Listening to Words

oscar_wilde__s_selfish_giant_by_superadaptoidI wrote in my post Ides Wide Open that March is a witchy month, and it has always seemed that way to me – the new year’s answer to Halloween, November and the first glooms of the winter. It has certainly begun that way for me. I submitted my 2013 taxes, electronically, on Feb 28, and found out a few hours later that somebody had already filed for my refund using my name, date of birth and social security number. Identity theft: beware. Then yesterday, I had an unexpected flat – not big deal. But yesterday here in Orange County, North Carolina, was also one of the strangest weather days I can recall. Freezing rain from midnight till mid-morning. Wind. Power outages. Then, in the afternoon, a heavy, bitter rain that melted the ice from roofs and trees in huge chunks and spillings. Today is in the 60s.

Strange too a conversation I had this week with Nancy, my tax preparer, about what was going on with my case. We were on the phone for quite a while and became friends or comrades. At one point, she mentioned her belief in miracles, and we swapped a few personal stories as pieces of evidence. She said one of my stories sounded heavenly. “What?” I asked, not having heard the word over the phone. “Heavenly,” she said, and explained why she thought so. I still didn’t quite get it, but accepted it as a compliment and an idea for a short story.

The day after I spoke with Nancy, I woke up from a dream involving my Aunt Gloria, my second mother who died in October. Relatives have come to me three times now in dreams after they died. The first was my Grandma Miller, who died in 1971. The second my Grandpa Miller, who died in 1984. And now my aunt.

In the dreams with my grandparents, we were happy to see each other. There were no words, but by some unspoken message we knew not only that this would be our final meeting, but that all would be well, that we would be well, and that we were or were going where we needed to be.

The dream with my aunt had the same quality. The difference was that we spoke a few words towards the end of the dream. We’d been at a party. I walked her to the car with a pot of flowers someone had given her. We hugged and she said something I didn’t hear – like when Nancy said “heavenly.” So I asked my aunt what she’d said, and I listened carefully to her answer. It was “again and together.” They were her parting words to me.

My friend Doug says that people love mystery, we want to believe in it … that our love of mystery is was lies behind all faith. He says too that, while we love mystery, it makes us uncomfortable: we want to understand mystery when we encounter it, but by its nature mystery cannot be understood.

To me, what matters then is whether we attach meanings to mystery and, if so, which ones. I’m in the camp of attaching meanings! For more of my thoughts on this, check out my posts about Our Lady of Lourdes and the conch shell.

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