April 22, 2022
Blog / personal / relationships / religion
Have you ever experienced this? I wake in the morning, open my eyes, and immediately, my mind engages. I think of something and I have no idea from where or from whom it comes. The thoughts have meaning. Something I imagined? Something my mind was processing overnight and came to me as the end result? A program running in my brain overnight? It is a mystery.
When my husband died of cancer in 2016, I experienced a tsunami of emotion and my world was turned inside out. The changes that came upon me were monumental. In a few months, I sold the house in New Jersey that we lived in together and moved to Florida into the home I inherited from my deceased parents. I had to find new friends, new doctors, new stores, new everything. I left family and many friends behind. I believe I was in shock because I don’t remember much of what I was doing. The house in Florida needed a lot of renovation, everything was over forty years old and falling apart. I had emotional and financial challenges. I was alone. I never thought I could live without my husband, Gene. Throughout our marriage, probably because I became so dependent on the grace of his unselfish love, I often thought about what it might be like to lose him and it brought me to tears; I had a veritable meltdown. My reaction to these thoughts scared me. When it finally happened, I think I entered into some kind of altered reality, one where this could be. Certainly, the life we had together was a reality I wasn’t willing to relinquish, so I couldn’t stay there.
From late 2016 through 2018, I experienced these waking “revelations,” if you will. But they came in the form of music. Songs of my past ― songs of our past ― would play in my mind, immediately upon waking. I thought: “Wow, I haven’t heard that song in a long time.” I wondered why they came to me. I wondered so deeply that it drove me to go to my computer and look up the lyrics, to gain more insight. What did I find? I read lyrics that had strong meaning in the intimate conversations Gene and I had over the years. I was convinced they were “messages.” They were words that I could believe Gene would say to me if he could. They were words of encouragement. They were humorous, as in the lyrics of this song, Feed Jake: “If I should die before I wake, feed Jake.” Yes, Jake was our elderly dog, who accompanied me to Florida, and died a year later. Coincidence? Someday I’ll put all the coincidences I experienced in writing, but for now, let me get back to the point of this post, “Waking with Words.”
In my book Testimony, I recount my soul’s journey back to the Catholic faith, which began after Gene’s death. I won’t dive into that now, but my newest revelation is that these songs and lyrics came not from Gene, but from God, who never abandoned me, even at my worst and most rebellious time of life. I think sometimes God uses those we love to communicate His love, and that is amazing grace.
So what’s up now? What inspired me to post today?
I awoke with four words. I am just now processing this and I will write another post about these four words, but for now, please try to understand what is happening, and I pray you will become aware of your own waking words and begin to listen. It’s important.
The four words are: Forbearance, Perseverance, Patience, Humility
I struggled to figure out: Why these four words, and not four other words? As I contemplated them, I soon realized they represented my four biggest weaknesses. God was telling me what internal work I had to do to defeat my demons. It was going to be hard work because I have been practicing the corresponding vices for a very long time.
How do I know these words come from the Holy Spirit and not from my own imagination? Primarily because they are so right-on, with regard to my sins, and I have never been that insightful about my own failings. Superficially, I do not think they come from my own imagination because I had no idea what the word “forbearance” even meant! It is not a word I use or know. I had to look it up. Synonyms for “forbearance” are tolerance, self-control, courage, fortitude, and suffering.
So there it is. What are your four words? Please pray for me.