I had a unremarkable childhood as far as spiritual connections go. I grew up in the state of Indiana in the United States, daughter of a professor and a third grade teacher. Intelligence and hard work were valued whereas emotional and spiritual aspects were not. I have no memory of spiritual experiences as a child. I didn’t see spirits, communicate with animals, nor was I aware of anything beyond what my five senses reported. Climbing trees, hiking in the woods, roller skating, bug collecting, voracious reading, and jumping rope consumed my days.
My brother and I attended the Presbyterian church on the other side of the ravine behind our house when forced. I remember playing with Matchbox cars in the back of my Sunday school class, impatient for class to end. While attending The University of Michigan in the late 80’s I became genuinely interested in religion, joining a Methodist church, a choice influenced by a Methodist childhood friend whose family life I envied and admired. I even got baptized there when I was 28. I attended services consistently, joined a Bible study group, and made my life God-centric as best I could while slogging through my doctoral program in chemical engineering. My interest didn’t last, however, because I eventually realized “being good” in the religious sense was just another form of perfectionism for me. Over the ensuing years, as the idea of a divine entity made less and less rational sense to me, I stopped believing in God.
So when I “asked the universe for a change” in 2007, prodded by our financial advisor tired of hearing me complain about how unhappy I was at IBM, I was stunned by what happened. While I was giving my husband a backrub for his knotted back muscles, an ever-present side effect of his rigorous cycling training, I suddenly had the sense I could do something with energy so I lifted my hands off his back, let the energy direct itself, and suddenly all his back muscles relaxed. At the time neither one of us could comprehend what had happened having never heard of such a thing. I hadn’t even been touching him!
My amazement deepened when my husband hyper-extended his knee a few days later, declaring his cycling season over while hobbling around the house. I, for reasons unknown to me, told him I “thought I could do something” and had him sit down on the couch. As I cupped my hands a few inches away from either side of his knee, I felt a white light come down through me and into my hands, its presence so powerful and loving it brought tears to my eyes, and again let the energy do whatever it was doing. When my husband got up from the couch, his pain was gone and he resumed cycling the next day. At this point I was clear “I” hadn’t done it. Suddenly I knew beyond any doubt a force much greater than I was at work in this universe, a force I eventually felt comfortable calling God.
Do you believe in a higher power or divine forces? How did you come to believe or not believe?