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How to Open Your Heart to Miracles, Even When Life Let’s You Down
I grew up in a Presbyterian church, but I’m not sure how I really feel about heaven. I never need to know. I’m pretty sure, I believe if I’m a good girl, nothing bad can happen.
I was very young when I formed my vision of heaven. This is a great unknown city where God dwells above the clouds. My grandmother told me that God greets all who die at the gates of heaven. Also, my grandma’s name is Pearl, so I figured she must be someone really special.
Then she died and I felt like I needed to know more from her, and now, I can’t ask anymore. Like, how does she make applesauce and why does she want me to read the Bible? I picture her coming to her gate…the gate of pearls, and everyone will know her because she is the pearl.
The image of heaven I created as a little girl stayed with me as I grew into a woman, a wife, and then a mother. When my pretty boy died suddenly of bacterial meningitis, the surreal image of Pearl’s Gate didn’t matter because all my faith was thrown into disarray. I asked, “How do I know if there is a God? Where is Heaven?” I demanded. “Is there really an afterlife? Is my grandmother here?”
These are all questions we as intelligent adults may ask at various times in our lives, but never more profoundly than when my child died. My beloved 16-year-old son Garrett has disappeared from the face of the earth and I want to know why.
Am I angry with God? you bet.how is this possible he allow this to happen I? I did everything right, but I lost my baby! a child! How could it happen to such a “good girl”?
The truth is, why not me? Others lost children and they were “good girls” too.
I realized that my perceived belief system was in conflict with real human experience.
We are not human beings with spiritual experiences. We are spiritual beings with human experiences. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher and Jesuit priest
In this story, I will share with you a truly remarkable miracle that changed my life forever, but at this very moment, having just lost my beautiful son, I have had to reexamine my beliefs.
Step One: Do I Believe in God? Yes.
Step Two: Am I open to the possibility that God exists and has a plan for my life? Yes.
Step Three: Am I willing to admit that sometimes the human experience includes illness, and sometimes death or tragic accidents? Yes, reluctantly.
Step Four: Will I Survive This Tragic Loss? I don’t think so, but yes, yes, because at that point in my life, it’s none of my business and I’d rather die than feel the pain. But it’s about love. Love my husband and my living children.
So… I choose to open up and believe in the possibility that there really is something called heaven above those clouds. Here, my beautiful boy walks through the Pearlie Gates, meeting his grandma Pearl for the first time, feeling the comfort of her soft, soft hug.
Faith is everything to me. When you lose a child, you absolutely must have faith as your lifeline. I can’t do it alone. I question God, heaven, and creation, but if I don’t believe in anything, I’m lost.
“Knowing” that there is a God is beyond reason. As a mother, I can see the miracle being created within me. We created a baby together with my husband. Is this a miracle that can be explained simply by chance?
Sometimes we want to… give me a signal. But isn’t the birth of a child a sign that there is something greater than we can comprehend?
Science can tell you the story of how it happened, but how the body is formed at an accidental moment when tiny cells meet and become human. Those little cells happily joined together and gave me a baby. It was a miracle.
Just as birth is a miracle, so is death. It’s like you know someone is in the next room even if he’s not with you; God is there. So are my kids. We are all made of energy, and energy never dies.
On the Friday before my first childless Mother’s Day, my heart was filled with sadness. I pick up my young kids from school and head to Gelson’s for groceries. I wanted to prepare a dinner that required a lot of “doing” to numb my pain. I decided on pasta with fresh vegetables. It involves a lot of chopping, grilling and sautéing.
As we peruse the aisles of the grocery store, the kids are throwing things into their baskets and I’m turning a blind eye. One bag of groceries turned into six bags, but I don’t care.
A young man (who was my son’s friend) carefully packed the groceries and offered to take them to the car. As we walked we asked him about his college plans. He talked about the entertainment industry. When he closed the trunk, I tipped him and thanked him. I watched him leave his dream intact. He is still alive. His parents could watch him grow up.
I was embarrassed to feel such awe followed by anger.
“Before we get home, I have to stop.” The kids heard my voice tremble, which silenced them during the ride.
I drive into the cemetery at dusk. I slowly drove the familiar road across the grounds. I noticed a lot of new flowers on some plots. Must be for all moms, I think.
I parked the car.
“Why don’t you start your homework in the car? I’ll be right back. I opened the trunk and pulled out the basket, which was kept full of paper towels, marble cleaner, scrubbing brushes, plant clippers, and a bottle of spray water.
It’s a familiar ritual I’ve had since Garrett’s burial. I was robbed of years to come where he would fold his laundry, tidy his room, and pick up dirty socks. I shifted my responsibilities to keep his graveyard impeccable.
Every day, I take my basket to cut, mop, and clean his “new room.” This gave me time to talk to him alone and take care of him.
As I approached the grave, the cool night wind brought tears to my eyes. I dropped the basket, fell to my knees in front of Garrett’s stone, and started crying.
“Mother’s Day is coming, Garrett, you’re not here, damn it! I’m so mad you left me! I don’t know what to do.”
I try to keep my body upright so the kids don’t see how upset I am. But sometimes I just burn out from having to be so strong.
I sprayed water on the stone and brushed his initials on it. I wipe it down and polish it. When I came yesterday, the strands of grass were still clean and tidy.
“Please, Garrett, please let me know you’re with me. I gave you life! Tell me you’re here, tell me…” I cried, hoping for a magical response. I waited and no one came.
I turned around and saw the kids in the car watching me. on duty. Clean up. Be your best self for them. I pack my tools.
I kissed my fingers, touched his stone, got up, and walked stoically back.
We came back to a dark house. I turned on the lights in the kitchen and saw the message button blink on the answering machine. I pushed it. My husband’s voice goes, “Hi Sandy, I’m going to be late tonight. Keep feeding the kids. Love you.”
Hell, a good family dinner should heal today’s wounds. I ditched my pasta plan and decided on tacos. I have everything left over from the night before.
Trevor walked into the kitchen. “I’m hungry now.”
“I’m getting dinner ready as soon as possible, dear.”
“But I’m hungry now. Can’t I just have popsicles?”
“No, Trevor, I’m making tacos.”
“Tacos?” he protested. “We had those last night.”
Julianne jumped in. I sat Jackson on the high chair and handed him a handful of cereal. patience.
“I have a great idea. You two. Go clean your rooms! Now! They’re a mess! When you’re done, dinner will be ready.”
They retired meekly to their rooms.
Sandy…be patient. I started pulling out everything for tacos. I pour the oil into the skillet and wait for it to sizzle.
stupid. I could have bought ready made crispy tacos and they wouldn’t have cared. Garrett will, though. He has always been my picky eater. Garrett…Mother’s Day…empty…my thoughts are starting to spin out of control.
“Mom…Mom…” I woke up from my daze to see Trevor beside me. He holds a handmade card in his hand. I looked at him and touched his face. “I’m sorry honey, I really miss your brother right now.”
“Mom…” Holding the business card, his hands began to tremble. “When I cleaned it out, I realized it was stuck behind the desk drawer.”
Trevor asks for Garrett’s old desk. We moved it into Trevor’s room a few days ago.
I took the business card from him. This is Garrett’s handwriting.
“What’s this, honey?” I asked. I started reading aloud.
“Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!”
I looked at Trevor, dumbfounded. I opened the card Garrett had written and read:
Mom, you are someone special – you really are.
Who else can write 2 books and raise 4 kids at the same time? !
It takes a big heart to do both,
A big heart is all you have.
happy mother’s day mom
I very love you,
Trevor said in disbelief: “He must have written it before he died, Mom.”
“But he died on Christmas!” I said in awe.
A sense of peace filled all those empty places in my soul. Garrett heard my voice, he was really here, I thought.
“Trevor, thank you for finding this, you gave me a great gift.” Trevor smiled so sweetly. I hugged him tightly.
“I love your tacos, Mom,” he said sheepishly.
Julianne also joined in. “Me too! I could eat them every night!”
My husband opened the door…hey family! What to eat for dinner? “
Tacos! ’ they all replied.
“Fine,” David said, “I like tacos.”
Pasta with Roasted Vegetables will be ready tomorrow.
Miracles are postcards from heaven, and I now know without a doubt that, in fact, there is a place above the clouds that my beloved child has entered through the gates of heaven, and he wants me to know, “Mom, it’s beautiful there. “
Exercise: Building Faith and Recognizing Miracles
“If you lose expectation, you lose the potential to do wonders.”
– Bishop TD Jakes, Pastor of Potter House Church
Build confidence by opening your mind and heart to wonder. You may have them in the form of dreams, nature, or even a song on the radio.
The Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh said that death is like a cloud in the sky. When it disappears, it doesn’t mean the cloud is dead. Clouds continue in another form, such as rain or snow.
If you look up at the sky and the clouds are no longer there, the sky is just showing you a new way of seeing the clouds. Don’t feel bad, the dark clouds are now the rain that waters your garden.
So now you have to plant a garden and watch the flowers grow. When you see flowers blooming, you pick them up and make a bouquet to put on the kitchen table.
The next day, you can take pictures of them or color them. Frame your photo or picture, hang it on the wall, and every time you look at it, it will remind you of your child’s beauty in a new form.
Now, do you see yourself as the creator of the future?
Miracles start to happen when you take your faith and start believing that they are possible. These exercises will pave the way.
- Invite miracles into your life. When they happen, be grateful and pray to give thanks. Then invite more miracles to come.
- In a quiet room, close your eyes and imagine the person you lost, even a beloved pet. Tears may slip from your eyes, but that’s okay. Those are the tears of connection.
- Now ask your lover to give you a gift, a miracle.
- Take the picture in your mind and tell them you’ll be fine. Tell them tears are not storms of sorrow but showers of love.
- Ask them to visit you in your dreams.
- Now say goodbye and open your eyes.
- Record the day in your workbook/diary.
- Always write about your miracles and express your gratitude. Small enough to pick up “a penny from God”. They will start multiplying.
In the days ahead, start paying attention to rainbows, stones, birds and things that represent your loved ones.
My son used to pick a white rose for me on the way home from school.Whenever I see a white rose, I think Garrett? is that you?
Somehow, the rose seemed to open up to me, saying in its beauty… “Mom, I love you.”
This is the power of miracles.
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