12/20/2011

HAS GOD SPOKEN TO YOU?

I used to wonder why I had always heard of people that had spoken to God or had been spoken to by God.  I assumed that was just a way they were expressing an experience they may have had.  The thought that God would actually speak to me or anyone else has always been pretty hard for me to accept.  That was until two things happened to me personally.  Because of these two happenings, although I have not yet had a two way conversation with God, I do believe it can happen.

I have two stories I would like to share.  The first could very well be a dream that I had, and may never really have happened, although I feel sure that it did.  The second has a dream involved as well, but as I will try to explain, I feel very strongly that story really happened.  I will not use names but I feel sure many who read this will know who they concern.

Music has always been important in my life, so I was very happy when I finally got the nerve up to be a song leader (cantor) in our church.  In the early years, it was very stressful for me on Sundays, not to mention funerals, as funerals involve so much more for the cantor than mass does.  As time went on, I did get more comfortable with being part of the music in all of our services.

The size of a funeral can increase the pressures that a cantor must deal with.  Both of the funerals I will talk about, were for youths and were family friends.  Both also had multiple Priests, and both had very large congregations present.  They were both very stressful for me, and of course for many others, but I would not trade the honor of being included for almost anything I can think of.

Several years ago, a young teenage lady from our area became very ill, very suddenly, and died in her father’s arms before help could arrive.  She and her family were then, and still are, very close to my heart.  I was asked to cantor at her funeral and of course was honored to do so.  For those that have not been a cantor at a Catholic funeral, it can be a very involved experience.  For me, it is especially so when it is for a teenager, a child or a good friend. 

After the Rosary of the young lady I have been talking about, I hugged her mother and cried with her.  I told her “I am going to do all I can to get into Heaven.  I must know what God was thinking by taking such a young and beautiful lady from her family and from the community”.  It was a very sad time in my life and as such, it was causing me to waver somewhat in my beliefs.

A couple of weeks after her funeral I was asleep in bed.  All of a sudden I sat straight up in bed.  Standing in the doorway of our bedroom, was the young lady that had died.  She was wearing a long, deep blue gown, and there was a golden glow all around her.  She was smiling at me and she said “Pete, He knows what He is doing”.  She then disappeared and I laid back down and went to sleep.  As soon as I woke up, I remembered it happening, just as if it had just happened.  It did not feel like a dream; it felt as if it had really happened.

Now, as I said earlier, this first story could very well have been a dream.  First, did it really happen, and second, why would God tell me now, when I was willing to become a better Christian in order to ask him face to face after I died?  I still to this day wonder about both of those things, but I know what I saw; I believe what I saw was real.

My second story is again about being the cantor at a funeral, but that of a young man.  He was not yet a teenager and was taken in a freak accident that normally would have caused minor injuries at most.  However, he had been in an earlier traffic accident, and was more fragile than he normally would have been.  Once again, I was asked to be the cantor at his funeral and again, I was proud that they had thought of me.

His funeral was around Christmas that year.  In our church at Ingalls, at that time, the song leader’s pulpit was removed and the crib scene was put in its place.  The song leader was placed down front, just in front of the pews on the north side, with a chair and a music stand.  From there you had a poor view of the priest but that was never a problem we couldn’t work around.  It put us next to the organist/pianist, and it did give a good view of the front few rows, especially on the far side where the family sat at funerals.

At this funeral, I had something asked of me that was different than I had ever had to do.  I was asked by the child’s mother to turn on a CD player that was sitting between the crib scene and the Priest’s pulpit.  It had the child’s favorite song ready to play when it was to be turned on.  I was told to turn it on towards the end of the funeral.  To make it easy for me to know exactly when, the mother told me that it was to be right after one of the uncles reading of the poem, “Footprints in the Sand”.

Early in the ceremony, the uncle got up, went to the pulpit and read the poem.  I knew it was not time for the poem or for me to turn on the CD player.  I literally panicked; sweat started beading on my forehead.  From where I was sitting, I could see the mother very clearly.  I looked at her and there was no movement from her, absolutely no indication that I should be turning on the CD player.

It was then that I remembered a dream that I had about six months earlier.  In that dream I was sitting exactly where I was sitting now; I knew it had to be Christmas time due to sitting there.  In that dream, I could see a lady sitting where the mother was now sitting.  She had a scarf on top of her head, just as the mother now had.  In my dream, the mother looked over at me and nodded yes to me.  But in my dream, she had no face.  I remembered that dream when it happened, but had not thought about it since then. 

I panicked as the uncle read the poem too early, but as I looked at the mother and I remembered the dream, I immediately knew that it was her in the dream.  A calm came over me at that time; a calm that I really cannot describe.  I started breathing normally and the sweat beads on my forehead went away.  I was truly at peace.  I knew without a doubt, that when the time was right, she would turn her head towards me and nod yes.

Towards the end of the service, the Priests got up started directing the altar boys to their positions.  I knew it must be time to start the CD player, but I did not budge, I just stared at the mother.  I looked at the mother calmly and without a blink.  Just when the Priests and the altar boys started to move towards the casket, the mother turned her face to me and nodded yes.  I went up and turned on the CD player.  The procession stopped and stood there while the song played.  It was timed perfectly.  When the song was over, I went back and turned it off and the funeral concluded. 

Now, is there even a slight chance that this was all conceived by my stressed mind?  Yes, I suppose there is that possibility.  Or did it really happen just like I say?  Did I have that dream six months earlier?  My answer is a solid Yes!  I know it happened just the way I have written.

Does it really matter?  Not really.  My whole reason for sharing these two stories is to give and to explain my opinion on whether it is possible to have a conversation with God.  Although stress may have been the reason for both of my experiences, I truly believe they both happened.  I now believe that one can speak with God and be spoken to by Him.  I have no doubt in my mind that others have done just that.

God does work in mysterious ways.  Perhaps God knew I was wavering in my beliefs.  Or, perhaps I was just ready to intensify my search for the truth of my belief in God.  Perhaps there is a reason he wanted me to have the experience with the young lady before I died?  Because of these two happenings, and among other things including lots of prayers, I now have no doubt of His existence.  I know now, just as the poem “Footprints in the sand” says; Christ is always with us.  Even at our weakest moments, when we are weak and being tested in our beliefs, He is with us.  I also know that I will never question Him again.  I know now, without any doubt in my mind, that “He knows what He is doing”.

Pete Thomas

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COMMENTS

If you cannot reach me by clicking on the "COMMENTS" link, please email me at pjthomas@ucom.net with "HAS GOD SPOKEN TO YOU" in the subject line.

YES Pete you have felt the same comforting and warm feeling that i personally have experienced with our good Lord - and am at extreme peace with knowing that God is in charge and always with all of us. As soon as we "let go" and realize that HE is in charge and always has been, that peace comes into our hearts and will stay forever. Thank you for sharing a most wonderful muse for the Christmas season. janie

Thanks for the note and yep, pretty good feeling.  Pete.

I have enjoyed reading many of your posts.  I believe God speaks to us all, when we're searching, and in the way that we need to hear.  I have also had a feeling of peace wash over me when I have prayed and was feeling distress.  My dreams are far far too wacky to believe God speaks to me in that way, but it happened often in the bible, and I know many people who believe God has spoken to them in a dream. Thanks for sharing.  Meredith.

Now that's a good daughter in law, reading my muses.   Thanks for your note and get those kids out here...... soon.   Dad.