I believe the universe speaks in sign language and is in constant conversation with me; like the bumper sticker that proclaims “Believe” when I am struggling in a relationship; like the dump truck tailgate stenciled, “Do Not Push,” (more advice on same.)
I believe there’s no coincidence in spotting the sign, “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention,” when I’m feeling powerless. It may be a political statement but this is a personal conversation in which the universe is engaged. You have to be discerning of course. You can’t assume significance in everything you read. For example I only momentarily consider that the Hokey-Pokey is what it’s all about, but honoring the intuition that calls one sign to your attention and not another is part of listening.
Some signs are symbolic, gifts from the natural world. Leaving Emily, my youngest child, at a small New England college this fall, I was feeling shell-shocked and empty. I was dreading a house bereft of music floating down the stairs, backpacks to stumble over, the scent of raspberry shampoo. I was dreading the quiet rooms as you can only dread a loss for which you have prepared all your life. I have maintained my career, cultivated friendships, gotten a dog. Still, as the car rolled south on this crystal clear afternoon, I anticipated only the chasm of the rest of my days. I saw only an open highway with no destination, and a future as blank as the featureless sky.
Then out the side window, one tiny bright cloud appeared. Within seconds a rainbow formed on its surface. Violet, blue, orange, green, this symbol promising something good at my journey’s end companioned me for miles. Assurance that all was well lingered long after both cloud and rainbow disappeared and the sky returned to its even wash of indigo.
I have been finding four-leaf clovers lately as well, spotting them as I walk my yellow lab around the neighborhood. Just glancing at the ground in the park by Old Woman Cove I notice the difference in the pattern of tender leaves. Pattern recognition; maybe that’s part of reading the signs.
I am at that point in my life however, when the patterns are not so obvious. It’s too late to be an astronomer or ballerina, dreams of my youth. It’s too late to do it all over again better—marriage and motherhood. It’s time to make a new plan but how do you accept the end of something good without longing? It feels impossible to go backward or forward from here.
On the way home today a jeep idles in front of me in the intersection where I am stopped. Intersection. Stopped. The universe is good at set design too. There is a message on the jeep’s wheel cover protecting the spare. It’s simple, almost foolish unless you are listening for what you need to hear.
“Life is Good,” I read and with a lighter heart, I move on.
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