“It will all be better in the end, and if it is not better, it must not be the end yet.”
– Dean Koontz
“God wants us to be happy and enjoy our lives, and so he sends angels to help us.”
– Lorna Byrne
When people talk about their life flashing before their eyes, they often speak of it as reviewing images from a reel of movie film. I contend this film, or mental story book of our life, is constantly replaying somewhere in the back of our minds – especially as we age.
Some images come to us crisp and clear, popping to the surface of mental awareness with a flush of warm nostalgia. These memories have meaning and emotional depth, marking our lives like purposely placed bookmarks.
Others images fade into white, like footage or a window obscured by static or snow. Try as we might we can’t clear the window to remember what happened to our second cousin ten Thanksgivings ago. We remain unable to recall the reason our parents sent to our room early, or we missed the season finale of our favorite TV show. Some of us can’t even remember how to spell the very words – for which we used to win spelling bees.
Perhaps many of the forgotten or missing elements of life are insignificant, and that’s why we forgot them in the first place.
No mystery hidden by powers unkind.
But I believe there is meaning in everything.
Sometimes not unpleasant scenes resurface in my mind like benign flashbacks, of which I am at first unaware.
I begin to notice these because of their repeated persistence.
I think of it as interior angels, trying to show me something.
I tend to recall one summer in particular. A highly sensitive child, I was more in tune with my interior life, animals, nature, and the beauty and mysteries of the changing seasons, then I was with children of my own age, or the games they seemed to enjoy.
I see West Point very clearly, the visuals and smells of it.
I see tiny, sparkling rivulets of crystal clear rainwater meandering merrily down the road where I lived.
I remember gentle sunshine filtering through leafy, overhead ceilings of oak and pine, and the soft, warm breeze which carried with it the sweet smell of green, neatly cut military grass…
and the incense-like stain of red and gold marigolds, which adhered to my hands like golden finger paint, from giant seed pods broken open with a pleasing snap.
It’s like I’m reliving that summer, but especially a specific part of it.
There was a birthday party at the end of the road at a house, where a girl I knew from school lived.
She was slightly older than me.
She had been kind enough to invite me to her party, and therefore I was obliged to go. The fact that she was not a close friend and sometimes gave me a vaguely uncomfortable feeling, was not relevant to this duty, nor was my disinterest in the trivial games that seemed to very much interest the other kids.
I don’t remember the cake.
I don’t remember the interior of her house.
And I don’t remember of what most of the games consisted.
But I do remember when one of the girls dramatically announced that one of the other little girls – arriving late – was a fortune teller and was going to “read” our futures, and everybody got all excited. At that point I decided I had had enough, and tried to quietly slip away.
I guess I had spiritual pride at an early age.
My interior life was way too interesting and I was way too intuitive, to imagine enlightenment could be aided by another little girl. Especially not one who might not mind overly sweet frosting, the brutality of bobbing for apples, or God forbid – playing spin the bottle with the few boys present.
But if I was anything at that age I was docile, and did not want to hurt or offend anyone.
So when one of the older girls ran after me across the back yard (after I had made my quiet escape, sneaking guiltily out the door) I was subject to her, and returned with her. She told me the little girl telling fortunes was really “nice” and “don’t be afraid”.
Don’t be afraid?
Apparently, this fortune teller girl specifically wanted to tell me my fortune, for some reason unknown. I didn’t know who she could be, but the girl had specifically asked about me, wanted to speak with me, and tell me my fortune.
With some kind of glass ball.
Or something she was using as a glass ball. I think it may have been a basketball.
Looking glass, basketball, did it even make a difference to them, these strangers?
But I probably said make shift prayers of deliverance – you know – just in case she was consulting with demons ~ that might be hiding behind a basketball, or perhaps inside of it. I didn’t like demons, nor basketball, and I certainly entertained more than a little superstition…of superstitions.
What the fortune teller girl told me was that I would be divorced two times, have three children – one of whom would die very young – and a boy and a girl, who would survive. I remember that quite clearly.
I remember thinking she was the unfortunate one.
I remember interiorly balking at this stranger’s insistence (as she sat in the dark and the other girl had to tell me what she said for her) that I would be divorced that many times, and one of my future children was going to die. But I also remember she was indeed very “nice”, adding “Do not worry, you will be very happy in the end”.
So for some reason, every once in awhile, I remember this little clairvoyant, her calling me out, her “service” to me, and her ever so confident prediction. This is one of those odd scenes that has kept resurfacing in my life with increasing, mysterious persistence.
Of course, I don’t remember the little girl’s face, but perhaps that’s because it was obscured by a veil.
This is not unlike the scene in Jane Eyre when Mr. Rochester disguises himself as a fortune teller, and gives Jane a spankingly accurate picture of herself.
Because at fifty-one, two divorces, three children later (a boy and girl now grown, and a baby I tragically miscarried) I am paradoxically quite joyful, and think I’m beginning to see why repeated exposures to scenes like this are important…when taking instructions from angels.