Do people speak from the other side or do we hear what we want to hear?

I am not a fan of the idea that we get messages “from the other side.” I have always found the idea that people hear voices of the dead real creepy.

And yet, I believe in the Divine and I actually have had personal experiences with messages from what I believe was the spirit. On page 26 of my book “Some People Even Take Them Home” I talk about one of those moments that occurred hours after Jason was born as I ate clam linguine. I wrote: “To this moment I cannot explain the source of my uneasy feeling, but that odd emptiness in my stomach is an overwhelming memory because it was a prelude to one of the most important spiritual moments I have ever experienced and I was totally unprepared. Moments like these do not advertise themselves. They do not send you an advance message to be on guard. They possess you, you do not possess them.”

“The haunting thing about this moment the night of Jason’s birth was that it brought simultaneous thoughts and emotions. I knew with a strange, unequivocal certainty that the ridge on my son’s stomach was bad news, that my fears were completely justified. Yet, at the same time, there was a palpable, comforting presence assuring me everything would work out. Fear and comfort locked in mortal battle, but comfort, with the “Other” on its side, clearly won.”

I have actually been blessed with two other inexplicable interventions from “out there” in my life. My Catholic faith tradition tells me it’s the Holy Spirit. Some people of every faith, and even some non-believers, know that feeling of an “Other” inserting itself into their raggedy, unworthy life. One was job related and the other involved a serious surgery. In each of the three cases I can affix the exact location of the source of the intervener. The one at Jason’s birth was over my left shoulder and it felt very close to my ear. The second intervention was in the same location and the third was out in front of me, to the right.

Despite those very clear experiences I have been quite skeptical when other widows and widowers tell me they have received communications from their spouses. One widow told me about lights flickering in her house and a widower told me he often felt his late wife’s presence with him. I had heard nothing from my wife Jean since her death last June so it was easy to remain polite but skeptical. I had to believe such things were poppycock or I had to believe Jean had just moseyed onto the other side without much thought of me.

Tuesday morning changed all that. I write what follows, not to convince anyone, but to simply share my experience and my belief.

I walked into my office Tuesday and as I do everyday I looked at Jean’s picture on my desk. Tuesday, Jean’s always beautiful smile seared my soul. For a second or four I basked in the power of that smile and I “heard” or perhaps “felt” the words “What you are doing Tim is very good and I am really okay with it.” I wish there was more but there wasn’t.

At that moment a sanguine sense I have only experienced three other times in my life overwhelmed me and I smiled like hell right back at that picture.

I know that some readers are shaking their heads in disbelief and worrying that McGuire has lost it. I am just as sure there are others who have had similar experiences and are nodding their approval and understanding.

Each journey is our own.

Tim J. McGuire is the author of “Some People Even Take Them Home,” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome son and Our Journey to Acceptance.

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