Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Serendipity, Providence, or a Friendly Universe

Occasionally, I am a knucklehead. (I have witnesses!) And often, I'm blessed.

While waiting around for school to let out, I described the student I was waiting for to another co-worker. "This 6th grader weighs 193 lbs. and is about 5' 9". I need his dad to sign some papers."

While waiting for this dad, I got to talking to another co-worker about some help she needed on an assignment for a class in her Masters' program. While I was talking, I saw the student come in, but I didn't see him leave. I didn't see his dad sign him out.

(It's not always fun being a knuckle-head.)

I would have missed my signature-obtaining opportunity except that the first co-worker was watching me missing the whole thing!

"Hey, Don! Isn't that the parent you're waiting for?"

"Duh!" (I ran out the door and got my signature.)

My co-worker came by my classroom later to laugh at me up-close-and-personal. I laughed too.

Her help was needed and appreciated. (One of my affirmations is: I can reach my goals, but I can't reach them alone. I need God and others.)

But this was just a small scale "miracle." A bigger one happened at my family reunion. Let me elaborate...

At the reunion I was nursing a bad back from a biking injury. On the last morning, of the last day of the reunion, I approached the wife of my cousin's son to ask for help: she's a licensed massage therapist.

Katrina, the therapist, helped my back and my mind. She's trained in a sort of acupressure massage called Jin Shin Do, in addition to Swedish massage. This training, and her gift for healing, enabled her to find long-buried tensions in my muscles.

She found the pressure points associated with grief, and I was able to cathartically release tensions of grief that I'd been unknowingly holding on to for over 12 years. (To say I cried would be a gross understatement.)

What brought about this wonderful meeting? My back injury! When all was said and done, I knew why I had hurt my back: I needed to meet Katrina and learn a few things. Plus, I needed healing.

A week or two ago I had a disturbing dream: I was high on a cliff, rock climbing towards an exit with my first wife. She slipped and fell several stories, landed in a shallow pool, broke her neck, and quickly died. I couldn't do a thing. I couldn't get myself to leave the cliff. Then I woke up. (Nobody ever dies in my dreams, at least until this one. It was not a nice dream.)

Twelve years ago, at the last family reunion, my first wife discovered a lump in her belly that turned out to be pancreatic cancer. That discovery led to life-altering changes that culminated in her death 5 1/2 years later.

Driving home from the reunion on Sunday, I remembered the dream... and understood it: Someone I loved deeply had died, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That was sad, very sad.

When did that downward spiral of sadness start? At a family reunion. At some sub-conscious level I was dreading going to the reunion, but I went.

Providentially, at last weekend's reunion, I was able to release hidden, pent-up grief I had held on to, because at the time, I needed to "be strong for the kids." I did grieve at the time, but apparently, I had held back.

I hurt my back bike-riding, but God was moving me towards a rendezvous for my benefit. God is good. He loves us and cares for us. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and if we let Him lead us, He will bring us to places of healing and wholeness.

Who knew? The children knew! They're the ones who sing, "He's got the whole world, in His hands..."

Call it what you like, serendipity, Providence, or a Friendly Universe, but I'm grateful that I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.

"I can reach my goals, but I can't reach them alone. I need God and others."

Thank you Katrina.


  1. Why thank you, I thought my friend did a great job on the photo! And the human calnder, it's a widget, if you click on the actual thing it will tak eyou to the website and tell you more about the artist behind it and stuff, I thought it was real cool!

    About your dream, I dreamt once that my sister died from cancer, It was by far one of the worst dreams of my life, I woke up with tears in my eyes because it felt so real, from watching her sit in the kitchen all alone to waking up and finding her gone and my mom in tears, ugh, It brings shivers!

    Be grateful for what you have, and for your family! I'm really sorry to hear about your first wife.

  2. As for being a knucklehead and often blessed, wouldn't that be one of the very greatest blessings of being blessed?
    That acutpuncture story is pretty amazing. Maybe everyone should get acupunctured.

  3. **This is from Katrina (who is pictured on the horse above)**

    Don, it was time for you to move on to a freer, more fresh outlook on life. I would love to take some credit, but it was Great Spirit (God) and you who really did this work. We are just channels for Its Will to come through. Thanks for the opportunity to help, with your willingness to allow (an almost) stranger to touch you, you have opened up a new chapter in your life. It is nearly impossible to fully express the magical feeling that takes place when you have been given this gift of healing, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the picture; my mom will be so proud.

    Just a comment to Pastor Dennis: Jin Shin Do is a Japanese style acupressure, which involves no needles. It is a non invasive approach that can be even given with your clothes on. As Don described, it is very effective on emotional release, which is exceptionally powerful healing. We have no idea how many of our injuries are directly related to unreleased emotional responses.

    I am not computer savvy enough to respond to your blog. Feel free to post my response on your blog if you like. Great blog, by the way.

    Peace be with you,


  4. You are so right Don......it all is precisely placed in our life by the Master......
    A poem that I so love.......

    God, don't leave.
    Even if I leave you, don't leave.
    Nobody can love me like you, don't leave.
    Nobody can patch me like you, don't leave.

    You were my first love.
    You know me
    Better than I know me.
    You stand beyond the reaches of my vain imagination
    Yet you are near, don't leave.

    I know now that you are even bigger than I was taught.
    I know now that I can come to you without shame.
    Please help me to remember that.

    Please God.

    Please God help me to completely accept your love
    Each and every day.
    Please, don't leave me. Ever.

    (And yes, by the way.... you're right!!! You are gonna join Friday Shoot-Outs if it kills me to get you to......okay maybe not "kill's" me but you get the picture).
    Have and EXTREME weekend in His love and........

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  5. Pain and suffering sometimes being necessary to move toward an ultimate joy and peace....who knew. :)

    I'm glad you had the experience and even more glad you shared it. It was very brave.

    I'll keep my ear out for Jin Shin Do, I'm pretty sure I need a session.

  6. Thanks to all who commented on this blog entry. Since writing this post, I found a link to a list of Jin Shin Do practitioners:


    Don -- the wounded teacher -- Katrina's "label"

  7. Don-
    I'm sorry this has taken me so long to reply. This post has really stuck with me though.

    Isn't it interesting how just the right person at just the right time can make all of the difference? Your story was great, and it's the type of story that takes guts to share. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm also glad you had the chance to let go. I know our losses are very different. The part I can somewhat relate to though, is the letting go part and the freedom and peace that is so quick to follow. I'm glad you found that peace and freedom. You deserve nothing less.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. Miss H: Thanks for your comment. Your post on your blog today reminds me of your loss: your home and your town. Perhaps your sense of stability and safety too? I'm glad this post stuck with you. I had to come back to read it after I got a e-mail with your comment. I have discovered that the things we sometimes try to hide, like our humanity, is really the place we can really link up with others. I'm glad I shared.

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