Back when I was in the middle of publishing Gems of Delight, I made a big mistake.
After many edits had been done on GoD, we ran our hard-copy proofs and mailed them out to my pre-readers. I was so excited to finally hold GoD in my hands in book form! We did some further edits and tweaks. We were almost finished and ready to mail the proof copy back to my editor when Brian said that he wanted to give it one more look over.
“Okay,” I said.
And about half an hour later, Brian said, “Uh-oh.”
He noticed a big oversight that none of us had caught. GoD is divided into seasons. It is supposed to have 52 entries – one per week, 13 per season.
“Lisa,” Brian said, “Spring only has 12 entries.”
Crap, I thought. I had carefully chosen each entry. I was intentional about the flow of the book from the beginning to the end, and the connection between each entry. I started to get down on myself, “How could I have missed this?! I’m so horrible at details.” Plus, I was tired of writing. My family had sacrificed so much in order to give me the space to self-publish this book. I had no idea what I would write or where it would fit in. And we were on a deadline.
But then, my next thought was this:
“Well, God, that means there’s a story that wants to be included. Show me which one it needs to be.”
I took the mistake as a sign. My late friend, Jennifer, had made me a “looker of signs” in everyday life.
So I got quiet. We need quiet in our everyday lives to hear the Divine speaking from within us and around us. And I needed the quiet.
And then I knew what had “mistakenly” been left out and the story that I had to tell: the story of Jennifer and the cross in the sky.
“NO! Not that one!” I protested. “People will think I’m loony! First, that I’m hearing my dead friend ‘speak’ to me. And second, that I listened to what she said to do the day she died!”
But I knew this story was the one to be included. And so, I took the risk of honoring that voice within me and sat down to write the story that is now included in my book – page 65: Noticing Signs.
Here’s my story of Jennifer and the cross in the sky:
Yesterday, our dear friend Jennifer passed away. We had all been with her the last few days at her bedside in hospice. We sang, prayed, cried, and comforted one another.
At 2 a.m. yesterday morning, I woke up and “heard” Jennifer whisper to me, “Lis, when you get up, go outside into the field behind your house.”
Her voice was as clear as if she were in my room and speaking to me in the quiet of the night. I heard her loud and clear. I didn’t know why she wanted me to go to the field. But I was going to do it. I took Sherlock, our dog, and we went outside.
“Okay, I’m here,” I said out loud, now feeling a bit foolish and wondering if my mind was playing tricks on me. It had been an emotionally difficult week, filled with both Grace and sorrow. Maybe I was making this all up in my head.
“Am I supposed to look for something?” I asked. I heard nothing.
Then I remembered Jennifer said something about sitting on a bench. I walked over to the only bench at the park. Just as I sat down, I heard Jennifer’s voice, “Look up.”
At that moment, I looked up to the patch of sky that is “my patch of sky.” I look at it every morning several times – first from my bathroom window and then from our kitchen as I open the curtains for the day. I had already intentionally looked at this patch of sky several times, even while walking in the field.
But when I looked up this time, my patch of sky was completely transformed. Two planes had made a cross in the sky. In our ten years of living in this house, I had never seen that. Yes, I know, planes do this. But in that very moment?! Then, just as I saw the cross, clouds moved through, wiping it away. I heard Jennifer’s voice, “Lisa, you were with me in one of my darkest moments – my ‘on the cross’ moment. And now all that suffering I felt is completely gone! The Divine can and wants to wipe away all your suffering – IN THIS LIFETIME!”
And that was it. I didn’t hear her voice again. The cross was now gone. All I saw was clear, blue, open sky.
I stood there with Sherlock in the early morning sunlight, in the field, looking at the sky. Speechless. What do you do when you hear your recently deceased friend’s voice and you see something you should try to rationally explain away, but you knew it had actually happened?!
It felt like Easter Sunday. I was standing on holy ground – right in the field behind my own house.
Jennifer and her mom had always noticed signs: signs from the Divine – guiding, supporting, inspiring, and showing love. This was a sign. And now I’m a believer, too.
Signs of what?
Hope. Resurrection. Death does not have the final word. Love is really all there is. We have a choice: to let God wipe away all the suffering now – in this lifetime – and not wait until our last breath to put down the heavy bag of suffering we shoulder, and let God love us.
After I wrote this entry and even though I was nervous to share it with the world, it felt right. I knew this was the missing entry to be included in GoD. I pressed “save” and sent it off to our editor.
Reflecting back, I am grateful for this “mistake” because it turned into a blessing. A blessing of speaking my truth. A blessing of encountering a true strength in honoring the voice of the Divine Within me. And a blessing of honoring Jennifer and her spirit through sharing a story of her in GoD. My book feels complete with her in it.
Friends, sometimes mistakes can be blessings. They can be opportunities for listening to the Divine within to take us into where we aren’t too comfortable and to see what we must do or be about in order to honor our Truth. Maybe you are afraid you’ll look loony, like I thought. Maybe you wonder what people will say. Maybe you fear that you’ll fail.
Take a page from GoD and Jennifer: listen to that inner prompting.
Rumi said, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
When you let yourself be drawn by the “strange pull of what you really love,” there is no mistake. I do believe the Divine within you will turn it into an abundant blessing and grace.
I pray that the mistakes in your life offer such an opportunity to you, so you may look back and see them not as mistakes but as blessings along your path.
I’d love to hear about the things you once thought were “mistakes” and how they turned out to be blessings. Please do share.Blessings,