An Angel Gives Me Hope
After my doubting subsided I was very happy that Elora, the spirit of the oak tree, had come and visited me outside dream time. It filled me with renewed hope and did help ease the loneliness. I wondered if I asked her to visit more frequently if she would do so. I also wondered if I might become obsessed with my spirit friend and start to depend upon my unseen world and friends for company at the risk of becoming a recluse and hermit. That would be an easy temptation. I knew there had to be a balance between the inner and outer world so I forced myself to not become a hermit. I would call some friends and do some fun things. I would talk about ordinary human concerns and I would continue working on myself, reading, helping clients and writing. I knew that I was far from being completely healed, but I had made progress. It was an honor and was wonderful to have unseen friends who took me on adventures and taught me interesting things, but I would keep grounded and the ole feet on ‘terra firma’ as the saying goes. I knew that I had obligations and duties to tend to on the everyday human realm and I would make myself do so.
I went back through my notebooks and read poems, articles, and other writings I had received over the years. I still dreamt of being a published writer, and no matter how many rejection slips I got, I just could not abandon this dream. I would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and receive new ‘writings.’ I would keep adding to the notebooks that were getting fatter and when the time was right, they would be published.
I repeated the Spanish axiom, “poco a poco el pajaro hace el nido” and decided to take it slow. I dug out the sewing box and told myself I would mend one or two pieces a day. I actually looked forward to my little morning ritual of mending the quilt and was in no rush to finish. I think I was enjoying it so much, because to me, a quilt is a perfect metaphor for the pieces of our souls and lives we are retrieving and healing. All those colors and different fabrics and materials remind me of the colorful diversity of our lives that we need to honor and cherish. One morning when I saw yesterday’s progress, I said, “yeah, just like this quilt, my life is slowly coming together. The pieces are falling into place. So, I think a little quilt mending can be good for all of us once in awhile.
I believe one of the reasons I became fascinated in Psychology and the mind and later metaphysics and spirituality is because half of my relatives are half nuts. I was ten when mom started going to mental hospitals. I recall talking to the patients on the wards. Sometimes I would sing and joke with them. I have never thought my mother is mentally ill. Yes, she struggles with depression, attempted suicide several times, and still has a suicide wish, but I think she would go just to get away from dad. Mom always got better when she was away from dad. But after returning home, it was always short lived because in no time he would return to his old abusive ways.
Dad was mean enough to drive the pope to swearing. Although I have always struggled with depression, I simply refuse to go on any kind of medicine. I feel that most mental conditions are emotionally based, though some can be attributed to chemical imbalances and other such things. As I studied Psychology in college, read every book I could get on the subject, underwent therapy many times, and struggled with my own depression and unhappiness, I came to believe this even more. It is repressed anger and hurt, blocked creativity and feeling trapped and unloved that can drive us loony. I was never depressed or sad when I had singing to look forward to, and when I later took to writing. Creativity is natural and we all need outlets for it. We all need to create. When I read that many writers, artists, musicians etc. struggle with depression I feel in good company. I even read somewhere that depression can feed the creative juices and flames.
My opera dream collapsed and I wandered about aimlessly living my own quiet life of desperation for a long time. After graduating from BereaCollege I moved to Bloomington, Indiana, the home of IndianaUniversity, one of the top music schools in the country. Many of their voice teachers have careers as world famous opera stars before teaching. I had always dreamed of attending IU. I would walk by the music building and listen to the opera students practicing and be filled with such yearning and despair. That should be me I would think. Whatever happened to my dream to sing at The Met? I would relive the obstacles and frustrations and drown in my misery. Why couldn’t I get over the big mental block and learn to read music? I had tried everything and nothing worked. I knew I had the passion and fire in me to sing, but without a solid foundation in musical theory and technique, I could never sing opera. I had taken piano lessons and basic music theory, and never did I get very far before the panic hit and I would just go blank. After an agonizing full year, my second year, Janette convinced me that I did not have what it took to be a music major. I resented her for that for years, as I resented myself. But deep inside I knew that she was right. Yet the flame of Hope never totally extinguished. Even if only a mere flicker remained, it never once went completely out, though there were many times I thought it had. I am fully convinced that a sense of hope is as natural to the human condition as any other attitude or sentiment. As long as there is life and breath, I do not believe the flame of hope ever goes out.
True, some people shut down and give up, but this is not the will of the soul. I believe this with every beat of my heart. I think of so many times when I was despairing and felt I could not get through the day. I confess there were days that the only way I got through the day was to drink myself to oblivion, watch senseless television or pull down the blinds and stay in bed all day. Such excesses can even be rescue devices at times. I certainly could find no comfort for over a year when my baby brother died at age 27 in December of 1997. So I drank and I cried and I cursed God and destiny, and I drank some more, and cursed God some more over and over. I do not judge people when they revert to such means to keep from falling in the abyss of their own unhappiness. But I do try to encourage and remind them that they are not meant to stay in that mode.
It is not that I am encouraging people to drink to oblivion or sleep all day when they are going through a rough period. I certainly do not. But if the depressions and despair become so overwhelming that the person refuses to get help or ventures to reach out to anyone, I believe a vice can be a temporary life saver. It is compassion and love people need during such times not judgment and criticism.
I remember that during a particularly dark period of my life a friend for my birthday took me to the liquor store and bought me a big bottle of rum. “I hate to do this,” she said, “I don’t want to encourage you to drink, but I know if I don’t, that you will get one yourself. I just hope and pray that you can find the love and strength inside yourself to give up drinking excessively, because you are drinking far too much. I love you and I worry about you.” I was deeply moved by that birthday gift, and actually was so touched that I did not even open the bottle for several days. There is no power greater than the power of love an old song goes, and I believe that my friend did a very loving thing for me on that birthday. “Poco a poco el pajaro hace el nido” and little by little I was able to get a grip on my drinking.
Sometimes life has a way of sending us a sign, omen, symbol or synchronicity that can help us get out of a slump. I am convinced that if we pray and reach out even when we feel we cannot speak one positive word, that help will be forthcoming. I was given help by a friend who called out of the blue during that sad time, and she did not even know she was helping me. We had some small chat and then I asked her how her family was.
“Oh, Hope and her girls are doing fine. I plan to visit them in a month out in New Mexico. Hope really is wonderful,” she went on. “I’m so grateful to have a friend like her.”
That sentence struck me like a lightning bolt. “Hope really is wonderful,” I said to myself a few times. I knew she was talking about her sister Hope, but I heard the sentence another way just as I had heard the lady at the restaurant say “I need some sole” a different way. I believe This was my soul’s attempt to get my attention and guide me back to that writing “Message to my soul”, and it worked. It is good to be open to any and all possibilities. They really can come from anywhere, anytime and from anyone in any way, shape or form.
I kept hearing the phrase “Hope is wonderful” the rest of the day. I could feel a presence around me and at times I would look into space and think I saw a glimmering light. I kept hearing the phrase in my mind, "Angels are real. Call upon them. Reach out to them." Then I saw a shimmering radiant form of a woman dressed in a long white robe. Her eyes were golden and her hair was long and golden as well. Warmth emanated from her. She seemed to be in this world and yet not in it. She looked ethereal and kind of ghostly. Then a pink light glowed appeared and surrounded her entire being. I knew this was an angelic being who exhibited total and pure unconditional love. Her eyes twinkled and glowed. That she had come from another world to visit me made me cry. I moved slowly towards her but she motioned for me to step back. Then spoke to me. "Michael, believe in me. Believe in angels. You have had angelic visits before. It is time for another one. I will speak to you in a 'writing' soon." Then the voice faded. I looked around, surprised. No body was there anymore. She was gone. The next morning "the writing" urge returned. Where have you been when I needed you these past few weeks? I wanted to say, but I was so relieved to have a diversion that I just took out my notebook and pen and in a type of automatic writing I wrote “Hope” and “Angel of Hope”
She visits you in dreams at night.
Your spirit hears her gentle song.
She speaks when you are feeling sad.
Let her strength help make you strong.
Be renewed by her gentle touch.
She gives birth to brighter days.
Although you cannot see her,
to sad hearts she has much to say.
She lives far beyond the horizon.
She swims in the deepest seas.
When you call forth her name,
she responds to fervent pleas.
Close your eyes and listen softly
to a voice that is always near.
The angel’s name is Hope.
Let her wipe away your tears.
I read "the writing" and cried. I relived that scene in the back yard at age thirteen when what I believed was an angel appeared to me and told me I would not have to endure the unbearable living situation at home much longer. She also promised me that I would go to college. Both her predictions came true. Could this angel have come back and paid me a visit through a vision and the two writings? Was this a different angel? Though I was still depressed, "the writing" lifted me a little bit. I would get cold chills and cry because it felt divinely inspired. The words were so touching and beautiful. Again when I had been in the pits of despair and hopelessness, an angelic divine being once more made an appearance. The thought humbled me and filled me with awe, hope and wonder. With experiences like that how could I ever give up? I called Leslie and shared it.
“Simply lovely,” she said.
“You know,” I said, “I think I could use another one like it. Wonder if my Muse could give me one.” This was mere wishful thinking, but to my great surprise, the next morning I did receive another writing similar to “Hope”.
LADY OF HOPE
So you are feeling down.
The song of sorrow grips your heart.
Teary eyed as you walk the valley.
The taste of life today is tart.
Despair lurks behind the door
wanting to blind you from Hope.
Wishing to steal away your cheer.
Saying you simply cannot cope.
Let me tell you, kind soul.
He is not as powerful as he thinks.
Do not sip the wine he offers.
Only bitter are my drinks.
Call out to the Angel of Hope.
Although gentle she is not weak.
She will take away your sadness
by the loving words she speaks.
I could hardly believe it. I almost never received writings that close together, at least not at that point. Later they did come more frequently. After “Angel of Hope”, I was not to receive another one for several weeks. I constantly read these two new ones during the following weeks. When feeling low I tried to remind myself how things always work out somehow. “Hope” and “Angel of Hope” saved me on many a rough day, and I hope they inspire you as well. They reminded me that no matter how bad things get, Hope never abandons us. We just think it does when we are in the pit. It is my hope that all those filled with despair might muster the strength to focus their eyes upward, and catch a glimpse of their little star flickering in that big grand sky up there. I read in a children’s book that God places a star in the sky for each of us. Why not? May we look upward when feeling down and find our star. And may it ignite the spark of hope in each of us.
"The writings", after so much initial resistance and hesitation, gave me hope and how I looked forward to them. What a welcomed change! They were helping me and I could feel myself slowly changing. My awareness and consciousness were somehow elevating to a less self centered frame of mind to a more concern for others frame of mind. Sure, there were days when, like a selfish child, I only thought of me, and I would say or do something that wound up hurting someone, or I neglected to do something that would help someone. Considering the needs of others along with our own and responding appropriately to both can be quite a juggling act, but it is a juggling act worthy of our efforts.
I remember groaning one day to an older friend about my problems. She smiled and took my hand and squeezed it gently. “Honey, nobody said life on the earth is a piece of cake. Maybe a brownie at times, but a piece of cake. Nah, hardly. But hey, brownies are tasty too. So don’t be so low. You’ll learn the balancing act if you keep with it. When you do fall down, as everyone does at times, you just get up and try harder the next time. What counts is that you keep trying. Talking about doing better is nice but don’t fall victim to the “talk and do nothing syndrome” It’s a bad habit to get into that’s harder than heck to break. Too many people get caught up in that. If you don’t walk the talk, you don’t deserve being heard anyway.”
“But it’s so hard at times, ”I complained.
“So what, honey,” she said, “tell me, have you got something better to do on the planet than improving yourself, showing kindness to others and extending some to yourself as well?”
I had to confess that I had nothing better to do on the planet. So I would take a few steps forward then fall back, and do it again ad infinitum. But little by little that nest began to look like a nest. I began to nurture myself more as well as others. I had spontaneous urges to send Birthday cards and a few dollars to my nieces and nephews and did so. I babysat my brother’s kids so he and my wife could get away to themselves. I sent books to some friends on topics dear to them. And yes, there were days, when I reverted to my old patterns and moaned and whined that no body loved me. Why couldn’t I be the apple of someone’s eyes? “I’d settle for being the cherry in the pit” I told Leslie one day. We both had a good laugh.