Friday, March 21, 2008

“Two Gifts”

In the last ten years or so I’ve become increasingly aware of the gifts that come my way via the persons who come into my life. This has resulted also in an increasing gratitude during my more frequent moments of meditation. I’m speaking not only of persons who are demonstrably kind and thoughtful, but also of those who exhibit hate, cruelty and moments of angry attack. These figures in my life allow me the opportunity to look within myself for those same characteristic thoughts, feelings or actions, and to bring them to the healing power of forgiveness that I believe lies within the hearts of all of us.

Lenore’s Gift

This is the story of a person who brought to me a huge blessing. Her name is Lenore and her story is a necessary prelude to my own.

At age thirty, Lenore was not only an accomplished professional musician, but a busy theatre director and stage manager as well. One of her gigs was stage managing a dance troupe headed by a dancer friend named Margo. During a dance performance, it happened that Margo, while intending to leap into the arms of a six-foot male dancer, instead leapt completely over his outstretched arms, landing just behind him on her head and shoulder. The result, of course, was serious injury to one side of her body.

Margo’s injury got no better, despite dozens of visits to doctors, chiropractors and bodyworkers. Lenore and Margo prayed together for help in healing Margo’s injury. Help is what they got, though in a form neither of them expected.

Over the weeks that followed, Lenore noticed that her hands were becoming more and more painful, to the extent that she began to worry that she might be developing rheumatoid arthritis or other serious condition that would impair her ability to play her wind instruments.

Fast forward several months to Christmas Eve in a Congregational church in a small Connecticut town. Lenore had gone to the church with her brother, who had a gig to play his flute during the Christmas vigil service. They sat in the choir loft along with the organist, soloists and choir. There is some irony here in the fact that Lenore and her brother are Jewish.

It was during the singing of “Silent Night” that the piercing scream of a young woman down in the chancel brought the service to a halt. The church deacon appeared in the choir loft and approached Lenore. “She’s calling for Lenore,” the deacon said. “Aren’t you Lenore?” Lenore and the deacon had never met before.

When Lenore went down to the woman who had screamed, she expected to find someone she knew—perhaps one of the dancers. To her amazement, she found a young woman she’d never seen before. “Can you help me?” the young woman pleaded. Lenore noticed that, while turning in the pew, the woman had somehow dislocated her knee. So Lenore did what she had done so many times for the dancers: with her hands she popped the knee back in place, instantly relieving the pain. The paramedics arrived soon after and took the young woman to the hospital, while Lenore returned to the choir loft and the church service resumed. But Lenore was left with the persistently puzzling question—How to explain that her name had been called out by a complete stranger? More puzzling still was that, as she sat there in the church, she noticed that the pain in her hands had gone. Instead she felt a warm rush of energy that seemed to move from her heart down her arms to her hands. Her hands no longer hurt, they glowed. Even stranger was the fact that she, a Jew, felt at that same moment that she had received a gift for healing from Jesus. There was no question in her mind that this was so.

Coincidentally her brother had just given Lenore a gift certificate for a session with a local psychic named Ed Moret. Not long after her miracle in the church, Lenore met with Moret. As soon as she sat down for the reading, Moret, who knew nothing about Lenore, asked, “What’s going on with your hands?” Lenore told him what had happened that Christmas Eve. Moret confirmed that she had indeed received the gift of healing. And not only that. Moret told her that she’d be going back to school in order to develop and refine her new gift. “No way will I ever go back to school!” thought Lenore, for she was content with expressing her talents for theatre and music, and she wanted no more schooling.

Now for some time Lenore had been helping the dancers in the troupe, in an informal way, with the various minor strains, stresses and joint dislocations that dancers are prone to. The dancers would tell her what to do and she would use her hands to massage and manipulate the painful areas. The dancers invariably commented that Lenore had great hands, and a wonderful touch.

So Lenore decided to see if there wasn’t something she could do to help Margo, whose injury was as debilitating as ever. Something led Lenore to a bookstore where she found a book by a bodyworker and healer entitled Healing Hands. She read the book and began applying some of its ideas with the hope of helping Margo. Having no massage table, Lenore tried working on Margo on Margo’s dining room table, along with a comforter and some pillows, hoping to bring Margo some relief from her constant pain. To the amazement of both women, there was one moment, as Lenore worked with her hands on Margo’s neck and right shoulder, that there was instant relief from pain and freedom from bodily paralysis. In that moment, Lenore had discovered another talent. She was a healer.

All that Ed Moret predicted did come to pass. Not only did Lenore enroll soon after in a physical therapy degree program, but she today runs one of the most successful physical therapy practices in Connecticut, with patients coming to her from all over the country in order to receive her unique healing gift.

It was Lenore’s fascinating story that helped me reach another level of spiritual awareness, and that story follows.

Martha’s Gift
Some are appalled when I tell them that my wife’s death was a gift to me. I had thought at first that I’d had an immeasurable loss, only to discover the opposite was true. I had no loss— Her death was instead an immeasurable gain. Let me try to explain.

After some five years of dementia, the severity of which escalated markedly at the end, Martha died after only four days at Hospice. The dementia had a name: Diffuse Lewy Body Disease, and it included a terminal closing of the esophagus. It was clear to me that Martha chose to die after a final fall that brought with it considerable pain. Also she did not want any part of tubular feeding.

I grieved for about a month. Having lived with her for fifty-five years, I of course missed her; though I was relieved that she chose not to suffer further.

Before Martha died neither she nor I were ever able to satisfactorily meditate. Our minds skipped about in distraction during the process. About a month after her death I decided to try again. And this time I was able to stay focused, at times for over half an hour.

It was during these meditation times that I experienced a strange tingling of the skin about my lips, cheeks and throat. At first I attributed this to some unknown physiological cause. But as it persisted, sometimes occurring during my sessions with patients or while taking my daily walks, I began to think: “Could this be Martha’s spirit communicating with me?” “Oh, no,” I thought, “since I miss her so and am capable of making up many thoughts and feelings, I’m just making up a sense of her presence as well.”

Nevertheless, as weeks went by and the suspicion of her presence persisted, I decided to clear up the matter for myself. Having heard Lenore’s startling story, I decided to visit Ed Moret and ask him about this continuing electric-like tingling of the skin.

I did not get an opportunity to ask him; for as I entered his presence he exclaimed: “Who is that woman with her arms around you kissing your neck? Do you feel her? I think her name begins with an ‘M.’ It’s Mary—or Madeleine—Oh no—She’s telling me her name is Martha. And she is sorry for your sadness.” (Even as I write this I am experiencing her presence in the manner described above.) Ed went on: “And she wants you to know how very grateful she is for the fifty-five years she lived with you, and that she will be with you until you decide to cross over. Whereupon she will help make your transition easier for you. Meanwhile, for instance, she will be riding in the car with you as you drive, and will let you know of any dangers that might be up the road that are unknown to you.”

By this time I was overcome with gratitude, thinking that nothing could be better than what I was hearing. I was wrong about that, for Ed continued: “She also wants you to know that in the next 18 months she will help open a door for you to enable you to rise to a higher level in your quest to experience the Source of Love. And if any of your patients are open to receiving her help, she will be there for them.”

Subsequent events have substantiated those communications. For my capacity for serenity when confronting disappointing events or hostile encounters with others has greatly increased. And I have become more patient and less preoccupied with outcome than my usual selfishness had heretofore demanded.

Then some four months after this visit with Moret, I had two newly acquired patients say on separate occasions: “Strange things are happening to me recently. I awake at 2:30 in the morning with the sense that a woman named Martha desires to help me heal. She reminds me that forgiveness of those I hate is not only crucial for me but absolutely possible. She says the same things you do, but sometimes I can hear her more easily.” Neither of these patients knew I had been married to a Martha, nor that she had died nor promised to help my patients.

And so I am grateful for these gifts. I believe they reflect the Source

Two Gifts of Love with which all of us seek to re-join as we continue on our spiritual journey. And the end is certain, as A Course In Miracles declares:

Yet at the journey’s ending there will be no gap, no distance between truth and you. And all illusions walking in the way you traveled will be gone from you as well, with nothing left to keep the truth apart from God’s completion, holy as Himself. ( Workbook , 155:10 )

Copyright 2007 Frank West

No comments: