Predators pounce once an obituary is printed. Thieves strike while the family is at the funeral. Long- lost relatives show up in time for the reading of the will, and self-proclaimed Psychics contact the dearly departed – for a price. After being widowed once before, I knew about these dangers, however, I did not expect to be approached by one of my acquaintances.
Belinda insisted. “You’ve got to come.”
“I just don't know. I don't believe in it and I am not comfortable with the idea.”
"Marie, Joan’s a Christian and this isn’t something she does for profit or for the general public. It’s a gift she shares only when inspired to do so. She tells me she has something very important to tell you. Please, come.”
“I don’t know...”
“Just come. If you are too uncomfortable, make some excuse and leave."
“Meet us at Marvin’s Café at noon.”
Joan spoke first, “I’m usually very conservative with my dress, but this morning I had my manucurist paint my nails this color. It was very important you see it. ”
Her nails were royal blue.
I shook my head. “Other than blue being my favorite color, it holds no significance."
“Trust me, it will. Now, Marie, bear with me. I see things - people who have passed on.”
My eyebrows shot up, along with my guard.
“No, no. Don’t think that way. Just listen. There are two men here with a black dog.”
The room cooled by several degrees. Joan knew about my husbands, but she did not know about Iger. Only close family knew the story behind his death.
Two days before Shannon passed away, I went out to the kennel to feed the dogs. Iger, snarling and growling, threw his body against the chain link. The whole kennel shook. Freda, our Bernese-St. Bernard mix, cowered in the corner. I stepped back and Iger settled down.
Speaking softly I re-approached the kennel. Iger again exploded into a blur of black hair, barred teeth and deafening snarls. I retreated back into the house and called our vet. The diagnosis: a brain tumor - the same disease taking my husband.
Using bits of hamburger laced with a strong sedative, the vet tranquilized Iger, then entered the kennel and administered the euthanasia.
I said nothing to Joan or Belinda.
“Marie, one man tells me he liked your hair better before. The other disagrees. He likes it the way it is.”
The chill in the room fell by several more degrees. Ron liked my hair very short and I kept it that way for the seventeen years we were married. After his death, I grew it out. Shannon preferred the longer length.
“The second man wants you to stop focusing on his mouth. He wasn’t as uncomfortable as you thought. In fact, he was rarely in his body. He spent most of the time standing by the clock.”
The world went a little hazy. Joan had never been to my home and there was no way she could know about the clock. It was an old fashioned pendulum that hung in the living room just opposite of the hospital bed.
After Shannon slipped into a coma, the Hospice nurse had given me instructions to to swab his mouth with a moist pad several times a day. I struggled with the technique and felt I had failed. I told no one.
Reeling with uncertainty and doubt, I asked. “Is the clock is running or stopped?”
Joan did not hesitate. “Stopped.”
Granted, Joan had a fifty-fifty chance of guessing the correct answer, but I didn't believe she gussed. No one knew why the clock wasn't running. Friends and family assumed I hadn’t bothered to wind it, when in truth, the rhythmic sound of the pendulum bothered Shannon after his surgery, and he asked me to stop it.
Joan continued, “By the way, the answer to your question is 1 Peter 3:1.”
“Question? I have absolutely no idea what question you’re talking about.”
“You’ll know when you read it. Do you have a pen? I’ll write it down for you.”
I pulled my pen from my purse.
Both Belinda and Joan gasped.
“Marie, look at the color.”
It was the same color as Joan’s nails.
I shrugged. “Shannon and I had matching pens. I don’t see any significance to that.”
“As I have already said, this color will be significant to another question you have. Now, there is one more thing...”
I didn’t want to hear anything else.
“...I’ve seen the man you are to be with. He carries a star, so I assume he’s a police officer, a very distinguished looking man of high integrity, and he is left handed.”
I didn't speak. I couldn't. Two days prior to our lunch, friends introduced me to Bill. He fit Joan’s description in every detail: a sergeant with the Sheriff’s department, left handed, a gentleman, attractive - a man highly regarded by his peers.
I went straight home from the restaurant, grabbed my bible and looked up the scripture. I did know the question.
1 Peter 3: 1:
In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives.
Thirty-five years on the police force left Bill scarred and jaded. Religion was at the top of his skeptic list. I had been wondering why God would pair me with a man who did not share my faith - if Bill was indeed the companion I would grow old with in health.
Months later, when Bill proposed, besides vowing to love and cherish me all the days of his life, he also promised to support my faith. In turn I vowed to never to preach or push.
Now, nine years later, Bill not only supports my wish to attend Church, he asks about the sermon and the service. He admits he prays and concedes he has seen miracles since we have been together. This year’s Valentine card read: You are my Gift from God. Last night, he asked to read my blog.
As to the Royal Blue color, several months after the lunch meeting, I discovered Bill had a matching pen – three identical pens. The significance? I don' know. Neither do I know how to explain my meeting with Joan, except, God sometimes uses unusual circumstances to place emphasis on His message. Well, it works.