Category Archives: Whispers of The Holy Spirit

Whispers of the Holy Spirit and stories of my spiritual journey.

Up on the last day

On the way to your funeral, I wondered if there was more I could have done? We’d talked and had some nice moments these last few years but the adrenal cancer took you quickly. Did I do enough these final weeks? Were you in pain with that labored breathing? I was thinking too much as I drove. I turned on the radio to quiet my thoughts and help let you go.

A song started that I’d never heard before that moment. Kenny Chesney explained with Better Boat. I felt like I had some answers and started to cry.

I don’t even listen to country music though; why was my radio on that station?

I changed the setting back to soft rock and continued driving West. I smiled into my rear view as I listened to the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven. “There walks a lady who shines white light.” It did make me wonder…

Of course you bought your way to heaven. You were a sweet, compassionate woman. I knew you were headed to the pearly gates, despite any of those feisty teenage stories you shared. These were my thoughts as I recognized the new song. The Man, Portugal, was singing and I laughed out loud when I remembered you were a teenager in 1966. Feel It Still explained you were a “rebel just for kicks”. You and I sang our way into the Funeral Home parking lot.

Your sense of humor was alive and well as I went in to say goodbye.

Your brother and his family were all there. Your cousins were by your side, Diane greeted us and your co-workers lined the room, spanning your years of service. The priest spoke about the volunteering you did in your retirement. The service was sweet and full of camaraderie.

But I guess you knew all that, since you were there.

We went to our cars to await the drive to the cathedral and cemetery. I settled into my vehicle and turned the radio back on. Pretty Mama was the celebratory song while waiting in the line of cars. I hoped you would dance with your Daddy. God would take your hand now.

Enough was enough though. They carried you out and you were now in the vehicle in front of us. There was no DJ with a response to that.

I shut off the radio and pushed in one of my own CD’s to drown out where we were headed. I’d forgotten that my car CD was Rock-and-Roll – my KISS CD. Thinking it may not be appropriate, I almost pushed it back out. Almost. It was a very fitting solo. Paul Stanley sang Goodbye all the way to your final mass.

You were there, in your old neighborhood, that whole morning. I believe it. God speaks to us in so many ways.

I know now that there wasn’t more I could have done. I’d listened. That was enough. Thank you for letting me hear your final play list.

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To do list

My life changed after using the last Q-tip Monday night. Sincerely. I planned to pick up a new box on Tuesday once I finished at the library. The pharmacy was right next door but I managed to forget. On Wednesday, I didn’t think about the Q-tips until I climbed out of the shower that night. Frustrated I muttered, “Oh God! …Let me remember cotton swabs next time I’m out?!” I put on my pajamas and wrote ‘Qtips’ on our refrigerator shopping list.

Thursday was my birthday, so my focus was certainly not on Q-tips or any other kind of cotton swab. I readied for work, caught the train to Boston and bought munchkins for our office. Nobody knew it was my birthday and the morning went by slowly. At noon, I decided to stretch my legs, get some fresh air and take a walk.

The tourists were on the Freedom Trail and the office workers were sitting down to cafe lunches or walking back to buildings with their to-go sacks. I walked with a fast stride, smelled the aromas and listened to the sounds of the city. I watched all the people but saw the homeless. How hard is it for them to watch the feeding frenzy?

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The rest of the story that follows is not an event I would typically discuss; moments that happen in my Christian life are between myself and God. However, I feel obligated to spread these special words because I think God works in mysterious and beautiful ways.

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I passed many storefronts at a quick pace.

Until I didn’t.

My stride slowed and uncontrollably stopped. I was suddenly standing in front of a very crippled man in his wheelchair. The sensation didn’t scare me and I was not afraid to be with this helpless person. I wanted to assist but didn’t know how. I do know not to give money in the streets. There is a shrine, a soup kitchen and a shelter nearby.

I found myself saying words i hadn’t even formed in my mind yet:

“What can I help you with today?”, as I bent over his chair.

His response was slow, labored and garbled. I didn’t understand anything that he was straining so hard to express.

My soul bled for him as I looked to his hands for some aided expression.

They were twisted and fist-like with long, dirty nails.

They grabbed my heart.

“I am sorry, tell me again.”, now I had to know.

He tried once more, working hard to form lips and sound.

I turned my ear toward him and thought I heard words.

Trying to match a food with what I thought I heard, I questioned, “Chips?! You want potato chips?” I turned back to face him, hoping to see acknowledgement in his eyes.

They were covered with black sunglasses; it was a beautiful sunny day.

Don’t let me give up, I thought. This is my fellow human being. He turned his head, left and right and then directly at me.

A definite but pleading “No.” registered in his mouth and my ears.

I had his lunch request all wrong, didn’t know what else to do, and then, at that very defeated moment, I heard his continued mumble as clear as a foggy day.

He spoke more slowly. “No, Q-tips.” and low but distinct, “I need Q-tips.”

I froze. In elation. For so many reasons.

“Of course. You know what?”, I was so happy and continued, “I need Q-tips too. I’ll buy some for both of us.”

It was as easy as the nearby CVS and the cosmetics aisle. I was overjoyed that I’d waited to understand. Coming together may have been God’s plan all along? My spiritual life changed because remembering new Q-tips helped me not to hear, but to see, in a whole new way.

Happy Birthday to me.

Old Lady Hornwald

Her frail body and worn bathrobe shuffled out to check the mail, looking for something besides Publishers Clearinghouse notices to guide her future. The routine and an old, stiff, rusty around the edges mailbox was a mirrored reminder of who she now was. A whimsical relic of the past that heard from nobody. Life at the wrinkled age of 93 was junk mail at best. Lots to share but tossed aside on a daily basis. Faith kept her standing on her own two feet as she awaited the the Good News.

Psalm 56:14

Trust in God

No vacation from God

Writing into the night, it was almost midnight by the time I went to bed. I rose at five to walk the dog and feed the pets. With nobody to answer to, I climbed back onto my gel-topped mattress and covered myself with a plush down comforter. This soft heaven was a great way to begin my vacation.

My body could reawake when it was really ready to start the day. I did not set an alarm. The sun was shining and the birds were singing but the first day of summer could wait.

Or so I thought.

At 7:15, our dog, Otis, started to bark. He doesn’t bark very often. He was very insistent.

I was so comfortable though!

I turned over and snuggled into my bed cloud.

He barked louder to really get my attention.

I knew he was right. I’d had enough sleep. In humorous agreement as I flung off my covers, I found myself saying with a smile:

“Thank you God for talking to me through my dog! I am getting up now.”

Every day is a blessing. There is no reason for a snooze button. My heaven is now and I answer to Him every day. I can’t wait to see what else He has in store for me on this beautiful day.