(Continuation of the first post from Jan. 8th, Part 2 on Jan. 11th and Part 3 on Jan. 17th)
If you are just joining or reading this post for the first time, this is a continuation of my original post on January 8th where I began telling the story of my “Learning 2 Love” updates for 2013. Last year turned out to be quite the year in my spiritual journey but I also experienced an amazing shift in my spirit during a trip to Sedona, AZ. This is Part 4 of my story where I share the completely incredible sign that came my way as I left the resort in October. There simply are no words to explain the lining up of the universe, pieces of the puzzle that came together for what was about to happen in my life. And I truly believe, it was a sign to my calling or at least a calling for now that will lead to something in the future. What I am about to explain (or attempt to explain) is very emotional and I am hoping I give proper credit and justice to what was felt and experienced….here it goes…
It was 4:30am on Monday, dark, chilly and I had not slept much at all. My mind was busy absorbing all the events of the weekend, the treatments, the letting go, the relaxation and my spirit was busy rejoicing that I was finally on the path that was calling me – to be more connected and to find my purpose.
Everyone else was still sleeping as they were all staying until Tuesday but I just could not take another day off work. Trying to be as quiet as possible, I got dressed, gathered my bags, grabbed half a bagel and waited for the concierge golf cart to pick me up. I was on a 5:30am shuttle to the airport. And from the way my shuttle experience went when I arrived, I was honestly expecting the same delay and crazy trip back to the airport. My flight was at Noon and we were only less than two hours away but here I was at 5:30am getting on a shuttle. I imagined a handful of other people all getting on a freezing van for the long ride.
To my surprise, as we pulled up to the front desk, I saw a black sedan waiting for me. I was in total shock. “Is this the shuttle”? I asked. And the staff told me that I was the only one heading to the airport at this hour so I had the car to myself. The driver helped with my bags, introduced himself as Don and off we went.
Now, before I continue with this story, which still amazes me to this day, I also need to explain that both in my life and during the weekend in Sedona it is clear to me that there are signs all around us. Signs of loved ones being near, watching over us, signs of angels guiding us on a path to take or people coming into our lives for a reason – these signs can either be recognized or ignored but either way – they exist! And I have seen them and felt them more than once in my life.
So, on this cold Monday morning, when I got in the car and heard the song that was playing on the radio, my jaw must have hit the floor. My first instinct was to say to myself “Okay Dad, I get it. I am paying attention”. The song on the radio was the theme from the movie “Somewhere in Time”; Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”, which was one of my Dad’s favorite pieces of music and all-time favorite movies. The details of why is another story all in itself that perhaps I will tell someday. But after the weekend I just had, to hear that song playing as soon as I got in the car to leave was really quite unbelievable and was a sign to let me know that he was near…and I was ready.
The driver got in the car and explained the traffic situation and estimated time of arrival at the airport. We started on our way and began chatting about the cold morning, desert weather, etc. I gave him a brief explanation as to why I was visiting the resort which started a discussion about our lives. Don was about the age my Dad would have been now and seemed to contain some of the same qualities I loved so much about him. Later, I would find out why. But I can still remember feeling very close and connected to this person I just met in a strange sort of “I’ve known you forever” feeling. I was comfortable, awake and listening…
I really have no words to convey the intriguing depth of conversation we had aside from giving you word for word dialogue but I will do my best. We started talking about our backgrounds and I mentioned I was a military brat – turned out he was too. And when I mentioned all the places I had lived growing up, well, he had too: Washington, Germany, Missouri and on. How crazy is that? We both were in a little “awe” moment as we saw the similarities in our youth. We talked about how our dads were strict and traditional while pushing us to succeed. Then he asked me about my dad’s military career and I explained he did three tours in Vietnam and all the medals he had earned from Purple Hearts, Meritorious, Bronze Star to Combat, Service, etc. Now, this is where the story gets so shockingly good…I mean really good!
Not only did Don’s childhood resemble mine but take a guess who else’s life he took after? My Dad’s! Don explained that he had been a pilot in Vietnam the same years as my Dad. I couldn’t believe it. That’s when I told him my Dad was a paratrooper for the 173rd & 82nd airborne brigades and guess who flew helicopters for the 173rd & 82nd in Vietnam, yup…Don! Just the thought that he probably flew my Dad back when he was so young gave me goose bumps all over and again as I am typing. We both just kept smiling, laughing and tearing up from time to time about the extraordinary similarities and connections in our lives.
Don spoke of three women he loved in his life and my Dad had three wives. I told stories of my Dad’s heart and how my sister and I had the same parents but we were a mixed family. My dad’s third wife had a son from her first marriage, now my brother, and my other brother was a friend of his that came over for dinner one night and never left – but to my Dad, we were all HIS kids. That’s how he was. And when I told this to Don he smiled and said “sounds like a Motley Crew” – I couldn’t believe what he just said! My Dad used to call us that all the time when all four of us kids were together and being rowdy. When I told Don, he said he had never used those words before in his life but they just “came” to him. “Are you kidding me?” I thought to myself. I mean, if you don’t think my dad had anything to do with Don and me meeting or he was not with us in that car – then I am not doing a good job of describing this story. And it goes on….
I briefly told Don about how my Dad came to marry my stepmom, my dad’s third wife. (and this is a very short version of the whole story but…) They were actually together when I was two when my parents separated but then he was stationed in Germany so he and my mother (full blooded German) got back together. When I was thirteen years old they found each other again and got married when I was fifteen. Then Don asked me “Did your Dad ever see the movie Somewhere in Time?” – ummm…I could not believe he actually asked me this question. I said “YES, it was my Dad’s favorite movie”. I told Don the theme of that movie was playing when I got in the car. I told him it was the same song playing when my stepmom walked down the aisle at their wedding. Don just nodded his head in disbelief and then explained that he named his daughter after the actress portrayed in that movie, McKenna. Wow!!!!! Neither one of us could believe what was happening.
I talked about how my dad retired from the army after 22 years and became a correctional officer at the local jail. I told him how my dad believed inmates still deserved respect as human beings and I think that’s why the they had so much respect for my dad. Now guess how this relates to Don’s life? Well, he had his own experience with the jail system (which you can read about his book “A Matter of Time”). He also spent time working with the correctional facilities in our country and started an organization called “Return to Honor” to help inmates integrate back into society – all geared around this idea of respect and honor – some of my dad’s favorite words and strongest beliefs.
Now, remember my big question I wanted answered on this trip to Sedona? To find my purpose, my calling. And sitting in that car having this heart felt, deeply connected conversation with Don, I got a glimpse of what I am meant to do (at least right now). As I mentioned above, Don was a writer. He was published and hoping to make one of his books into a movie. Then he asked me “have you ever thought about writing a book about your Dad’s life”? Wow…I actually had thought about it. But I really didn’t think I was a writer. I have written poetry here and there but I don’t know how to write a book. And I was telling him all this when he said “the words will come, just start researching about your Dad, ask friends and family to tell you stories and see where it takes you”.
“Okay dad, Okay! I get it” – is all I could say to myself. And the fact that Don was feeling connected to my Dad as well just proved that there is no such as a chance meeting or coincidence. Don even offered to help me in any way he could and to stay in contact with me. I felt so honored and blessed. We continued to talk and more scenarios came up that were just more incredible signs that my Dad was guiding me. This would be way too long a story if I shared them all. But I was blown away again and again.
My heart, my soul was so happy riding in that sedan talking about my Dad and our life. I was almost sad when we arrived at the airport and it was time for me to go. Don said he would help me anyway he could and gave me his business card. He helped with my bags and when he hugged me goodbye I felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear friend. As I walked away a few tears came to my eyes – not of sadness but of the overwhelming love and support I felt from my Dad, my angels and from Don. I stood in the luggage line outside the terminal just recalling our conversation and I was in awe of the universe, God and everything that brought Don and I together that morning. Oooh…Goosebumps again…
Once I was inside the airport, I called one of my dad’s dear friends in San Diego and told her a brief version of this story and she gave me great advice, as always. I have started writing a few pages and find that I have so much to say that I just type and have no idea if the thoughts are leading into anything but the words seem to be coming from somewhere. What is that saying “when the student is ready, a teacher will appear”? Well, I was ready and my teacher was Don and my Dad. I don’t know where it will all end up and I believe I still have way more to do in this life but I simply cannot ignore the calling that morning to write about my dad and I am excited to see where it takes me.
Well…that is the end of my 2013 update. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did experiencing it. My journey in “learning2love” is still happening so I plan to continue this blog and my adventure. I hope you will continue to follow my blog through this year – I have a feeling it will be a doozie!
As an end note, I would just like to say that I was and still am so impressed with Don, his life, his compassion, his heart, his strength and his openness. His book, which I am reading now, is amazing! And I truly believe his organization can have lasting change on so many lives. I am so honored to know him and so blessed he has stayed in contact with me. For more information about Don Kirchner, his book and his organization please visit the sites below.
May you find your calling and truly live it!
About Don Kirchner:
Don Kirchner’s Book: A Matter of Time:
Don Kirchner’s Organization: Return to Honor: