So I took to Twitter the other day and asked all you lovely luminaries out there what you were interested in hearing me talk about here on the blog. My dear friend Sky said “strange and mysterious that you’ve seen happen.” For a long time, I sat staring at my screen, wondering what strange and mysterious things I’ve seen happen, or had happen to me.
I think I’ve come up with 4 events now, in groups of 2.
The first group are auditory happenings. Numero uno:
Probably about…oh, 6-8 years ago now, I was living in a lovely little house with my parents in western New York. We lived not too far from a lake, and while we had neighbors, it was a quiet neighborhood. Not too much happened, and that was basically the way we liked it. (I’ll always remember when the tornado came. BUT THAT’S A STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY.)
On this particular day, I was sitting at my computer, probably trying to write something, when all of a sudden I could hear very quiet music coming from somewhere. I stopped typing, stopped moving, tried to identify where the music was coming from. It seemed to be coming from outside, but the trouble was that whenever I would get up to open my window or step outside, the music would stop.
This is a very easy way to convince an author that they’re going insane.
This happened a few times over the course of about a week. I started keeping my phone constantly next to me, desperate for it to start so I could record the sound if just to prove that it was actually happening. I caught it a few times, but nothing loud enough so that anyone could identify what it was. Finally, I got lucky. The second I heard it, I started recording and ran out of the house and walked down the street, toward the lake. Slowly, the music got louder. I finally had a lead.
I got a few houses down and one of my neighbors must have been able to see how confused I was, because he asked if I could hear the music. Yes, I said – what is it? Apparently, the steamboat that lived on our lake had a calliope, and I’d just never heard it before. Quite the anti-climactic answer, but it was nice to have one.
Numero dos: This one takes place much more recently and is significantly less dramatic. Once I moved into my apartment here in Richmond, I was sitting–again–at my computer, and suddenly heard music. Thinking back to the calliope of the Chautauqua Belle, I knew there had to be some kind of answer…but what? It was playing “Camptown Races.” At least I recognized the music.
And then it started “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” I’m fairly certain it was like…June or so. A children’s toy perhaps? But what children lived near me? I couldn’t see anyone outside, or on the neighboring porches.
So I started looking out my porch door every time I heard it, waiting for a clue. And soon enough, I saw it drive by: an ice cream truck. I hadn’t had an ice cream truck in my neighborhood since I was in middle school. How neat. (I never convinced it to stop for me, but ah well.)
On to category two – things which have happened to/around me for which I have no explanation. Given the circumstances of each, I’ve taken to calling them “miracles,” though they’re of the more small and everyday kind. No burning bushes for me.
Number one: When I was about 12 or 13, I was in a confirmation class at my school. Just before the Sunday of our confirmation (the rite of becoming an adult in the church; kinda the successor to baptism) we had a retreat where all of us stayed at the church for the weekend and did…church things. I can’t remember. (My other vivid memory, besides this one, was climbing the clock tower and becoming deathly afraid of heights.) But one of our group (who I’ll call Sarah for the purposes of the blog) got very sick very early on, and wasn’t able to participate in a lot of the activities we were doing.
Being good little learning kids, we’d just had a whole lesson on the various sacraments the Episcopal church had to offer–and one of them was a rite of healing. We asked our teacher if we could give Sarah the rite of healing. She told us to all go sit and pray about it. This wasn’t exactly the forte of a bunch of 13-15 year old kids, but dutifully we did, and at about the same time we all raised our heads and knew that we needed to do it. So we went in search of a priest–who came walking toward us as if sent. (We asked. She wasn’t.) The priest agreed to help us perform the sacrament, and we all held our hands out toward Sarah and prayed for her to feel better. I can’t speak for anyone else, but while I was hopeful, I didn’t really think anything dramatic was going to happen.
We had a short conversation with our priest and our teacher afterward, as they asked us how it felt and what we thought of the whole thing. Then we broke for lunch–and Sarah said she thought she could come with us.
She hadn’t gotten up the whole day. And never felt the need to go back to bed again that weekend.
Number two: Again, this is significantly more recent. Just in the past few months, working at the café has put a tremendous amount of stress on my wrists. Given that I’m a writer and thus sit at the computer all the time and type, combined with my previous job where repetitive wrist motion is the name of the game, my wrists are junk. The café was exacerbating them to a degree I hadn’t dealt with in a very long time, and I ended up with a matching set of wrist braces just to try and get through work.
A group of girls come in with some regularity to have a bible study, and I’ve waited on them a few times. They’re very nice, probably late teens to early twenties, and never need much. One day however, they inquired about my braces, and I told them the story. Nothing dramatic, just sore from over-usage. They were interested in my writing, and we chatted a bit. I thought nothing of it.
Later that night, as they came up to pay their bill, one of them asked if I would be comfortable allowing them to pray for me and my wrists. My father works for a church and I’ve been a member of one for most/all of my life; this didn’t bother me in the slightest. She clarified and asked if they could do it right then. Remembering Sarah and my confirmation class, I said sure. We all lowered our heads, she said a very nice prayer, and they thanked me as they left. Again, I thought nothing of it. I’ve been a little jaded in regards to church and the like recently; I’ll admit I was skeptical.
The next day when I woke up for work, my wrists felt amazing. I chanced it, and didn’t bring my braces with me.
I haven’t worn them since, and have only thought about wearing them once or twice. This was probably a month, month and a half ago now.
I can’t say I have any kind of answer for either of these. I take them as the mysteries they are and I’m happy for it. They’re fantastic stories, and that’s what I live off of. They don’t have the easy answers of my first two stories, but the first two have a bit more drama behind them than the second. It serves as a good reminder to me, however, that no matter how simple the life, there are always stories to be had in them.
We just need to remember to look, and to be open to them.