I don’t get visions or voices. I get synchronicities, virtually every day, often several in a day. I write them down in my diary and I study them as my own personal revelations. I have learned their language. A couple of weeks ago in Relief Society, during a lesson on how we receive messages from the Holy Ghost, I got up and said that I think there are many ways such inspiration comes, one of them being the little magical moments of meaningful coincidence, or “synchronicity,” as psychologist Carl Jung called it.
I like the explanation given by author Frank Joseph:
[Synchronicities] are our own miracles and revelations that ground us in the Creator, and guide us in developing a reverence for and comprehension of the creation. Synchronicity is religion without dogma, wherein all are free to draw their own conclusions from personal experience. Each man is his own priest; each woman, her own priestess.
I have even written a book about some of my own synchronicitiy stories, Embracing Coincidence (originally titled Consider the Butterfly). Here’s one that came fairly recently that still warms me.
I had spent a couple of hours that morning weeping in the family room over family issues. The darkness felt very thick. Wanting something to keep me from sliding down further and further, I decided to watch Il Divo, the great Italian quartet, singing “Amazing Grace” on You Tube. Many times I had found that experience moving and lifting. Minutes after the song finished, the phone rang. It was my former daughter-in-law Terri, telling me that her grandmother had passed away and that there would be a graveside service at which my son Aaron and their two daughters were to sing “Amazing Grace.” Yes, this is how it works, I reminded myself: so often at very difficult times there comes a coincidence, just a touch of grace, a little hint that something fine is going on behind the scenes, a hint that is just enough to give me the will to get up and try again.
The next day was Sunday. I woke up again experiencing waves of sorrow. As I lay in bed, searching for solace, I recalled the synchronicity of the day before. Terri of all people had been the one to deliver the second moment of grace. Despite their failed marriage and Terri being vastly different from me, I knew that she had come with hidden gifts. I recalled that she gave me the little copper chapel music box that is on the mantle in the family room. I hadn’t really looked at it for years. What was the tune it played? A memory half formed. I got out of bed, went down to the family room, picked up the little chapel music box, wound it up and sat on the couch to listen. High, quick tinkling sounds, an unmistakable melody. “Amazing grace…how sweet the sound…that saved a wretch like me…” There it was, the comforting, inspiring song I reached out for yesterday and received twice, now for the third time. And here was the most lovely message of all–I can not only ask for amazing grace and receive it–I own amazing grace. In fact amazing grace was here all the time, here in the same room in which I had shed so many tears the morning before. Amazing grace had been just an arm’s length away, and I had never even known it!
The first thing I did that morning was to go downstairs and have a small, private worship service featuring the tinkling sound of “Amazing Grace.” Then I got dressed and went to church. The speaker was one of the sisters in the ward I had admired but not known well, Tonya Isom. “Our theme of the month is, ‘…for we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do.’” She gave an excellent talk about “all we can do,” positioning it well and without guilt. Then she said, “Now to the grace part. I think sometimes in our church we take credit for so many things instead of just allowing that ‘amazing grace’ to pour out on us.” I smiled. Ah, layer upon layer of grace coming my way!
“And now, if you will allow me, I am going to sing the rest of my talk.” And she sang acapella– “Amazing grace…how sweet the sound…that saved a wretch like me…” Right there in Sacrament Meeting! I couldn’t remember ever hearing that song, that very protestant song, sung in an LDS Church service.
Meaning? An hour earlier I had heard it from a tiny copper music box chapel in my own home–and now here it was in my own Mormon chapel, a place in which I find both nourishment and pain. There is grace, I think in all chapels! In every chapel where love is there is grace.
That evening I was not surprised when I picked up the novel Rozan had loaned to me and read the title: A Thread of Grace.
The following day a final thread appeared in this delicious development. My son Aaron called to ask me if I had the most well known version of “Amazing Grace,” which he needed for the memorial service. He read me the version he had found, which had some verses he hadn’t heard before, verses that I didn’t know either, that I had heard only the day before when Tonya sang them.
It goes on and on, this tapestry we weave with the Divine that moves in and out, going from the seen to the unseen, letting us know that behind it all are threads that connect everything. In those several days, I had been blessed to glimpse some wonderful things. If I ask for grace, I will receive even more than I ask for…grace not only visits me, but I own it, even when I forget that I do…grace is in the same room in which I cry, there for the touching…grace is found in chapel after chapel, certainly in my own…and there are more verses to the song of grace than I have any idea.
–Carol Lynn Pearson (http://www.clpearson.com/)