They say that bad things come in threes, and when they do come we’re seldom prepared to understand why. Which is why you live every day as if it might be your last.
I don’t mean to be glib when I say this, but as I came home Saturday from Jim Morris’s visitation in Troy, I thought of an old joke that comedian Buddy Hackett once shared with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.
Said Hackett, “I’ve been to so many funerals recently I’ve worn out my black pumps. And, I’m not going to replace them. I’ve had enough.”
That’s how I feel after losing two close business colleagues/friends in the past three months, and this week…my uncle, Ross Fulks. Enough is enough. Or is it?
As I was driving home from my uncle’s funeral on Thursday the phone rang in my car, somewhere on route 23 between Waverly and Chillicothe.
“Sonny,” said a soft voice over the speaker. “How are you?”
The voice was a lady, an acquaintance that I made several years ago, and the former spouse of a college friend from Ohio State. He’s since passed away, as has a second husband, and for several years she’s worked as a psychic (and medium) and now lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area.
I’ve never believed in such things, because I was brought up not to. If my dad was living today he would remind me that such things as ascertaining the future are demonic and witchcraft. And I’ve had that very conversation with her.
“I know, I’ve heard it all my life,” she will say. “But it’s a gift that I’ve had since I was a little girl. My aunt used to tell me I had ‘the knowing’.”
And indeed, when she told me earlier in the year that there would come a hard period for me, and predicted that it would come in a matter of weeks, I went to a pastor friend in Ashland, Kentucky and asked his opinion. Witchcraft, I asked, or a true gift?
“Well, there is such a thing as people having unique gifts,” he said. “And I know there are those who do. So I wouldn’t call it witchcraft. But I will add that everything that happens in our lives is known, or predetermined, before we’re actually born. It’s called providence, and if you believe in that there’s no reason to worry or be upset. We can’t understand these things,” he added. “We just have to rest in the assurance that all things work to the good for those who believe.”
Yes, but what to believe? And back to the phone.
“My guides tell me that you’re in a very dark time,” she said. “And I wanted to call and have you know that there are angels watching over you.”
“Well,” I answered, “if bad news come in threes, as they say, the worst must be behind me – an uncle and two good friends.”
There was a pause on the other end, and eery silence.
“Not necessarily,” she added. “It’s not sure it’s over for you. I’m sorry.”
“OK, that’s enough,” I said, frustrated with her as well as with my mood at that moment. “I’ve really had enough information, so thanks and let’s call it a day.”
There was another pause, and then she came back, finally. “I don’t mean to upset. I can’t control these things. But my guides tell me that you don’t like to be surprised – that you deal with things better when you have the chance to prepare. And I can only tell you that there are more distressing days ahead, but you will be fine. An angel is with you.”
We concluded our conversation and she hung up, but my mind did not. Rather, I dwelled on what she had said about not being able to control things that we can’t understand, but instead, be prepared to deal with them.
Life and death has always been that way. Scriptures tell us that our days in this life are numbered like the hairs on our head (Luke 12:7). And as for the sake of providence in life, that’s covered, too, if you read in the book of Isaiah (46:10) – “He has declared the end from the beginning.”
And then, “All things work for the good of them that believe, those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”
These words are sage advice for all of us, actually. And they’re consistent with what the lady caller shared with me…that we cannot control that which is destined to happen. It’s just that some of us see it, or have the instinct for it, BEFORE it happens.
We’ve all been through it, and we’ll all go through it again. We need not dwell on who, or when – none of us – because we know that the unexpected happens every day. And none of us like hearing bad news – about things we can’t control – because we’re humans with selfish human emotions. We don’t want what we don’t like.
But I’ve never been through a time like this summer, though I know that many have, when it seems that it’ll never end.
And I’ve never knowingly had an angel, either. Never thought about needing one. But now…I think I’d like to have some time, or a beverage, with that angel. Selfishly, I’d like to better accept that which I cannot control.
As Larry Gatlin once sung, “I’ve done enough dying today.”