I believe in Signs.
Not your Burning Bush type of sign, although that would definitely catch my attention in an “OMG! What the hell was I smoking?” kind of way, but the clever, subtle signs that are there if you pay attention. There have been too many unexplainable things that have happened to me over the years to doubt it.
Some of the signs are small and easy to miss but others are a jackhammer to the head that are pretty hard to ignore.
When my youngest daughter Katharina was four months old, I wanted to put a ‘Happy First Valentine’s Day’ announcement in the newspaper, but I hesitated.
We lived in a small town and I had just re-married and had a new baby after a long, bitter divorce from the father of my four older children, a prominent dentist in the community. My choices to marry again so quickly and have a fifth child at such a ‘advanced’ age (I was 39) made me happier than I had ever been in my life, but I knew the town gossips were feasting on my every move. If I continued my scandalous ways, they would explode like Mr. Creosote (the outrageously obese man in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, remember?). I didn’t miss the ‘life in a fish bowl’ I had endured before and I wondered if I should just keep things low-key and not add any more fodder to their troughs: Oh look! The kid has a hyphenated last name! I bet her ex won’t like that...blah, blah...projectile vomit...blah...blah...
Did I want to keep their slavering tongues wagging?
I thought about it for a while and finally decided to do it. I would not let others dictate how I lived my life. I sent in the details with a cutie-patootie picture and waited for the paper to come out on Valentine’s Day.
A couple of hectic weeks later, I had just dropped of the older kids at school when I realized I was driving near the newspaper office and still hadn’t picked up the issue that had Katharina's picture in it! As I pulled into the parking lot, I decided I needed five copies; one for the baby book and a few to mail out to family.
I asked the girl at the counter for five copies of the February 14th paper and she said that there would be a big pile of back-issues on a tall metal rack off to the side. I looked but couldn’t find a single copy. I asked for help in case I was doing something wrong and after a few minutes of searching, she said she was sorry, but it looked like they were all gone. An odd thing too, she added, because there were usually plenty of extra copies around even a year after printing.
I was devastated. No clipping for Katja’s baby book! I could have cried.
I was about to walk out the door when I noticed a small stack of newspapers lying on a lone chair by the doorway. I glanced down at the date out of curiosity and could not believe my eyes; February 14th!
I looked up at the girl at the counter and asked , “Did you put these here? They’re the date I was looking for!”
She was shocked and said she hadn’t. Then she asked how many copies were there.
I counted five.
After looking at each other in silence for a moment, she said, “Somebody is looking out for you, aren’t they?”
I just nodded and took the papers to my car. I couldn’t stop smiling. I had such a feeling of ...I don’t know...elation would be the closest word I can find to describe it.
And I thought, ‘Okay...I get it. I believe. You have made your point LOUD and CLEAR!’
I had been given a very significant sign: You are where you should be. You are on the right path. I felt emboldened.
Was it a Guardian Angel? God? Zoltar from the Planet Nekron? Who knows. But I do know one thing. Some things are just too amazing to be a coincidence.
Suck on that mint Mr. Creosote!