Signs of Hope.

There is nothing like the holiday season's ability to inspire us with joy or fill us with sorrow, practically at the same time. The melody of a familiar Christmas carol, the smell of cookies and pine, and the unpacking of family ornaments all have the potential to whisk our hearts back to happy moments. And it's a wonderful place to linger; memories of a cherished loved one are absolutely the greatest gift we can ever receive and hold dear.

Your loved ones in Spirit are aware of how much they are missed during celebrations, and they wish to make their loving presence known. Family traditions are often carried forward  in honor of a special person who has passed away. If you stop and think about them for a moment, do you realize in doing that, you are sending a "sign" to a loved one in Spirit that YOU are with THEM? 

Have you ever considered that perhaps your loved one is looking for a "sign" from you?  

I'm often asked about specific signs from loved ones who have passed, and the answer is the same for everyone. Whatever makes you think of your loved one and causes you to feel something emotionally or physically in that moment, that's your sign. There are so many ways for a loved one in Spirit to share a loving thought with you. Perhaps you'll see their name printed on a magazine in an odd space, find coins, or hear a special song on the radio as you scan through the channels. I've shared my story many times about my own personal sign from my older brother who passed 19 years ago. For many years, I've been finding paper money in the strangest places, and often in odd amounts. I've had five dollar bills being pushed up in my garden with the daffodils on my birthday in May. Once, I stepped onto a pile of cash in an empty parking lot, $168, the exact amount I needed for a doctor visit that week. It took me a LONG TIME to see the connection: my brother's name is Bill. It's almost embarrassing that I didn't get it sooner !

A few weeks ago I received a spectacular message in the form of two blue jays. I had woken up early that morning, full of excitement to film an episode for a new TV show. (It will be airing in a few months!) As I sat down at my desk with coffee, I was immediately drawn to look out the window into the the garden. There, perched on the fence, were two gorgeous blue jays, yapping and squawking to get my attention. Perhaps it's not uncommon in the Upper Midwest, except that I have never once, in 12 years of living here, seen a blue jay in my neighborhood. With my curiosity piqued, I did an internet search to see what special meaning a blue jay holds in animal lore. This is what I found: "Blue jay people are learning to embrace a more exciting, flamboyant and glamorous life while at the same time fitting in wherever they choose to land. Blue jay arrives onto the scene with beauty, color, energy and commanding attention like royalty or stardom walking on the red carpet."

The perfect message for a day of working on TV! 

My Blue Jay visit inspired me to paint this for a friend. 

My Blue Jay visit inspired me to paint this for a friend. 

The comfort granted through a small sign from a loved one cannot be conveyed in earthly terms. Honestly, I believe it sometimes makes the difference between living a day in peace, and wishing you would have never awakened. We can't know the pain of another, but this time of year we all really need to dig deep and find gentle compassion for the newly-bereaved and for bereaved parents. 

The first few years without a beloved parent present during the holiday celebrations can be very difficult. It's a quandary for those who have been blessed with strong, close, parent-child relationships. No one ever takes a happy moment with a loved one for granted but the truth is, there are some mothers who set the room aglow with their holiday cheer. Those moms who fill every heart with tender joy and every belly with her secret recipes. There's always that crazy cousin or uncle who is life of the party and thrills everyone with his wild stories while the laughter lasts all night long. They are missed terribly at the holidays!

It would be just like that crazy cousin to pull a prank as a sign from Spirit, wouldn't it? Perhaps lights flickering? And your mom might send you a sign in the form of a familiar smell while driving in a closed car. Perhaps a friend will randomly email you a quote that happened to be a favorite of your loved one in Spirit. Keep you heart and eyes open to the many ways you can be touched by love.

We have to keep on, in whatever way we can, and look for those unexpected moments of serendipity that prove we never face a day alone. 

There is another way you can be graced with hope from a loved one without even realizing it's happening. At some point, we all come up against a bad day, when the grief just hurts and the loneliness is overwhelming. We huddle up somewhere safe and alone, and release the tears. Eventually the tears dry up, the tissues run out and we find ourselves getting back to business. It's in those quiet moments that the love of Spirit is flowing directly into your Soul. The power or prayer or intention is unlimited, and you need to know that your loved one is praying for you, thinking about you and sending you all the love in the universe in those moments of despair. So silent is the exchange that you are unaware, but somehow, someway, you found the strength to pick up and try again. It's a gift of grace. 

Above all, be gentle during this season. Be gentle with yourself and everyone you meet. Walk slower, listen more, compromise when you can, forgive, forgive and forgive. Be the gift of love to everyone you encounter. 

©Mollie Morning Star 2014  Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.