f we simply pay attention to all that happens to us throughout the day, we will be astounded by the love and care given to us every moment. But if we don’t pay attention, we can easily miss the sometimes disguised touch of the angels.
The other day was a perfect example. Joyce and I had just received not just one, but three communications of bad news. On top of that, we couldn’t even take our beloved walks together, special times where we can process most anything. Joyce’s knee pain prevented her from walking, so she had to get her daily exercise biking or swimming. I would have loved to join her, but our three goldens would be too disappointed. The walks are the highlight of their day.
So I set out with a distinct heaviness to my gait. I brought my iPod and headphones with me. Usually music can lift my spirits. I typically turn “shuffle” on, so that tiny little computer chip inside the iPod chooses songs at random. I also know my iPod “shuffle” delivers just the right songs that I need most, so I paid attention.
The first song to come on was Dean Martin singing “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head.” The first lines were too depressing, and I almost fast-forwarded to the next “random” selection. I didn’t want any more bad news to come into my life.
Of course I could’ve listened to these beginning lines differently. California is at this moment suffering the worst drought in recorded history. I could’ve said, “Yeah, let the raindrops come … lots of them!” But that’s not what the song is about.
I realized I never really listened to all the words of the song. Yes, it starts out depressing, but then it changes. The divine message comes later in the song:
“But there's one thing I know.
The blues he sends to meet me, won't defeat me.
It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me.
Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red.
Crying's not for me
Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free.
Nothing's worrying me.”
The song ended and I hit pause to reflect. No, I won’t be defeated by bad news raindrops. I’m free! I can choose love at any time.
I hit the play button, curious about what Divine Love would bring me next. It was none other than Johnny Nash singing “I Can See Clearly Now.”
“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.
I think I can make it now, the pain is gone.
All of the bad feelings have disappeared.
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.
Look all around, there’s nothin’ but blue skies.
Look straight ahead, nothin’ but blue skies.”
Wow! I had to hit pause again to integrate this second song. Could the Heavenly DJ have picked a better song? I don’t think so. All the obstacles, the dark clouds, the bad feelings have no power over me. If I really look inside myself, there is the peace I seek. “Nothin’ but blue skies.” Okay, maybe not for California literally, but you know what I mean.
I took my iPod out of my pocket to hold it in my hand. These two songs were really enough proof of God’s existence. But … now I was really curious about the next song in this “random” progression.
I reverently touched the play button and the Beatles started singing, “Here Comes the Sun.” I guess it had to be all about weather.
“Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter.
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here.
Here comes the sun…
…Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces.
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right. Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…”
Amazing! Three in a row! Mine is a small iPod, but I still have over 800 songs, and these, as far as I know, are the only ones using weather as a metaphor. Do the math. The odds of these three songs being put together in this order are extremely small. But divine miracles don’t know anything about mathematical odds. A very high intelligence simply knew I needed a very clear and compelling message.
Yes, “it’s all right!” Now the smile was returning to my face. From “raindrops,” to “blue skies,” to “sun,” I’m “still free.” “Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for.” The real Creator of these songs wanted to eliminate all my doubt about the essential goodness of life.
Yes, there will be pain and suffering in this world. Let all of it teach us greater compassion. There is a great spiritual practice: Breathe in the pain, breathe out the love. Try it. Breathe in the pain, not only yours, but also the world’s. Breathe it into your heart where it becomes transmuted into love. Then breathe out that love, making your own unique heavenly contribution to the world. You could look at it as divine recycling of energy.
Do I dare tempt God. I stared at my iPod. Could there be a fourth song? There was a part of me that wanted to extend the miracle, that thought more would be better, but I felt I didn’t need a fourth song. Three was plenty. Message sufficiently delivered.
I pushed play anyway. It was some oldies rock song with no mention of the weather, and lyrics that didn’t seem to have much meaning, overt or hidden. I turned off my iPod. I didn’t need it anymore. Three communications of bad news were made right by three perfectly-timed songs.
I resumed walking and noticed a distinct lightness to my step.
Risk to Be Healed: The Heart of Personal and Relationship Growth
by Joyce & Barry Vissell.
"In this book, Joyce & Barry offer the priceless gift of their own experience with relationship, commitment, vulnerability, and loss, along with the profound guide to healing that comes from the core of their being and blesses us with gentle wisdom."
- Gayle & Hugh Prather
Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA. They are widely regarded as among the world's top experts on conscious relationship and personal growth. They are the authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk To Be Healed, The Heart’s Wisdom, Meant To Be, and A Mother’s Final Gift. Here are a few opportunities to bring more love and growth into your life, at the following events led by Barry and Joyce Vissell: Oct 10-16, 2018—Assisi Retreat, Italy; Feb 10-17, 2019 — Hawaii Couples Retreat on the Big Island; and Jul 21-26, 2019—Shared Heart Summer Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon. For further information on counseling sessions by phone or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at SharedHeart.org.
To Really Love a Woman
by Barry and Joyce Vissell.
How does a woman really need to be loved? How can her partner help to bring out her deepest passion, her sensuality, her creativity, her dreams, her joy, and at the same time allow her to feel safe, accepted and appreciated? This book gives tools to the readers to more deeply honor their partners. Although these writings refer mostly to heterosexual women and men, there is a wealth of information for LGBTQ. Our focus, after all, is how to deeply love another person, whether it be a man or a woman.
To Really Love a Man
by Joyce and Barry Vissell.
How does a man really need to be loved? How can his partner help to bring out his sensitivity, his emotions, his strength, his fire, and at the same time allow him to feel respected, secure, and acknowledged? This book gives tools to the readers to more deeply honor their partners. Although these writings refer mostly to heterosexual women and men, there is a wealth of information for LGBTQ. Our focus, after all, is how to deeply love another person, whether it be a man or a woman.
Listen to a radio interview with Joyce and Barry Vissell: Relationship as Conscious Path