In February of 2009 I moved to Los Angeles from New York -- a move prompted by love, work and, of course, the Californian promise of great weather. I awoke on a Tuesday, looked at my brother who was sleeping on an air-mattress on the floor, and announced "I am moving to California." He asked, "When?" "Friday," I replied.
This wasn't an easy trip. I was leaving New York, my career, my family in New Jersey and a sense of East Coast comfort that only a tri-state, East-Coaster would understand. With me I took one suitcase, two towels, two plates, a few utensils and hope, not faith -- I hoped that everything would be alright.
After settling in, about a month later, I acquired a puppy that I named Agent 99 (after Barbara Feldon's character on the famed late '60s TV show GET SMART). 99 is much like the brown-haired beauty that Ms. Feldon portrayed. 99 is curious and funny -- about everything -- she is my little secret agent. And she (99) was the perfect fit to my then-client/best friend (now husband) who is a bit quirky, like Maxwell Smart (Agent 86).
Regularly I would visit the dog park with 99 and, creature of habit that I am, I would find myself in the northwest corner of the park. However, on this particular day, I chose to break my standard OCD positioning and ventured to the southeast corner. I stood there as 99 was investigating her surroundings, sniffing blades of grass and conversing with the other dogs -- getting the latest doggy gossip and updates on latest trends (after all, she is my dog). It was then that a man approached me.
"Good looking" is an understatement. "Magazine-perfect" is more accurate: everything from his hair, to his crisp white v-neck, to his toes -- the man was flawless. He gently took my arm in his hand and said, "I have a message from God for you, may I share it?"
Now you, as the reader, must remember and I must further emphasize, that I am freshly from New York. I am filled with sarcasm, defense walls and cynicism. However, this unidentified guy was so damn refreshing to the eye that I thought, "Sure, I'll humor him..." What does God have to say today? " I thus responded to him as I slowly removed my arm from his hand, "of course."
This is the moment that faith in a higher power entered my life. What he told me, I am still mulling over some eight years later: "God wants you to know he is proud of you. That he is aware of the struggles you are facing, helping a person become well. He is proud of you, but this is not your only path."
At that point my attention became focused. How did he know that my best friend was suffering? How did he know of the challenges I had before me? "God also wants you to know that your miscarriages are just part of your path and that you will have a child." I was both stunned and speechless. It was then that he asked me if I wanted to hear more. With complete relief and belief, I responded, "Yes, please."
The Messenger went on: I would marry my best friend. I was amidst a change in career, and that everything I was doing today would be rewarded. He also told me that I had a hurdle before me that would further change my life. He told me I would become ill -- this last statement I never shared with anyone.
Upon leaving me he simply stated, "Continue to walk with God and everything will be okay."
As he was leaving, his also-perfect wife and doubly-perfect child crossed my path. She stopped and said, "Believe him; this is how we met. He told me of my past, my present and my future and it all was true. Believe him."
The Messenger didn't speak of any religion, or assume any title. He didn't mention others or their beliefs. There was no politics in his prose. There were no pamphlets or religious artifacts to be displayed. He simply gave me a message.
With that I rushed home to call my parents. My parents are of differing religions: My Father is Catholic and my Mother, Jewish. On the first call, my father answered the phone. I repeated the story and he responded, "You've never seen him before? Do you think you will ever see him again? Did he ask for money?" To all of which I responded, "No."
"Then I have no explanation."
Later that day I shared this story with my mother. She responded with the same questions. We discussed the ways that The Messenger could have known about any of the details: possibly a garbage can with un-shredded papers? Maybe a Facebook post? But the items he spoke of were so personal and accurate. Some of the details were years old -- there was just no way. How did this man know of my miscarriages and my desire to get pregnant? How could he be so specific about my caring for another human? Even though I blog, I am quite careful about the information I share with others. His remarks were just too accurate -- and so this changed me.
I am no religious fanatic. Yet I do consider myself "spiritual." I have turned to certain preachers to help guide me through hard times and yes, I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in humanity. And truth be told, if the clarity, detail and foresight in The Messenger's message wasn't so convincing, I wouldn't be sharing this story with you today. Today, I have breast cancer, yet I have faith that everything will be okay. He told me so.