. I remember rinsing the last of the dishes while staring at my reflection in the darkened window above the sink. My eyes looked hollow and empty – just like I felt. Whatever joy I had known was gone, trampled under the hardships of a life lived without enough of anything – money, stability, family ties, friends, or, most importantly, love. In my head I spoke to the only one I thought might be listening. “God,” I said, “I can’t dream anymore. It’s too painful.”
As the soapy water drained away, I turned and left the kitchen. He was likely still standing there talking as I plodded mechanically up the stairs. I went through the motions of my nightly routine with my own voice still echoing in my head, “It hurts too much to dream.” The truth was, I had never learned to dream about much of anything for myself. As a child I was told I had to marry because women needed to be taken care of by a man. The church told me I had to obey my husband, follow his dreams, and die to whatever it was I might desire. In my mind, there was no room for my dreams, even if I could muster any up. In my life, there had never been room for me.
Funny how the universe has a way of giving us back things we do not even realize we have lost.
It has long been my practice to read before falling asleep. In fact, since I was in middle school (maybe even earlier), I cannot remember my nightstand bereft of a book or six (yes, I am always in the middle of approximately six books at a time, don’t ask me why). That night I was reading He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado. After flipping on the lamp, I climbed into bed, pulled the covers up, and opened the book to my mark. The entire page was nothing but the title of Chapter 5. It read:
It’s All Right to Dream Again
Suddenly I could not breathe. The words before me bled together like watercolors bathed in tears. The shock of such an immediate and crystal clear answer to my thoughts left me speechless. I smiled a small smile as I placed my bookmark where it had been, shut the cover, and set the book back onto the nightstand. Then I turned out the light and went to sleep. I did not need to see anything else. The universe had spoken.
Since that night twenty or more years ago, I have heard that voice speak again and again. Sometimes direct, like the title of Chapter 5. Other times more subtle and harder to perceive. Perhaps hearing the universe speak is a function of belief – I expect it to, so it does. I have learned to trust that what I am hearing is for me and that it is good. Now I work to hone my intuition, increase my attention span and ability to concentrate (through focused meditation), and develop exceptional listening skills. Meditation is helpful, though in my experience, the universe seems to wait until I am surrounded by noise just to show me that it will always be louder, truer, and more reliable than anything else. After all, what has the power to drown out the still small voice of love? Absolutely nothing.
Do you ever receive messages from the universe? How do the messages come to you? How do they make you feel and what do you do when you get them?
Much love and light,