Topic of the Week
Several years ago, when life was pretty stressful during my husband Michael’s illness, I shared a story about how grace entered my life at a time when I really needed to know I wasn’t alone. Since many people feel challenged right now, I wanted to share this story again in the hopes that it reminds you to ask for and see signs of grace in your life.
As many of you who have taken care of loved ones know, it can be quite a task. While most days I was able to stay in the moment and do what I needed to do, there were times when I felt completely overwhelmed and exhausted. One day, feeling totally spent driving to a meeting, I started to pray. I asked God to support me, to give me the energy I needed to keep going, and to show me clear signs that I wasn’t alone. After several deep breaths and a few tears, I continued on my way, feeling a little better. That afternoon when I arrived home, I noticed a tiny acorn sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor. As I walked over and picked it up, I thought to myself “I wonder how this got in here?” Then, I tossed it in the garbage.
The next morning, I left early for a doctor’s appointment. When I arrived at her office, I was ushered into the exam room, where I kicked off my sandals and sat on the table waiting for her to come in. A few minutes later, as we were catching up on our lives, she looked beyond me and said, “Hey, is that an acorn in your shoe?” I turned around and looked over at my rubber-soled sandals, and sure enough, stuck in a hole at the bottom of one of the shoes was a small acorn. I chuckled to myself and immediately thought of the one in my kitchen. I made a mental note to look up the meaning of “acorn” on the web when I got home. But, by the time I finished running errands later that day, I completely forgot about the incident.
Two days later, as I returned from the grocery store, I walked through the front door with bags in hand and turned to close the door behind me. When I couldn’t get it to shut completely, I looked down and, much to my surprise, found another acorn. Perched proudly in the middle of the threshold, the little nut was preventing the door from closing all the way (note the symbolism). I reached down and picked it up, placed my bags in the kitchen, and went straight to my office to look up the meaning of acorn. Among several items, here’s what I found:
“Acorns appear only on adult trees, and thus are often a symbol of patience and the fruition of long, hard labor.”
I felt the touch of grace in that moment. Reading that line made me feel comforted. It gave me hope and provided me with a reminder that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.
While the acorn symbol meant something to me personally, the bigger message was also clear. When we find ourselves in times of great need, wondering whether or not we have what it takes to go on, it’s the perfect time to enlist a little Divine support. Whether you write a prayer in your journal asking for help, sit quietly and ask for guidance, or scream out loud in the car begging for relief, experience has shown me that your request will be heard. If you pay close attention, there’s a good chance you, too, will start to see the signs.
One way to recognize messages of grace is to notice what keeps showing up in your life. For example, you might watch for:
- Objects - Are there certain objects that keep crossing your path? If so, go online and check out the symbolism of those objects.
- Songs - Do you keep hearing the same song while driving in the car, watching TV, or shopping in a store? Listen closely to the words or pay attention to the feeling the song inspires.
- Messages - Do you find that certain phrases, words, or slogans keep appearing while you’re reading the newspaper, surfing the web, or having conversations with others? What might they be trying to tell you?
- Grace Cards - If you use our Grace Cards or the “Touch of Grace” button on our homepage, does the same card keeping showing up? Remember, the online grace button has all 50 cards programmed into it, so if you get the same card, it’s a clear indication that you need to pay attention to its message. During the first month of Michael being sick, just about every time I pulled a Grace Card I’d get “Support.” You can find the touch of grace button here.
These are just a few of the ways that we get signs of grace.
Last week I visited a friend’s store called The Fairy Shop in downtown Boston. As I walked up to the register to pay for my items, guess what I found? That’s right. A big basket of silver-plated acorns with a sign that said something like, “Acorns are a reminder of strength and longevity.” After sharing my story with Michael, the owner, he placed an acorn in my package. “Here, hold onto this,” he said, “let it remind you that you are never alone.”
Sounds Divine to me…