I’d like to share with you one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. What occurred is not something I was looking for, waiting for, nor expecting. I trust this story will give those of you who are seeking something similar some comfort and possible answers. On December 21, 2014, I drove to upstate New York to see a theatrical production directed by my cousin. His name is Gerard. He’s a very talented actor and director. He’s also been like a brother to me. Having a theatre of his own was always a dream. I’m happy to see he’s achieved it. I come from a small but close family. Most of my family has passed. We all loved each other very much.
Just before arriving at the theatre, I decided to stop at a local pharmacy to pick up some batteries for my camera. I parked in the lot of the store and walked up to the door. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly gentlemen walking at a slow, deliberate pace. He obviously had some trouble walking. The bitter cold and strong winds of the morning did not help. I held the door open for him. He smiled and thanked me. As he got closer to me, my jaw dropped. Physically, he was a perfect mirror copy of my deceased Uncle John, also father to my cousin Gerard. I could not believe what I was seeing. I looked carefully again and with a prolonged stare. Was I just tired from the long drive up north?
Uncle John was a high school and college professor. He taught English and History for his entire life. He spoke several classical languages including Latin and Aramaic. In his later years, he wrote and published several books. His family affectionately called him, “Johnny.” He was a quiet, scholarly man.
I was so excited to see Johnny’s doppelganger. The word is often used to identify any person that physically or perhaps even behaviorally resembles another person. I kept asking myself, “Are my eyes playing tricks on me?” Johnny had passed many years ago. This gentleman was the same height and skin tone; same build and posture. And he wore the same clothes my uncle wore; a pair of brown “hush puppy” style shoes, a wool cap, plaid jacket and open-collar dress shirt. He wore metal rimmed glasses and walked with a cane. I was so excited. My heart was pounding. I thought, “It’s Uncle John! He’s come to visit me!” The man nodded at me as he walked through the door. “Thank you”, he smiled.
I quickly purchased the batteries I needed and raced back to the theatre to meet my cousin. By the time I got there, the actors were arriving and preparing for their performance. There was no time to speak with Gerard.
Once the show ended, I ran up to him. “I’ve got to tell you what happened this morning.” I relayed the story to Gerard. He seemed shocked. He looked at me and said, “Today is Johnny’s birthday. I purposely scheduled this performance as a tribute to him.” I stopped breathing for a moment. I took it all in. We both smiled and looked at each other. Gerard said, “It’s just like him to upstage the day!”
Did Johnny wake up in the Spirit world that morning and plant a thought in the head of the man I held the door for? “Go to the pharmacy right now. Wait for my nephew to open the door for you!” While we don’t really know how this was orchestrated, it could not have been better planned or executed.
I thought a great deal about how such a phenomena could occur. I also thought about the great numbers of grieving people I’ve counseled. All I can do is share with you my experience and belief. I know that life continues after so-called death. I know that our departed loved ones are very much here for us. There is a deep longing on most of our parts to communicate with our departed loved ones. We desire to be able to experience their affection, presence and love. I observe that the place where so many get stuck is when we expect our loved ones to communicate with us at a specific time and in a very specific manner. The lesson I learned from this experience is that our loved ones make great efforts to let us know they are well and that they love us. Even in the presence of our grieving, if we can let go of our expectations, we create an opening and fertile ground for communication to happen.
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