This afternoon, January 29, 2012 at @4:00PM, I was ordained as a minister through Pathways of Light. This may, and has, come as a shock and a surprise to many people. I have, for the most part, kept this part of my life a secret. The obvious question is, why?
Well, first of all, I considered going into Christian ministry decades ago. Those who know me know I was heavily involved in the evangelical Christian movement for most of my teenage and young adult years. However, I never followed through on that call and subsequently left the fundamentalism of that path far behind me.
However, a few short years ago, I experienced a dramatic turn of events in my life that knocked me sideways. An 8-year marriage that produced a young daughter was suddenly yanked from under me. I felt alone, betrayed, unfairly treated by a legal system rigged against me, financially crippled and I carried a profound sense of guilt and shame to how this was affecting my daughter. Even though I struggled with the rationality of believing in a Higher Power, I turned to God, as I understood Him, for help.
I started devouring books like Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, The Power of Now and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, anything by Wayne Dyer, the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping, etc. Through my readings, the name of a specific book, A Course in Miracles, kept being mentioned or quoted. So I began reading and studying it.
A Course in Miracles is actually a 3-volume set of books consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students and a Manual for Teachers. It is not credited to a specific author. The person who scribed the course, Helen Schucman, claims she received it through the process of an Inner Voice, which she referred to as Jesus. Whether or not this is the biblical Jesus is uncertain, nor do I profess to believe it one way or the other, but Helen did believe it and refused to take credit for the Course's authorship.
What I found in A Course in Miracles has been life changing for me personally. The term "miracles" does not necessarily mean dramatic demonstrations of healing, walking on water or changing water into wine. It describes a miracle as a "change in perception".
So, I began to look for resources to further my understanding of ACIM. It was through this process that I found Pathways of Light, an organization dedicated to helping students understand the Course. They describe themselves as a "church without walls" which I find personally appealing.
Working with my friend and mentor, Rev. Lorraine Merritt, I started taking correspondence courses through Pathways of Light. As I began taking the courses, the more I felt led, inspired and called to also facilitate these courses as Rev. Lorraine had been doing for me. So I decided to continue taking the courses to the eventual conclusion of becoming an Ordained Ministerial Counselor for Pathways of Light.
As I proceeded on this next phase of my life in this new type of ministry, I needed to be certain I was going to follow through with it before I drew any attention to it. So I left announcing it to the timing of the Holy Spirit, or my Inner Wisdom.
That time is now.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Last evening, 1/17/2012, I was driving my daughter Carly home after a quick stop for dinner at Taco Bell in Cherry Hill. We were driving down Mercer Street on our way to get back on to Haddonfield Road. Since the Cherry Hill Police Station is on the same road, I was mindful of the 35 MPH speed limit. Carly was in the back passenger side seat playing on her iPod.
On our approach to the street that would take us back on to Haddonfield Road, we were about ready to cross the intersection of Sherwood Avenue. That is when I noticed on my right a large SUV travelling at a high rate of speed threatening the intersection.
I slammed on the pedal and instantly felt the anti-lock brakes kick in as my car vibrated to a sudden stop. I sat there stunned as I looked to see if I had missed a stop sign on my own side of the road. Cars that were approaching the intersection from Sherwood Avenue hesitated for a moment seeming to wonder why I wasn’t going. As my mind began to process what just happened, or what didn’t happen, I waived the other cars on. Thankfully, no one was behind me.
I didn’t have a stop sign at Mercer Street. The traffic on Sherwood Avenue did. The driver of the large SUV was speeding oblivious to the stop sign and blew right through it. I began to imagine the tragedy that could have occurred. If I was driving just a little bit faster and if I had arrived at the intersection just seconds sooner, the large SUV would have ploughed into Carly’s side of the car crushing her instantly and possibly flipping my car over.
There is no question it would have been a fatal accident. No doubt in my mind at all.
As I proceeded to drive on, I was still in a bit of shock. Carly was listening to her iPod seemingly oblivious to what had just happened. My mind was reeling. We almost died. Carly almost died.
But we didn’t…
It was then that the reality of what didn’t occur also rose to the surface of my thoughts. We didn’t die. Carly didn’t die. We weren’t a few seconds sooner. We weren’t travelling a little bit faster. We were safe. We were alive.
I started to thank God, the Holy Spirit, Divine Love and my Higher Power for protecting us. I asked my daughter to turn down her iPod so I could explain what had just happened. She initially got very quiet, alarmed and upset. But when I reassured her, as I was trying to reassure myself, that we were okay, she told me something that I will never forget.
She said, “I prayed to my guardian angel last night to keep me safe. And I prayed for my guardian angel to keep those who were with me safe.”
The prayers of that little girl were answered for us 1/17/2012 at about 6:20 PM. And I don’t think my life will ever be the same.
When we got home, we spend the night together on the sofa doing her homework and helping her study for a French test. We watched TV and she encouraged me to download an App for my iPod. Expressions of gratitude and thankfulness were on my lips and in my heart and have been ever since.
The next morning when I woke up, I continued to express gratitude to All That Is. I realize and recognize that I have everything I need and I will always be protected and provided for.
Divine Love preserved and saved me that night and allowed me another day of life and breath. Divine Love also protected my daughter and gave her to me again. Divine Love also provided my daughter with the security and protection she needs from her father.
I am so grateful for the Divine Message of Love I received that night.