|Blind Faith (M.A. Reilly, West Milford, NJ, 2008)|
She wasn't what I expected. She was ordinary looking--like a former neighbor you might bump into at a supermarket one afternoon in fall. I expected exotic and yes there was incense and holy water, and rose spray, and tuning forks and the quiet intimacy one might expect. But Anne Marie looked more like a woman from the suburbs, than a 50s hipster. She was funny and kind and I realized as we began and she called upon St. Michael to bless our encounter--deeply religious.
Mostly, she was genuine.
I had not been to a psychic-medium before yesterday and I want to say here that the experience that stretched across 90 minutes was wonderful. For the first time since Rob's death I felt a deep measure of peace. It's hard for me to explain how unsettled my life has felt during these last six months. Every minute is a reminder of the loss. Every minute. But yesterday as Anne Marie scribbled on the pad and asked me to help interpret what the dead were showing her, peace and contentment settled over me like a favorite blanket, like a chance encounter with a lost friend whom you suddenly meet.
I went to see Anne Marie mostly because I wanted to know that Rob was okay. I needed to know this. I also wondered about his spirit--was he still of this world in some manner? I learned he was both okay and of this world. I also encountered my mom and dad and a former neighbor.
In prior years, I may well have been the least likely person to seek a medium or a psychic. I'm more of a skeptic, than a believer. But perspectives change with experience and that's the overarching lesson I want to remember. Perspectives change. And how grand is that? Ok, well sometimes those lessons come with a cost. But these costs are often what we most need to bear as they are doorways of a sort that open us to other ways of being in the world and that surely is grand.
When I arrived home, I shared the encounter with Devon, who makes me look like a true believer. But even he was surprised, especially when I shared aspects of the encounter that focused on him. Who knew he had his eye on a black sedan? Certainly not me. We talked physics in the kitchen as I finished preparing dinner. We talked about energies being neither created nor destroyed, but rather transformed. And as we talked, I wondered less about Rob's or my mom's or my dad's human body and more about their spiritual energies. There's great comfort in knowing each is present in some manner.
Anne Marie told me things she could never have known--details long ago forgotten or just recently encountered. Early on she asked me why my mom was showing her the place where Anne Marie's husband works. I asked where he worked as she said the Archdiocese of New York. I couldn't fathom why my mom would be showing her this and then she mentioned Cathedral High School, which is located within the archdiocese. And I knew. My mom graduated from Cathedral back in the 1930s. Then there was the specificity of what Rob wanted to thank me for--things only he and I knew, or the chance encounter with a cardinal I experienced only hours before or mentioning Devon's acceptance at the very college he most wants to attend--the same college who sent him an invitation to apply priority status this afternoon.
Not everything Anne Marie mentioned could be understood. For example, Rob showed her a tree with cherries and cherries in a bowl and I still don't know what to make of either. He mentioned someone named George and that name meant nothing specific to me. And I find I mostly like this--the unsettled and unexplained--the space where silence reigns and talk is not present or needed.
Last night I was reading another book by Thomas Merton (it's like he's whispering directly in my ear). About halfway through Dialogues with Silence: Prayers & Drawings, Merton writes:
But there is a greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question. Eternity is in the present. Eternity is in the palm of the hand. Eternity is a seed of fire whose sudden roots break barriers that keep my heart from being an abyss" (Kindle Locations 431-433).The substance of silence. Oh my.
Mysteries abound and surely that is for our good.