My mother grew up in the hills of Tennessee where she recalls an elderly gentleman who used to spin yarns. He’d tell his tale and then, in his folksy Southern accent, say, “You can believe it or leave it alone.” That’s how I feel about the blog post I’m about to share. You can believe it or leave it alone.
I share this story in the hope that you, too, may find peace in whatever life brings this year. There is nothing to be afraid of.
I tend to worry. Believe me, I’ve prayed endless prayers to trust more in God, to be healed of the anxiety that often grabs at my gut and stares me down with its unsettling eyes.
I can tell you all the reasons I get anxious, but that knowledge doesn’t help when I’m in the midst of some health-care challenge involving dad or mom, or someone I love, or some concern about my own health. I can tick off the numerous causes that prompt my “inner child” to become so fearful.
None of those reasons matter. Because in the end, the fear — and let’s call it what it is — is about me wanting to be in control and not having faith in a Higher Power.
Thankfully, I’m not always anxious. Sometimes, grace will enfold me and I’ll be more at peace. Being human, however, I can be pulled away from trust in a nanosecond and find myself face down in the ugly muck of fear.
But the last two weeks, something happened.
A friend recently died. I’ve been praying for her spirit because that’s what I do. I pray not only for many loved ones still here, but also those in that space you can call “heaven” or “the other side” or whatever name you want to give it.
Ultimately, we are one energy. And whatever dimension or space our spirits inhabit when they leave our bodies, I believe we are always connected and in need of prayerful love and attention. So, I had been praying for my friend.
The week before Christmas I put out my decorations, including a small stuffed bear in a Santa outfit. When you press on its left paw — and you must press very hard (envision a dog’s squeaky toy and that’s how hard you must press) — the bear plays in tinkling chimes “Jingle Bells — dashing through the snow.”
Two days before Christmas I had been out shopping in a soft, falling snow. I had entered my place and sat my bags on the floor by the chair where the bear rests. And then it happened. The bear began to play.
How could that be? I hadn’t touched it. I stood there, baffled, listening. The music stopped for a few seconds, then it started again.
What was happening? I’d had the bear for 10 years and not ONCE had it done this. Ever.
I let it go, attributing it to some fluke, but a whisper of something else nagged at my soul. Could it be my friend letting me know she was OK?
I woke up on New Year’s Eve morning and walked into the kitchen to make coffee. When I turned on the light, half the power went out in my place. I’ve lived here for some time and that had never happened. I called our maintenance man and he was baffled. None of the switches on the fuse box were tripped and nothing was amiss. He tripped the master switch anyway and the power came back on.
Again, I dismissed it. But that pull to listen returned. I kept feeling a message wanted to be heard. But what?
Yesterday morning, I was getting dressed and next to the stuffed bear. It hadn’t played a tune since that last mysterious occurrence. But once again, the bear began to play.
As before, the music stopped for a few seconds. Then it started again and wouldn’t stop until I finally said out loud, “I know you’re here. You can stop now.” And the music immediately stopped.
In my heart, I felt something wanted to be conveyed. But I had no idea what that might be. I prayed and asked that if my friend — or another angelic being — was trying to tell me something, that I might be open to hearing it. Nothing came.
I don’t watch much television. Hate commercials and usually turn them off. But last night, I caught one advertisement for TurboTax. A strange pull came over to me that I was meant to see this. What? A tax commercial?
The TV ad showed a toy bear, about the size of my own stuffed bear without the Santa outfit, toddling a step at a time toward a frightened woman. This lady peeked out from behind a closet, terrified, believing something terrible was waiting for her.
And then, as the bear giggled and danced toward her, the words read:
THERE IS NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF.
I sat there in awe.
I shared all this with a friend who pooh-poohed it, attributing it to natural causes. You might, too, and that’s OK. As I said in the beginning, you can take this tale or leave it alone.
But for me, it was a clear and direct message from God that my prayers have been heard, that the Divine does want me and all of us to be healed of worry and fear.
I know experiences will come this year when I will be tested, when fear will shove me back into old patterns. Will I truly have learned to “let go and let God?”
I don’t know. But when challenges come, I will hold on to these words: “There is nothing to be afraid of.”
I will allow myself to breathe into the fear, knowing the Divine spirit of Love has got my back. And I will learn to trust. A step at a time, toddling toward faith.