Greetings my friends. This is the fourth in a series of recent posts in which I have discussed the fact that you do not have to posses extraordinary psychic abilities in order to observe the presence of Spirit in your life. I have given some examples of experiences in my own life that support my belief that I receive help and guidance from Benevolent Spirit, on some occasions as an apparent result of a prayerful request, and, on others, without any awareness of having made such a request. In either case, Spirit helps us in times of need when we are acting in accord with God’s Love. In this fourth installment, I want to share an experience which left no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I was receiving help from an angelic source to an extraordinary degree.
This incident occurred during a period of considerable hardship, during the 15-year span of time in which I had been the sole caregiver for my then wife (now deceased), who had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 1999 and who passed away near the end of 2013. I learned many lessons of a spiritual nature during that time, but this is the only one I will mention now: Despite these many hardships , I was continually supported by a loving God, a Benevolent Spirit, in more ways that I can describe or even know. But here is one that I do know, one for which I am enormously and forever grateful.
In the year 2003, my then wife could no longer safely stay at home while I continued my work at the University of North Alabama. She needed my full-time attention. So I resigned and began a life which became increasingly isolated. We lived a minimum of eight miles from the nearest shopping center and I made trips in for groceries very sparingly. I spent most of my days at home. Though I did not realize it, I needed a caregiver of my own. But I am blessed to be in the company of Benevolent Spirit and , in answer to my great need, a caregiver did appear— in the form of a sweet and loving little dog.
He first appeared as a stray, standing squarely in front of my car when I pulled into the parking lot at the Killen Post Office. When I first saw him, I said to myself, “Oh no, I do not need another dog.” I was already feeding a stray dog who stayed around the house and had another in the house who was aging but whom I loved very much. So I drove around the little dog who had stood in front of my car, telling myself that someone else would see him and take him into their care. But when I rolled down my car window to place my letter in the drop box, I saw that he had followed me. There stood the little dog, now beside the drop box, looking up at me, his eyes pleading for me to take him home. I pulled slowly away, still determined to leave him–but that was already becoming difficult. I drove up to the exit adjacent to the four lanes of heavy traffic. I could feel myself giving in to my deeper emotions. I could not resist looking in the rearview mirror to see where the little dog had gone. He was behind my car, staring at me through the back window. No, I could not leave him there. He would likely be killed in the traffic. He needed my help. I did not want him. That was not the point. He needed my help.
I got out of the car and picked him up. A man in a truck drove into the lot, peered over at me and rolled down his window. I held the little dog up in my hands and asked, “Do you want this dog?” No he didn’t. I drove through the neighborhood next to the post office. I asked if anyone had seen this dog. No they had not. I went back to the post office and left my name and number in case someone came looking for him. I drove home and placed an ad in the newspaper, hoping someone had lost the dog and would want him back. All of my efforts to turn the dog over to someone else failed.
As days passed I knew the dog was mine and that I would have to take care of him. I named him Post Office Dog. I eventually shortened it to P.O.D., then to Little P. I had not wanted him. But I took him anyway. Now, I love Little P as much as anyone can love anything. I did not know how much I needed Little P. But I know it now. Neither did I know what a graphic spiritual lesson his presence would eventually bestow.
It was on a cool winter night that I had consented to let Little P sleep outside. Because he was so small, I let him sleep inside most nights but I mistakenly thought it would do no harm to let him stay out since he was enjoying the company of the outside dogs so much. When I opened the back door the next morning, Little P was not there. He did not respond to my calls. I began to worry. I hoped he would return by evening, but he did not. It was the next morning before I found out why.
Little P was lying against the back door, a quivering ball of bloody fur, puncture wounds and gashes on his neck and down his back. If he had been hit by a car, he would not have sustained those deep puncture wounds. Something had attacked him. Living in a genuinely rural area, I regularly encounter coyotes, hunting dogs, and strays of all sizes. I do not know what attacked him, though I suspect it was the two large pit bulls that regularly lunged at passing cars on the blacktop nearby.
A good friend drove us to the vet’s. As the vet examined him, I wanted to confirm my initial assumption that Little P had not been hit by a car. “No,” the vet replied, “these are puncture wounds caused by large teeth biting deep into his muscle.” The injuries were even more extensive than I had realized. The vet further discovered that one of his hind legs had been chewed so badly that the bones were splintered. No way to fix that. His hind leg hung loosely, attached only by the skin and muscle that remained. His lower jaw was broken completely in two all the way across. He could not close his mouth. It now had a hinge where a hinge was not supposed to be. Even if he recovered, how could he eat? I really had no idea. Little P was in such bad shape that the vet recommended he be put to sleep. I was both physically and emotionally distressed. I could not think clearly. I responded with emotional reflex, “No. I did not bring my dog here to be put to sleep.” The vet offered a compromise: His leg should be amputated. Otherwise, it will drag the ground and become infected. My answer was again, “No.”
I asked the vet to give me some antibiotics and painkillers and I took Little P home. I do not argue that my decision was rational. I do not argue that it was even the best thing for Little P. I did not know that I had been engaged in a great lesson whose significance is much greater than any lesson in logic or rationality. It was a lesson from Spirit. I knew only that I loved my little dog and that my only recourse was prayer. I could do nothing else.
I prayed that God would have mercy on Little P and on me. We were now both suffering intensely. I prayed, not once or twice a day, but every time I looked at him. Because I had need of help as a caregiver even before Little P had been attacked, I had already read much about the help Archangel Raphael was said to give caregivers and to those who are in need of care. I had prayed for that help before. And so I again appealed to Raphael, who serves us as an agent of God’s love.
Yet I feared that my decision had not been wise. Did I only prolong Little P’s agony? Could his broken jaw and leg heal when neither was given any bandage or brace to give them support? I was praying for a miracle. It felt as though my prayers were unreasonable. I was asking too much.
The vet had done nothing to set his broken jaw; nothing to position his leg so that it could heal without dragging the ground. But as the months passed, Little P got better. His jaw healed. He learned to walk with only one hind leg. I was filled with boundless joy when, for the first time since his injuries, he followed me out to the pasture, just as he used to do, and put his nose against the crack in the barn door, impatiently waiting for me to open it. As if giving me final proof of his recovery, as soon as I opened the door he leapt a foot off the ground through the narrow opening and into the feed shed. He scurried across the floor on his three good legs, trying to catch a mouse! I said a prayer of thanks and felt much relief in my heart.
As I marveled at Little P’s recovery, I began to pray another prayer, for a sign that it was in truth Raphael who was helping me. I apologized for wanting a sign. I shouldn’t need one. The sign that I received is in the picture which accompanies this post.
The morning immediately after I had prayed for a sign of Raphael’s help, I had placed a body-length pillow, about four feet in length, beside the hospital bed in my bedroom. I had set it there in preparation for changing the bedclothes. At the time I had set it there, I did not see an image nor did it even cross my mind that an image could or would appear on the pillow. At the time I took this picture, I had gone to the other side of the room and , for no particular reason, glanced over toward the bed and was shocked by what I saw, the stern image of a Guardian Spirit whose presence I had often felt but whose visage I had never before been shown.
I ran for my camera and took several pictures. I did not adjust the pillow in any way before taking the pictures. I realized that there would be those who would not believe me, so I was very careful not to alter the picture, not even to bring it into sharper focus or give it greater contrast. The picture you see is a reproduction of the image as it was recorded by the camera.
There will be those who believe that the picture is simply a fraud. There will be others who conclude that the image is an artifact of random or accidental creases in the pillow, having no relationship to any message or confirmation from Spirit. Some will point out that it is quite common to see faces in clouds or other objects in nature that are the result of our ability to see things that are meaningful to us in otherwise meaningless patterns.
My reply? This image is far too detailed and anatomically well-proportioned to have appeared by accident. It’s having appeared in very close proximity to my having prayed for a sign makes the odds that it is an accident even smaller. I do not need the opinion of anyone else. I base my beliefs on my own experiences and this experience is sufficient to remove all doubt in my mind. I prayed for help from Spirit and I received a result that is nothing short of miraculous. I prayed for a sign that I had received this help and I got it.
I offer this picture and this account to anyone for whom it may benefit. To everyone else, I offer my sympathy.