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These are not the kind of goosebumps you get from watching horror movies or from telling ghost stories around a campfire. These are the confirmations of incidents in your life that seem bizarre, that defy deductive, scientific reasoning. When you are in trouble and you've just uttered the words,
"God help me," and the fire truck appears. When, lost and alone, you've wondered if there was anyone who cared for you at all, and you literally bump into someone at Starbucks and your life is changed forever. These are the times you get goosebumps.
Goosebumps are, after all, the knowledge that the divine is at hand. I once heard that the Gypsies said goosebumps were angels' breath across your skin. Or maybe the saying was
"angels breathing down your neck." For good or ill, to let us know we're safe or to advise us of wrong choices, goosebumps help to move us back onto our divine path. They are instrumental, but only insofar as we pay attention.
Life is meant to be understood. Life is not mysterious. There are explanations for everything that happens in our lives. The problem with divine interventions is that the angels aren't punching a clock. They have no time reference. Sometimes it's hours or days or years before we finally
"get it." One of the reasons for our being so slow on the uptake is that we don't explain our actions and efforts in spiritual terms. How easily we pass off the divine as
"coincidence" or "mistakes" or "unexplained."
There is always an explanation, if we are willing to look deeply enough for the answer. It takes courage to want to know the future. It takes courage to accept our own pasts. It takes faith to believe that we are all worthy of divine love.
I hope that by sharing these stories with you, enlightenment will fill your eyes and heart. And the next time you feel the hairs on the back of your neck rising to attention, stop and ask yourself if what you're doing is part of your divine path. If someone relates a story to you and goosebumps spring up across your forearms, that is confirmation of the truth. Use those goosebumps, along with your gut feelings, hunches and twinges at your heartstrings, to know when to trust and who to trust. When you've said your prayers and the heavens did not open up and lay the answer out in script for you to read, remember to listen with your inner ear to the words of your loved ones around you. Listen to the suddenly familiar song on the radio whose title might be the answer to your prayer.
You're being contacted every day and every night. But are you watching? Trust that your guardian angels are guiding you, every step of the way.
Grandma Manning's Faith Healer
Crestview, Florida, 1949
My brother Ed was born on January 23, 1949. My parents were thrilled to have a son. Though he looked like a healthy baby, Ed was sick. An inexplicable fever dogged him. He screamed in pain night and day. His belly was so swollen and distended it looked like a tent over his body. Worst of all, his stools were golf-ball sized, white as ash and often bloody. It was a horrible test of wills for my mother caring for him. She rocked him day and night, never complaining about his screaming, though never able to quiet him either. My mother became emaciated living on no sleep and continual fear. Impending death shrouded our home and little family.
My father drove my mother and Ed from one doctor to another looking for a cure, looking for the test result that would calm their fears. The barrage of tests was endless and when they all proved inconclusive, he took Ed to South Bend Children's Clinic, still in search of answers.
The doctor was beating around the bush. Finally, my father could take no more. He stood up and said,
"Don't tell me this boy is going to die. I've had five doctors tell me that, and if you say that I'm going to knock you right out of this five-story window! He's not going to die! He's going to live and grow up. And he's going to be great!
"The doctor hung his head.
"I don't know what to tell you. All I can do is wish you luck."
My father took my mother and baby Ed and stormed out of the pediatrician's office.
My mother was exhausted and beyond hope.
When my parents got home my mother checked the mail and found a letter from my grandmother.
"What does she say?" my father asked.
"I had asked her to come to Indiana to help me out with Cathy while I take care of Ed. But unfortunately, she doesn't think she would be much help." Mother read on, her eyes getting wider.
"Frank, she says she has a housekeeper who is a faith healer and that she truly believes in Mrs. McLaughlin's gift." My mother dropped the letter in her lap and looked expectantly at my father.
"Do you think she could really help us?"
"Do I?" My father took my mother's hand.
My father drove us all from La Porte, Indiana, to Crestview, Florida, in less than twenty-four hours, driving straight through. Because the doctor had prescribed sedatives for Ed, the baby slept. So did my mother and I. We knew we were safe in my father's determined hands.
The following day after our arrival, my mother and Mrs. McLaughlin were in the yard hanging the wash on the clothesline.
From the second Ed woke up, his screams were blood-curdling.
"My God!" Mrs. McLaughlin said, looking at my mother. "Dorothy, what's wrong with your baby?
"Tears filled my mother's eyes.
"The doctors tell us he's going to die.
"The woman shook her head vehemently. "That baby's not goin' to die.
"Mrs. McLaughlin immediately went into the house, took Ed out of his crib and put him on the bed. His belly was so distended he looked as if he'd pop. He was scalding crimson and burning up.
The woman laid her hands on Eddie's belly and began praying.
"Lord, deliver the devil out of this child. Lord, Lord, deliver this child."
She began chanting. Squeezing her eyes shut, she knelt on the floor next to the bed, never taking her hands off the baby's belly. She prayed aloud and as she did, she shook her head. Hairpins flew out of her gray hair until it came tumbling down past her waist, but she didn't seem to notice. She just kept praying and chanting.
"Lord, Lord, deliver this child.
"My mother didn't know what to think. She'd prayed so much herself, she couldn't imagine this woman's prayers being any different or stronger than her own. Still my mother prayed along. As did my grandmother. My father knelt in the doorway, crying and praying.
"Lord, Lord, deliver this child," we all prayed.
Miracles are such tiny things when they are occurring. Sometimes people don't see them at all. Sometimes they deny they ever happened in the first place. It makes them more comfortable to tell themselves that some things just can't be explained.
But no one has to explain to me that while Mrs. McLaughlin prayed over my baby brother, his distended belly went down, inch upon inch, until it was flat as a pancake. His fever broke. The heat dissipated. The trickles of perspiration on his body evaporated. His screams were silenced. He was calm. He was healed.
No one has to tell me there is any other explanation than the one that is.
"The Lord has today delivered unto us a child."
Sometimes it is in retrospect that we realize all miracles are large, indeed.
Today, my brother Ed is the Associate Professor and Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Surgery at Michigan State University. He is making miracles for other people every day.
(c)2001. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Angel
Watch by Catherine Lanigan. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: HCI, 3201 SW
15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.