Do you believe in signs? In times past, OneOldCop was not what you would call a big advocate of looking for signs from God, the universe, the stars, or other prophetic sources one might consult. I was convinced, as many are, that such phenomena are wishful thinking, random chance, or flat out lies. Then in the throes of a personal crisis many moons ago, I asked God for a sign. I have not asked for one since.
This was shortly after I found my way back to my Christian roots. One could argue I was swayed by my shift from hostile skeptic to someone seeking a closer relationship with Jesus or God if you prefer. While I accept that possibility, I do not believe it, this was too clear, too timely, and too convicting. Also, it was exactly what I did not want to hear. Yet, it turned out to be the sign I needed.
I do still ask for guidance at times. By that, I do not expect a hand to materialize and write on the wall, nor do I expect an angel to appear and tell me what to do. If you are hardcore skeptic about such things, think of it as a form of meditation or self-talk. Whatever it is, talking and praying to God over the years I have seen, heard, and felt things that led me to make solid decisions, feel confident I was on the right track, or change courses entirely.
The potentially disquieting aspect of signs, omens, portents, or prophetic occurrences is when they pop up on their own, so to speak. You know, what I mean. You are driving down the road and something catches your eye. It might be something you’ve seen dozens of times, but suddenly it reminds you of a promise, obligation, task, or dirty job you successfully ignored or suppressed for some time. I experienced such a moment this holiday season.
This little episode of what-is-going-on-here started in a relatively straightforward fashion. Our Austin family; daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren; came to spend a few days before Christmas. It was a pleasant surprise of sorts, as they normally came to see us after Christmas. However, this year things were different.
Our son-in-law lost his father a few months ago. To make matters worse, he lost his mother the year before. Before the loss of his parents, the tradition was to spend Christmas at his family home and come to ours after Christmas. It was an arrangement we completely understood. Heck, we would have loved to spend Christmas with his folks at their home in the Texas Hill Country. So, having the Austin branch of our family with us at Christmas time was a mixed blessing for a couple of reasons.
The loss of his father resulted in a massive amount of work and trouble for our son-in-law and the rest of the family. His father and mother did a great job planning for the end that awaits us all. Still, dealing with the matter was not easy, and the problems encountered led to a strange Christmas time meeting. We spent a good deal of time the weekend before Christmas talking about End-of-Life issues. Sing Noel? Not!
Truthfully, our daughter and son-in-law’s concerns were understandable. If something happened to one of us, the other would likely need help, and they believed it was essential to make sure we understood the problems that could arise if the paperwork was incomplete, mistakes were made, proper planning was not done, etc. They were hoping to save the survivor, and themselves, as much effort as possible.
On the other hand, I’ve always thought the confusion and hassle one’s passing creates for his or her offspring is just a bit of payback for all the worry lines and gray hair they caused. Dubious efforts at wittiness aside, we had a decent discussion.
I am currently in the middle of duplicating numerous documents, directives, and records they will need if their mother or I should fail to wake up some morning. If that were the end of the story, you would not be reading this, which brings me to the question of signs and coincidences.
Checking email these days in my world is mostly a matter of deleting spam, offers from companies wanting to sell me something, have me sell something for them, help me increase my sales, keep my clients happy, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! Two days after Christmas I took a break from scanning copies of wills, financials, insurance, and other miscellanies, to check email. Almost immediately, two subject headings caught my eye.
One was from our Medicare Advantage program. The subject line read, “4 Smart Ways to Prepare for Your Own Funeral.” The other was from a senior citizen’s organization, and the subject line was, “Five Things You Should Know About Long-Term Care Insurance.” They were emailed within minutes of each other that morning.
I know! It is just a coincidence. I am, after all, in that age range, and these entities must justify their existence by smothering clients, patients, and prospects with information. Receiving the emails at this time makes some sense, but the timing makes it hard to write off as serendipity. Our family decided to bring this subject up at Christmas of all times, and I have been immersed in this since Christmas Eve. Now, I have two emails discussing two topics we discussed in some detail over the last few days.
Is this a sign that my time is coming soon? Is it a matter of chance? Probably not either of those. Most likely, I was attuned to the topic. Instead of dumping these emails into their respective folders for future reference, I thought, “What does this mean?” Of course, perhaps the sign is my awareness of the possibility. Either way, it could be God, or the universal mind reminding me I am not immortal.
Most of us do not wish to contemplate the inevitable. We would rather have it be a surprise, and possibly go out with a smile on our face thinking about the mess we left for the kids to clean up. The reality is none of us are guaranteed the next breath, much less tomorrow. Failure to plan for our absence is not something any of us should strive to achieve. Preferably, at any age, we need to understand we have a responsibility to those we may leave behind at any minute.
We should make satisfying that responsibility a New Year’s resolution. One we keep!
© oneoldcop.com – 2019
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