The God Squad: Yup. More Godwinks…
Q: I am enjoying your column where you and others are writing about “signs” from the beyond. I am a firm believer in signs from the beyond from loved ones and friends who have passed. I have two stories for you. My daughter is a school social worker. Several years ago, a first grade girl was very sick with a brain tumor. She loved ladybugs, and the teacher decorated her classroom with ladybugs. The little girl also loved to draw ladybugs. Sadly, the little girl passed away at the end of the school year. As you can imagine, this devastated my daughter, who was her support person in school and the teacher.
The following year, my daughter was married, and the teacher was a bridesmaid in the wedding. During the taking of wedding photographs, a ladybug appeared out of nowhere. It landed first on my daughter’s hand and then flew onto the teacher’s hand, resting on both hands for quite a while. A sign, no doubt!
My second story: My uncle gave my father a beautiful hydrangea plant. No matter what my father did, he could never get it to bloom in subsequent years. Nonetheless, he kept the plant in the garden. Several years ago, my uncle passed away in January. That summer the hydrangea plant blossomed profusely. That was the only year it bloomed. It never bloomed again after that. Another sign! Making connections from the dead to the living. You can add these stories to your collection.
I enjoy reading your weekly column in my local newspaper! Your words are filled with kindness and love, two qualities our world can use more of right now. And, of course, your words provide much thought for those who want to lead a spiritual life! -- (From D)
A: Thank you, dear D, for your very kind words. As I have written, I am actually desperately trying to get onto another topic besides Godwinks, but it is as if I am getting a message, “I am not through with you yet.” These stories are little bits of evidence that we are not alone. I know they will not convince those who write them off as the puffing up of what are at their root, just coincidences. I might have been one of those cynics in my younger life but as I look at the world with an old man’s eyes I see a world filled with angels and miracles and — yes — with ladybugs that know just where to land. May God receive the soul of that little girl and comfort all her mourners. And may God bless you for raising a daughter who has your heart.
Q: I have been intently following your wonderful columns on Godwinks and I wanted to add my experience. I am an adjunct professor and retired after 40 years in the NYC Dept. of Education. My beloved mother developed lung cancer the year I planned to retire. Of course, I did everything in my power to be there for her -- appointments, tests, treatments, hospital and hospice stays -- always by her side. She passed away on Aug. 11, 2006. I was devastated and miss her every day. She was a great French lady, Holocaust survivor, and the most wonderful mother. Well, that was 16 years ago.
This August, while driving that anniversary day, something compelled me to look at the odometer of my old car when I stopped at a red light, in the car she helped me pick out! I rarely look at my odometer. It read 168,111. Sixteen years on Aug. 11.
Sixteen 8/11! I agree, there surely are “signs from things that go bump in the night!” -- (From V)
A: Well, first of all, dear V, let me suggest that you overlooked the real miracle in your odometric theophany! You have driven the same car for over 168,000 miles. Brava! That is an accomplishment certainly requiring angelic mechanics. I believe you have experienced a nonverbal, non-supernatural Godwink. The miracle was in the fact that you looked at just the right time. I find that many personal miracles happen to us but that we miss many of them because we are not looking in the right place at the right time.
An old legend tells that many of the people who left Egypt during the Exodus and who walked through the Red Sea that had been split down the middle by God (using Moses) did not see the miracle at all because they never looked up, and so all they saw was mud. That was true then and it is true now. Thank God it was not true for you. Keep looking up. Keep looking for Godwinks, and keep changing the oil in your car.
(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion for Dummies,” co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman. Also, the new God Squad podcast is now available.)
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