I’d like to talk to you about holy synchronicity as Caroline Myss calls it. I’d like to tell you one small story of mine, that was a moment in my life where I received a miracle and that years on I refer to as holy grace. I’d like to share this story, because I believe we all so easily forget this holy grace, that pours down on us throughout our lives, that we so often don’t notice or take for granted and more than ever in these times of darkness now, is crucially important to remember.
Sometimes this holy grace comes in unexpected packages, which I refer to as brutal grace, because we are being stripped away of what is no longer needed, which is the teaching of Kali the goddess. The famous song Amazing Grace speaks to me deeply and is particularly relevant to me in my life because amazing grace, truly, really did save a wretch like me. I was blind and now, thanks to grace, I really do see.
So this is the short story of one holy moment in my life, one specific miracle where I put out a desperate, begging prayer and where I was immediately answered with exactly what I needed. This is one precious moment that was part of my journey back to divine sovereignty, after a very, very long time away from ‘home’.
I am driving from my house in Newton Ferrers, a sleepy village in Devon and going up the first section of this steep hill, but slower than normal, as on this rare occasion, I am forced to pull over on the side of this narrow lane, behind the car in front of me.
This particular morning I am in deep despair, feeling so hopeless and broken, I can no longer prevent unbearable grief from breaking through. I am literally wailing, the floodgates have opened, tears streaming down my face, most likely because I am going to see one of my special healers, hoping for some support and guidance. There is safety in knowing, that before long I will have someone I can share and be with, instead of endless days alone in a beautiful house, but feeling so bereft, sick and lonely, I no longer know what the purpose of my dreary existence is.
Not only do I have a horrific debilitating illness which has destroyed my life for so many years, preventing me from doing all the things I love, forcing me to live in a very basic and compromised lifestyle, but also my world has continued to collapse around me. I have lost everything. I am shattered from the losses that keep coming one after the other, like I’m an onion being stripped away right down to my core. I am estranged from my parents and brother as part of an attempt to save my life, but it’s still a huge wrench and spiritual emergency to have no family of origin around me, to say nothing of what keeps emerging in flashbacks, nightmares, somatic memories and much else.
Beyond this, I’m empty and devastated from a painful divorce that has taken three years and where in the process I lose my son, who is only twelve to live with his father and his new, younger woman, close by in a neighbouring village. I’m still in shock with this unexpected outcome and still dealing with this unfinished business and a mother’s pain so deep, I cannot bear to go there.
Then my beautiful daughter leaves home to go to university far away and my beloved dog Archie dies a painful death with epilepsy and a brain tumour and I’m forced to give up my boy dog Joffie, who is behaving dangerously with other dogs, such that I cannot handle these repeated incidents.
It’s all too much. Suddenly I find myself screaming uncontrollably, while I’m waiting to move forward up this steep lane from my village. I’m like Neale Donald Walsh, when he angrily screamed at God hoping for an answer, only to end up writing his famous book Conversations with God. I equally want to know why my life is so unbearable, having been such a successful and happily married mother of two beautiful children.
How do I find myself in this absolutely horrific place with nothing left? What is it all about? Why am I being so punished ?
Because this is what it truly feels like.
In this one moment, I’m literally shouting out aloud in my car,
“what do you fucking want from me, I can’t take it anymore. I want to know what the purpose of all this personal and spiritual growth is and everything crashing around me. Tell me what this is all about because it’s way too much. Help me please. Help me.”
I can barely see out of my eyes, tears streaming down my face, my nose full of snot, choked up with emotion, but I look up to see the number plate just a few feet in front of my car, as the car in front begins to pull away up the lane.
And I receive my answer clear as daylight. The number plate has my name on it. I kid you not. It’s missing an I but is more than clear. HLARY shouts back at me and I cannot deny the synchronicity and answer. For a moment I am both confused and wildly excited at the same time. I totally get the message because only the night before, I have been reading a quote by Gerard Manley Hopkins, when he responded about what he thought was the meaning of his life, saying, “I am, for this reason I came”.
I am therefore not immune to miss this clear revelation of my own life, given how far from myself I have been and how dis-ease has come as my initiation wake up and my greatest teacher. I know that my journey to stand my ground is a metaphor for my own life, as for years I was not able to walk on my own two legs, as I lay in bed debilitated and exhausted. Sometimes I could stand, but mostly they would crumble underneath me, just as they did when I crashed back in bed age 39, losing every role I had overnight and moving in a flash from superwoman to wretch.
So yes, I get the message on the number plate, the letters Hilary are so huge, it’s impossible not to see this sign emblazoned right in front of me, with my own name, only seconds after my desperate cry for help. It’s already happened to me twice before, when, at the very moment I was yelling at God to tell me when if ever I would be free of M.E./Chronic Fatigue, a medium sized lorry passes on the other side of the road, with the words M.E. HEAL in large letters on top of the cabbie. Both times when I screamed out, were years apart, and within one second the very same lorry passes by.
What is that about if not a direct answer, a miracle response?
So, today in the depths of my sadness, I receive the message once again and just as when this lorry passed by with some guy called Michael Edward Heal who obviously was the owner, this time, it would have had no more effect on me, if a full blown angel had sat on the bonnet on my car and shouted my name, directly at me to make me wake up to the deep purpose of my life.
In a matter of seconds, I shift from feeling hopeless, to once again standing tall, committing to myself to continue on this often excruciating journey of going within, reclaiming fragmented, lost, broken parts of myself, my inner child with all the deep, early developmental trauma that I have been processing, from my early childhood and even before. I am tired to my bones and my name on the numberplate, this is the fuel, the motivation to keep going.
It’s a cosmic wake up call here and now. I know I am in some kind of spiritual emergency period, a dark night’s of the soul and I am being shocked awake, not because I am being punished, but because I am to return to myself, to the little child within who gave up hope a long time ago. She is my true healer, she is the one I have been waiting for. She is the one calling me to live more fully.
Equally, I also have this cultural and family voice in my head, making it abundantly clear, that I don’t matter, that my raison d’être, my purpose in life is to serve others, so this cosmic answer to my prayer, goes against this deeply engrained, codependent and toxic, patriarchal belief system that says it is selfish to care for oneself.
Somehow in this holy moment of grace, this divine response is way, way stronger than these indoctrinating, limiting beliefs and the voices of my brutal inner critic and inner patriarch. This higher wisdom doesn’t just whisper in my ears, it reigns down from above and inscribes the answer onto the number plate in front of me, so that I can have absolutely no doubt whatsoever.
Years later I will hear Caroline Mess explain what a miracle is, when she shares a nun’s description of it being when God bends the laws of nature just for you. This is surely it.
I am distilling this holy medicine. This is not cologne. This is perfume and it goes the distance, is lodged deep in my heart. I never forget these precious holy moments, which feel like my intimate and direct conversation with Hilary and with the divine – which may actually be the same thing?