St. Therese The Little Flower


My first experience with a sign was when my Grandma C. received a bouquet of yellow plastic roses in response to a novena to St. Therese, The Little Flower. For those non-Catholics among my readership, St. Therese was a Carmelite nun who experienced visions and people who complete the novena in her honor are rewarded with roses if her intercession with God on their behalf is successful.

I was nine or ten at the time and wasn’t as impressed as I was disturbed. The last thing I felt my grandmother needed was more unseen beings floating around her apartment. Between my uncle and grandfather, there was hardly a chair at the dining table I felt safe taking a seat on. I took to taking my cue from Grandma and avoiding the chairs that she’d most recently directed a comment toward.

It was around this time that I heard the story of the Fatima. Three young children who were visited by the Blessed Virgin. She shared with about upcoming horrors in the world and even told two of them that they were going to die soon. Heavenly visitations and signs in my opinion then became things you wished on other people.

Recently the topic of signs came up on a blog I read but don’t comment at too much anymore. The blogger wrote about witnessing a shooting star in response to her admission – to herself really – that she was lonely. She wanted to be able to say it was a sign from her late husband, but she couldn’t. She just doesn’t believe in signs.

I have written about “signs” I have received over the course of my widowhood, but not so much about those I have received over the course of my life that have nothing to do with my late husband or any other dead person.  Signs, in my opinion, are not specific to contact with the “other side”. They are road signs that point out a new direction, keep us on track or assure us that we are not alone in whatever difficulty we are facing or enduring. 

I have seen only two shooting stars in my life. The first was with my late husband Will as we were driving to dinner with my family for his first visit to my hometown with me. We both saw it and took it as a sign that everything was going to work out for us as it should. That he ended up dying seven years later doesn’t negate the sign. We had the time together that we were supposed to have. I was his happily ever after. He was not mine. 

The second shooting star shot across the sky early one morning as I was turning on to the 235 on ramp, heading to the daycare and then work. I had been thinking that I was tired of the status quo of my life and ready for a new beginning. And then I saw the star. It was not Will. It was whatever it is that we call God. The universe maybe?

I had barely started getting to know Rob* at that point, and little did I know he and our friendship were being heralded by that star, but shooting stars are not so common that their sighting can be discounted as the randomness of time and space. At least in my opinion.

My blogging friend daisyfae remarked once that she is glad to be psychically deaf. I could wish for that too sometimes in this spirit crowded home I live in, but she is on to something with the idea that some of us are just more attuned to the fine frequencies that resonate around us all the time and some are not.

Maybe as Freud once said, a cigar is just a cigar and the same can be said of shooting stars or songs that pop up on the radio at just the right time**, but I like believing in a benevolent universe that reaches out to reassure and give as much guidance as it can within the framework of the “rules”. It’s comforting, and there is precious little of that sometimes, so why not take it when it happens along? 

* When I told Rob I had written this piece, his comment was “And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply”.

** My radio has long spoken to me and it has not always been so supportive of my decisions and plans.