For A (All five of you)
“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.” – JVTV
I have always asked for signs when I pray for an answer. But the truth is God gives us signs all day and everyday if we’re paying attention. This is where I get stuck, I often find I’m not paying close enough attention.
There are so many lessons I have learned in the last several years that have slowly shaped me into the woman I am today. I always seem to see each lesson like an oddly shaped puzzle piece at first but always seem so simple after I step back and listen. But during the time of testing, it feels like the biggest struggle of my life.
The lesson of letting go was taught to me by many people and though I still have so much to learn, five women, oddly enough with the same name, have been the true sign that I was headed down the right road. I just didn’t see the patterns at the time. I didn’t see where I was headed.
The first passed away which was one of the ultimate lessons of letting go. The second taught me how to let go of someone I thought was meant to marry. The third one taught me patience and how to let go of expectations and the lesson of letting go of my pride when I needed help. The fourth taught me how to let go of the hope that someone would rescue me from my own insecurity and of my disability.
And last but by no means least, the fifth taught me perhaps one of the greatest lessons of all. She taught me to look inside myself and find out who I truly am – so that instead of being a follower, I could find the confidence to be the advocate for my own needs and wants and how to say goodbye. Maybe in turn, this will teach me how to advocate for others as well.
Each one of these women taught me a priceless lesson. Each lesson is now a memory I will not only hold close to my heart, but has found it’s place within my heart as well. I will never be able to adequately give back the wisdom they shared with me but I hope that one day I will somehow share the same patience and wisdom they have offered so openly with me even if they said nothing at all to me.
It took me all of these years to recognize that when they say history will repeat itself until you’ve learned a lesson, it can be quite a literal thing. The fact that they all had the same name should have always been a sign for me but because of the length of time that passed in between each lesson, I didn’t even see it happening.
I recently read the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho this weekend and it really just made everything hit home in a way that I knew that if I didn’t write it down it would just swirl around in my head and in my heart forever until this story was told to the world.
Some may call what happened a coincidence. People can call it whatever they want but I know the truth. Their name now symbolizes so very many things to me. Sometimes just the mentioning of it brings tears to my eyes. I can only say that now that I have seen where these amazing women have lead me in life, should I ever meet another person with that name again, I will be ready for yet another lesson and I will be ready to listen intently.
Sometimes it feels like I am on my own in life despite my marriage and my family. Sometimes life lessons are meant to be learned from within. But the most amazing part of this to me is that it is a true testament to the fact that while God seems so invisible- he is always listening and while he may speak to us in mysterious ways, he always does give us an answer.
But it is our job to be listening and watching for that answer in our hearts and all around us. I used to think that He only gave us signs in all shapes and forms that will lead and guide us but after this experience, I truly believe it is to show us he is not just giving us directions, but that He is right there with us, hoping we will follow his lead.
After all, only He knows the way home.
Gretchen Leary 2013
Credit to The Artist: Lin Pernille
Θεοφάνεια when translated from Greek to English means “epiphany”.