Ten years ago I had an experience that changed the trajectory of my life. It was a spiritual experience and I am now feeling compelled to share it. It was summer of 2006. I was working as the Administrator of my hometown nursing home and serving on our state trade association Board of Directors. I was living a life that had one speed- fast. I was working more than full-time, married, and I had three children age 6, 3, and 21 months. I would often put the kids to bed and go back to work. This was before I had a laptop and a smart phone. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day. There definitely wasn’t enough of me to go around. Everyone needed a piece of me. I know many Moms can relate. I felt such a sense of responsibility for my family, the employees, the Board, and residents who were all counting on me. It was during this time I was tucking my oldest daughter into bed, and she said, “Mom, it’s like you are here, but you are not really here.” My heart broke. I knew exactly what she meant. I wasn’t present with her. I was moving on to the next task. I felt as if my life needed to change but I didn’t know how.
The trade association board I served on had an annual Summer board retreat. The retreat was in a peaceful location in Wisconsin which was several hours from my home. It was big deal for me to leave my job, and my family for three days and two nights. I remember feeling very overwhelmed by the trip but also looking forward to some time away. I knew my location was very remote and the nearest town was 30 miles away. On the way I remember thinking I needed to fill up on gas in my mini-van before I arrived. Like many thoughts I had during that phase of my life, it came and went. I pulled up to the hotel and looked down in horror when I realized my van was on empty- the light was on! I had forgotten to get gas and I did not have enough gas to make it to the nearest gas station. I devised a plan. I would park my van attend my meeting and talk to hotel staff about purchasing enough gas to get me to the gas station. I took a deep breath and moved on with my day.
The night before I was going home, I was laying in my room by myself. Being by myself was a rare experience for me. There I was, alone with my thoughts. I have always been a curious person and I am intrigued by how people respond to things. One of my mentors, a friend, and a woman I look up to was the President of our trade association -Gayle. She oozes grace and class. I had been at a meeting earlier that summer and we were discussing some tough legislative issues facing nursing homes. As always, Gayle was professional, articulate, calm, and optimistic. Gayle always delivered a hopeful message despite dire circumstances. A colleague who ran a rural nursing home was really angry that our trade association had not done enough for the providers, and attacked Gayle verbally at the meeting. I was appalled and found it so disturbing and unprofessional. For some reason that night I was pondering that situation and I asked a question, “Why do people attack those who have a message of hope?”
What happened next was so shocking, I will do my best to describe it. I had a wave of information come over me so fast and furious, it scared me. The energy of the information was so strong I jumped out of my bed! It was as if I was given the answer to my question from somewhere else. I was given six names of men in fast succession- Jesus, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan.
Then came the realization these were all men who were murdered or shot! I did not at the time know how Gandhi had died, but later discovered that he had been murdered. I was in first grade when Ronald Reagan had been shot.
“Hopeful people are killed!?”, I asked? Who was I asking!? That’s when I jumped up in fear. Then another answer came. Their light was so bright, it scared people- not all people but those who lived in fear. These men all had a message of hope despite circumstances that gave them disadvantages and could have made them bitter and angry. Their message of hope resonated with many, but the fact that they beat the odds, and overcame their disadvantaged circumstances was a threat to those who saw themselves as victims. That is why they were murdered or shot. The fear of hope killed four of these five men. This answer scared me.
Then I had three women come to me- Mother Theresa, Gayle, and Oprah.
Then the next “thought” or answer came. When I use the word thought, that is not an accurate description but I struggle to find the appropriate description. The words came from somewhere else and I had never experienced this before. The answer was, “They do not kill women. We need more women.” I had a peaceful feeling come over me and it felt as if I was floating. The energy inside of me shifted and I did not feel like the same person. It was very overwhelming.
I fell asleep that night wondering what had happened to me. I went to breakfast the next morning and I tried to speak about it to a friend of mine, and tears started flowing down my face. I could see a look of worry on her face, and I knew I wasn’t explaining myself well. I felt very light, airy, and not at all like myself.
I packed up my belongings, brought my luggage to the lobby and waited for the valet to bring my van around. A man came up to me looked me right in my eyes and put my suitcase in my van. I remember thinking he had the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. They were piercing and looked as if they were looking right into my soul. I felt as if he knew I had changed. I got in my van and started driving away.
It was then I remembered. I had forgotten to ask about gas for my van. I slammed on my brakes. I turned around to look for the valet and he had vanished. I started driving, and was shocked to realize my tank had over a quarter tank of gas. It was no longer on empty. The light was not on. I kept driving expecting it to drop to empty. I kept driving, and driving, and driving all the while watching my gas gage in disbelief. I got closer to a town, I saw a gas station and my gage dropped to E- the light came on. An answer came again, “God will give you everything you need.” The tears started flowing. To this day, I do not know how that happened. The valet would not have had time to put gas in unless he had done it earlier in the week. I call him my angel. I no longer need to know what happened. What I do know is the experience changed me, and I have never looked back. I am ten years out from this spiritual experience and have learned so much. The journey has been filled with so many lessons.
I would love to hear about anyone else who has had a life changing spiritual experience?