Note: I wrote this as we flew back over the Atlantic Ocean at the end of September.
It is only when the eyes are truly open, that we are able to receive what God has in store for us.
For most of my life, I have allowed fear and anxiety to rule my brain.
Yet, when I am anxious I cannot sense God’s presence.
When I am anxious I do not see the seas of some distant shore, getting closer to me.
I do not feel the light wind on my face that scientists can explain as air currents yet I am positive it is one more reminder of Her grace.
We ask for signs yet complain that they are not exactly as we asked- assuming that we know more than God and not acknowledging the sign she did send.
On vacation, on one of our last days out to sea on the cruise my husband and I were on, we walked the decks at sunset. Unlike previous days, the wind was gentle enough to walk without pushing against it, and we eagerly walked on the top deck feeling the last rays of the Autumn sun.
My birthday was coming up, and I mentioned to my husband that in past years I had asked God for a birthday present that only she could deliver.
My earliest recollection of doing this was as a pre-teen. I asked for rain to fall on my birthday. It was a hard request to fulfill from my standpoint, where I grew up in California we were suffering from a long drought. I was anxious to feel the rain in my face and hear it against my windowsill. I awoke on my birthday that year to find a beautiful deluge that lasted all day. I carried a secret smile on my face, knowing that God had provided me with the best birthday gift. Looking back, it’s still my favourite gift.
As I shared the memory, a warmth crept over me like only good memories can. I hugged myself as I stared out at the sea, wondering what I could ask her for this year. As I watched the gentle wake push away from our boat it came to me: a whale. I’d love to see a whale- (even just its spout) on one of our daily walks around the ship.
My husband laughed-the kind of laugh that told me it was impossible and improbable at the same time. I realized it was unlikely. Our twelve day cruise around the British Isles was ending a mere 12 hours later and the seas were getting rougher again as we walked. White caps started to peak in the sea and the wind pushed against us harder.
The worst that happens is we don’t see one, I reasoned with him. I felt secure in my faith to know even if God didn’t deliver THIS time, didn’t mean she wasn’t surrounding us. My husband agreed, and we squinted our eyes out towards the horizon as we walked, looking for the elusive spout of such a magnificent mammal.
The sun sank deeper on the horizon, and fifteen minutes turned into twenty. My husband sighed a long sigh. He was tired of walking, and didn’t have much hope. We stopped as my heel came out of one of my boat shoes. Protect fully he pushed me back from the edge and motioned for me to put my shoe back on. As he did his eyes glanced to the waterline near the ship, and saw them.
“Nancy!” He shouted, his eyes still on something in the water.
Two dolphins at that moment were just under the surface of the water, and one had jumped out, bow riding the wake from the ship.
I rushed over to see but by that time, they were gone- the ship’s speed and size clearly outpacing the graceful mammals.
We continued to look harder in the direction he had seen them, positive I would see it, too. We continued to walk in the now gusty winds until the sun was well below the horizon. My husband felt horrible, even commenting maybe he shouldn’t have told me he had seen them. I refused, and commented how wonderful it was that HE saw them. Only a couple of days earlier we had remarked how close the trip had brought us, and we were becoming “sympatico” If HE saw them, then WE saw them, although I must admit how disappointed I was.
Quietly I envied my husband, and was frustrated he had pushed me away from the edge the moment the dolphins appeared. I asked God for a gift, and yet she responded... didn’t she? I asked for a whale, it was a dolphin, and it was my husband who saw it- not me.
I continued to ruminate on this for the next couple of days, as we packed up off the ship and our adventure together took us to one final stop: London. We walked for miles around the city, taking in the culture and people. I became sad as time ticked down to return back to New England, and sadness turned into anxiousness as my body and mind (clearly exhausted from traveling) started to unravel. I was positive something would happen on the plane ride home, and my anxiety took over where my heart and intuition once were.
I didn’t sleep the night before our return flight, and I arrived at the airport positive of demise but feeling the strings of motherhood and my beloved children pulling me to the gate for takeoff. As I sat, despondent, with my brain (anxiety) telling me all of the reasons the plane was destined for a horrific end, I saw the most beautiful sight: a beautiful Siberian Husky dog. She had an “emotional support animal” clearly emblazoned on her collar. She looked at me with what I was positive was a smile. I tentatively walked a few steps towards her and her owner, not wanting to be a bother but feeling drawn towards her.
I knelt down close by and asked the owner if it would interfere if I pet her, and he enthusiastically said, "no." As if she understood him, she crossed the respectful gap I was keeping and started lapping my face up with licks. I pet her and chatted with the dog about the great London Parks she must have visited. The dog continued to nuzzle me.
What was her name? I inquired to the owner.
“Gaia” he replied.
The name sounded Greek or Roman and I asked what it meant.
“Mother Earth, or Earth Mother” he replied.
I gave Gaia a final pet and returned to my seat.
I googled the name and read that Gaia was a goddess, or the Mother above all others.
I nudged my husband, who had been immersed in a show on his iPad and was oblivious to what had just taken place.
"Is it a sign?" I asked him.
“Sure!” He replied- obviously wanting to get back to his show and knowing the answer her was supposed to give.
We sat in silence as we waited to load onto the plane.
“Earth Mother- it’s not Mother God” my anxiety argued with me in my head.
And yet- there was something there that I couldn’t shake. I had this feeling- I just KNEW this dog was supposed to be on our flight.
Mother God had sent the clearest sign she was with me, and yet my fear and anxiety tried to push her away yet again.
Much later on during the plane ride across the vast Atlantic, I realized this was not the first time recently I had pushed God away.
She had sent dolphins a mere fifteen minutes after I had asked, and yet my ego didn’t let me see the beautiful gift God had sent. I’m not sure why she made sure my husband only saw them- but I have the sneaking suspicion it has something to do with HIS faith and truth.
As we glide peacefully above a beautiful ocean, my heart is once again open. I breathe in my faith in God, I breathe out the anxiety that held me hostage.
Occasionally the plane rocks, jumps or shakes, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to bother me anymore. Peace fills me, as I am reminded of her presence. Sometimes it takes me awhile to feel her, but she doesn’t judge me for it. In God’s ultimate wisdom she knows that eventually, I’ll see her again.
If you feel like you are missing the presence of God or your guides, I encourage you to look inside for what might be blocking your view. It is only through letting go of what we feel must be that we see things for what they truly are.