The frigid Michigan wind chilled me to the bone as I hugged my inadequate dress coat tighter and hurried through the darkness to my company’s annual Christmas party at a posh hotel.
I hadn’t looked forward to attending this occasion. It was just another obligation- a component of the treadmill life I led. Parties held for the sole purpose of prescribed merriment are particularly fearful occasions for me, and this one simply mirrored my loneliness as I entered the dimly lit ballroom full of chattering couples and shimmering lights.
The entryway table displayed an array of door prizes. I’d never won a door prize before. I’d never won anything in my life and didn’t expect to, but my eyes gravitated to a handmade teddy bear propped in one corner. Instead of the cute cuddly child’s toy one would expect, this bear was particularly ugly, and my attraction to it was unexplainable.
I didn’t want a teddy bear, and there was no room for such an unnecessary item in my cramped apartment, yet I reached out to pick it up. The moment I touched the bear , a stillness welled with me that seemed to dance apart from all the music and the chatter of the party.
As the party goers faded into the background, I was overcome with a feeling of absolute certainty that this teddy bear belonged to me. It can only be explained as an unshakeable knowingness that supported not a shred of doubt, not a molecule of uncertainty, as if the ugly little bear was already mine. Never before have I felt such certainty, such a powerful sense of knowing the outcome of an event before it had unfolded.
Throughout the evening I felt preoccupied by the awe of this experience. I was wondering when the drawing for the door prizes was going to occur so I could receive my teddy bear and leave.
At last the moment arrived as the music stopped and the lights brightened. The emcee began drawing names for the door prizes. As each recipient stepped up to claim his prize, everyone clapped and cheered. Still, the ugly teddy bear remained on the table.
Then I thought I heard my name called and I stood, but it was only after I stood that my name was actually called. And I walked forward to receive the bear that was indeed awarded to me at that moment.
Why had this happened? To have such a powerful knowingness about such an insignificant thing? My sense of awe about winning the bear and hearing my name held an aura of divinity about it.
But why such a waste of divine intervention? The magical encounter faded over time like a dream….I resumed my customary struggle with life that seemed drab, empty, and purposeless, but that experience led me to feel that I needed to pursue a new path to find meaning.
I was alone, lonely, unskilled, unfulfilled and broke. I had prayed to God for guidance before, but now I prayed in earnest, “Please God, I feel trapped here. I want to move to Arizona to be near my son, but I am scared. Should I take the chance without having any clear direction on how to support myself there?” Something inside me shifted, and my inner being began to flood with the identical sense of certainty I’d experienced when I first laid eyes on the teddy bear. I felt a lightness growing from within, and my consciousness became permeated with the secure knowledge that I was moving to Arizona. I knew it as surely as if the move had already been accomplished. It went beyond faith to a knowing.
Without the magic I’d experienced with the teddy bear I would have dismissed this divine guidance. I quit my job the next day, and two weeks later moved to Arizona. There my life bloomed in emotional and spiritual ways.
Today the teddy bear sits high on a shelf overlooking the life my new husband and I share. We have learned to join with God to communicate in a way that heals any challenges or difficulties that arise and to share that love and learning with others.
- When God Spoke to Me – a true story by Georgianne Giese, edited by David Paul Doyle.