She was now a mum at home with her children but she never imagined mothering in this way; filled with such raw emotion and self-obsession. It was a foreign world that she had been fortunate not to enter before. The very thought of the illness left her feeling tired, lethargic and very, very melancholy. She was living the stages of grief like the books suggest but certainly not by choice. She wondered if there ever would be a day when she would reach that more peaceful stage called acceptance.
Fortunately, she had a wonderfully supportive network to guide and help her face those traumatic early days. It seemed that each friend on the journey held a very different, but critical role. And as she faced another cold, miserable day both physically and emotionally, Annie was providing the specialty friendship that only she could offer. It spoke of her incredibly optimistic and upbeat nature. Her life motto, “On with the show!” was clearly apparent. There was no time for tears and sorrow in Annie’s world, just time for definitive action.
Annie’s phone call came early and was short and direct. She asked if she was dressed. Of course, with no job calling her to punctuality, she was still in her warm flanelettes and fluffy slippers. She thought that this was the best option given that her mood matched the weather outside. Annie instructed her to shower and dress for an outing. She promised steaming mugs of coffee and delicious chocolate cake at a lovely little cafe and then some window shopping. She sighed. It all seemed like too much trouble. She had no energy for dressing up or for sharing in conversation and the last thing she wanted to do was to face the world at a busy shopping centre. During a hectic work week coffee and cake would have been an indulgent treat. It was different now. She knew no matter how delicious, she would simply sip the coffee and nibble at the cake before pushing it aside unfinished. (She wished she showed such restraint normally.) Nevertheless, knowing her friend wouldn’t allow rejection she reluctantly agreed.
Annie would definitely be punctual so even though there was plenty of time she went immediately to get ready. She moved at a slower pace these days, caring more gently for her battered body. She needed to dress her wounds, wash her hair and iron her clothes. Surprisingly, once she took affirmative action she was showered and dressed well ahead of Annie’s arrival. Perfect! She grabbed her book from the timber coffee table and opened the page marked by the coloured card. She had always been drawn to the written word to provide information, guidance, comfort and reassurance. She had just started the book this morning and was curious to read more.
Just the day before, she had returned from a short family holiday. Unfortunately, she had not found it relaxing and restful and had spent the days in a melancholy state; distressed and lethargic. The family had returned early to the familiarity and comfort of home. As her husband drove, she called her friend Kelly. Kelly was a calm and peaceful friend whose demeanour was reflective of her time spent in regular relaxation and meditation. She would be the perfect person to help her learn meditation. She knew she needed some way to relax and manage this ongoing anxiety that was steadily gnawing away at her.
She had tried meditation before but it could only be said that she was ‘present at’ meditation rather than ‘present to’ meditation. After yoga there was meditation but her brain had used the time to dance and dart, dart and dance. As much as she tried to calm it, it refused to lie still. Instead of allowing the mind to be still and present she created shopping lists, planned holidays and organised her job, her house, her life. Meditation had merely been a time to think, or even sometimes, a time to sleep! However, she knew now that she needed to let meditation become a friend. She needed to embrace it as a gift and learn from its simple beauty.
Kelly arrived that evening. She brought with her light and joy and peace and Kelly’s words brought calm to her heart. She also brought physical gifts; a religious icon and a book written by Petrea King, a survivor of leukaemia. The three adults chatted comfortably into the late hours and this was just the therapy she needed. Meditation would be part of Kelly's next visit. Tonight they all needed sleep!
She was enjoying her book and checked the clock to see if she had time to begin the next chapter. She did. She turned the page; Chapter 4: Meditation. This was a chapter she most definitely wanted to read.
The author promoted the benefits of meditation and reading such positive outcomes was a further message that she must change her ways and begin a meditation practice. She made a silent and definite commitment to buy Petrea’s guided meditation on CD when she went out with Annie. She located the store in her mind’s eye and told herself she would tell Annie of her plans immediately to firm her commitment and to ensure she did not forget. As she read on about the benefits and practice of meditation she realised that there was nothing stopping her from meditating right then and there. She had another guided meditation CD that would suffice until she bought the replacement. But, she kept reading. Procrastination was another habit of hers.
When she heard the postie’s motorbike a few minutes later she renewed her commitment to take action. She promised herself that she would finish the remaining pages in the chapter, go out and check the letterbox and then meditate for a few minutes before Annie arrived. Checking the letterbox would break the reading, and provide a reason to get up from the comfortable lounge room couch. She opened the door and slowly walked down the concrete path leading to the letterbox.
Being sick had certainly changed the contents of her letterbox. The bills were still there, unfortunately, but the cards and letters were outnumbering the windowed envelopes these days. She was delighted to have the support of so many. She placed her hand in the concrete compartment and withdrew the contents. The writing on each envelope was familiar and she accurately guessed the senders. The small white package was also addressed to her but the handwriting was not familiar. She was curious. She hurried back inside, sat back on the couch and opened the package. There was a letter from Angela. Who was Angela?
Angela's letter introduced herself as a former work colleague of her mother. She was writing to say that although they had never met, she was sorry to hear of her illness and wondered if the enclosed gift would help to bring her peace in the turbulent months of treatment that were to follow. She sent her wishes for recovery. And there it sat; a Petrea King meditation CD.
Synchronicity! She had named her desire and Spirit had responded! This gift was especially for her. She felt blessed and protected, enveloped in love. It was clear to her that meditation was essential for her on this journey to wellness. Bursting with excitement at this unfolding of events she searched the telephone directory for a phone number to speak to her mother’s friend. She needed to tell Angela that her gift was unexpected but so exquisitely perfect.
Has Spirit responded to your needs in unexpected and perfect ways?