3. Signs and Portents
I did believe each and every one of them – for about a week. And then I would go down into fear again. It took a shaman who lived just down the road from me (thank you God!) to tell me that I had to start believing at a deeper level and holding that belief. And as an amazing sign occurred against all the odds in her healing room at the beginning of the session, I really had to start listening.
Here’s an example of one of the signs.
When my first husband, Henry, was given a terminal diagnosis with melanoma, back in 1989, and we were both reeling with the shock, I went to the bible that we had been given on our wedding day and opened it at random, asking for a sign from God.
My finger fell on a line from psalm 118 ‘I shall not die; instead I shall live to praise the Lord my God.’
Move the story on by a decade and my second husband (whom in this blog I’ll call Jay) had just decided to end our marriage. He unadvisedly told me that it was for my good and that I’d thank him eventually and he was absolutely right but at that specific time I was, to say the least, a little bit sore.
A bit of a hint, I would say.
A few months back (three months after diagnosis), I went on retreat to the Poor Clare’s Monastery in north Devon. It was a much-needed time to myself to meditate and pray and I was able to join with the nuns in their daily liturgy. On the last morning, after communal mediation, I left the nuns’ chapel ... I paused at the back of the main church to look at some leaflets and heard them begin to sing again. I realized that I had missed the final part of that morning’s prayer.
It would be about five minutes’ worth and I was hungry for my breakfast so there was really no point in returning but even so, I knew I must. I retraced my steps and went quietly back into the chapel. There, I fumbled a bit, trying to find the place in the prayer book and Sister Maximilian came over to help me.
They started again at the beginning of that psalm.
Which line did the sister sing out of turn?
‘I shall not die, instead I shall live to praise the Lord my God.’
I'd say that was probably time to start listening to what God had been trying to yell in my ear all along.