Are there moments in our life when we can see God’s fingerprints or the Will of the Universe directing us along our path? I’m talking about seeing such a Divine event as it is occurring or upon hindsight years later.
That’s the question raised by a group of my friends at the Spiritual Sharing Circle that meets once a month at the Center for Contemporary Mysticism in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.
I immediately focused on my days while working for a daily newspaper and I felt the urge to seek a different career path. I recalled writing about a hostage-taking incident at Graterford State Prison, the “biggest and the baddest” Pennsylvania state prison. I was in my 30s and was joined at the Pottstown paper by a stringer for the New York Times who was filing a dispatch from our newsroom.
He was around 50 years old but looked more like 80 with wrinkles all over his battered face and a shake to his hands. He evidently smoked and drank too much and I knew at that very moment that I didn’t want to be like him when I reached that age.
I felt it in my soul but didn’t know what to do until months later when I now understand that Fate was sending me another message. This time, I was in my Conshohocken home after smoking some marijuana and learning that one of my college friends had entered law school.
Charlie Brown, (Yes, that is his real name!) was a Vietnam veteran whom I had worked with at the Temple News. He became a reporter for a few local Philadelphia area newspapers and some ten years later was planning to become a prosecutor in some California city where he had moved.
“If Charlie Brown can be a lawyer, then I can become one too,” I said to myself and found enough chutzpah inside of me to begin the application process for becoming a lawyer.
I applied to Temple Law School and got in despite terrible entrance exam scores. I practiced law for 20 years trying more than a hundred jury trials winning more than half of ’em. I also gave up smoking (cigarettes and the other stuff !) as well as the occasional excessive drinking and felt a helluva lot better upon reaching the golden age of 50.
Looking back on the question about the “Fingerprints of God” I see now that both life events triggered something inside of me. Some outside Force had been raised and somehow guided me in a direction I eventually followed. I am so grateful to have been open to such angelic instructions.
(Guided by Janet Mather)