Did you ever ask for a sign -- just simple a clue, a wink, a nod, or maybe even just a coincidence that would help you get one step further down the path? Or maybe you didn’t ask for a sign, but nevertheless one jumped out in front of you? This is a story about one of those days.
I now get signs, or communication of some sort, every single day. By no means am I psychic or anything of the sort (or are we all psychic?). I wish that were true. Life would be a lot easier with a direct line to the other side; or at least it seems that way. But this story goes back to a time when I really needed a sign, or just some hope, and I wasn’t accustomed to getting any. Between my desperate state and an unexpected surprise, it made for a rather memorable day. I still count that day as one of my greatest blessings.
It all started on a cold, drizzly day in late fall or early winter in western Wisconsin. Actually, it started well before then, but don’t all of our stories go back further than we care to mention? But this chapter of the story started that cold day.
I drove twelve miles to a state park, coincidentally named Hoffman Hills Recreation Area, as in my last name. Synchronicity was already kicking in. This 700-acre preserve consists primarily of tree-covered rolling hills, with a few wetlands and prairies full of all kinds of tall, beautiful grasses. With the temp in the low 40’s, the drizzle was probably not far from turning into snow; perfect weather for my favorite piece of clothing, a mossy-green Gore-Tex jacket. It was a pullover type with an ample hood that fit well over my stocking hat. The jacket, over the top of a fleece, kept me dry and warm, especially as I was hiking up and down the hills. If only we had a similar jacket to protect us from life.
I had moved to the area a few months earlier, not long after my divorce. Actually, it was her divorce – she was the one who wanted it. I thought getting out of the same town as she might be just what I needed, even though it meant only seeing my two boys every other weekend. In reality, it wasn’t the move I had hoped for as I was working about 70 hours per week for what, at the time, I would have called a narcissistic asshole, but now I would call him “just another pointer in life”. People play the roles that we ask of them. I was so full of anger after the divorce, though, that any change was welcome. I didn’t realize that the nice pay raise I took with the new job would largely go straight to my ex-wife in the form of maintenance and child support. Talk about a kick in the shorts – working twice as hard for less money and not being near my boys. Did I mention my boss?
When I wasn’t working, I was studying A Course in Miracles, which is a pretty intensive course if you are not familiar with it. I was a voracious reader of spiritual books after my divorce. Being raised Catholic, I always had a strong belief in God. I did not understand, however, how a kid could do all the right things in life and end up completely on his face, and not have God show up to help or even give a wink to let me know he was there. You might say I was seeking God out, even though I wasn’t quite sure what I would say when I found Him.
The nice thing about hiking in cold, lousy weather is that you won’t bump into many people. That day, I had all 700 acres to myself...sort of. I don’t know why more people don’t hike in that weather. It’s the most beautiful time of year in the northern states. A stillness covers nature, yet there is a palpable energy. I think a little moisture in the air makes the energy that much stronger. And the smell of the leaves is something you can’t find on a Caribbean Island.
I got out of my Pathfinder and left it alone in the parking lot. After a short flat walk, the trail started to climb as it entered the woods. A thought crossed my mind: “Look for the signs.” Was this a thought? Probably. I had always lived with a busy mind and this was likely just another stray thought being thrown out. I played along, subconsciously hoping it was more than just a thought -- like a true sign or piece of communication -- but that’s all they ever turned out to be in the past so I don’t know why I thought it could be something more this time around. I've yelled out for God, angels, Spirit Guides...hell, even a ghost would do; anyone to acknowledge that there is more to all of this. But nothing ever seemed to come. Maybe it was curiosity, hope, or just nothing else to do, but I decided to follow this particular thought that day. The thought would periodically repeat itself; funny that I say “repeat itself”. Was it repeating itself, or was I?
Anyway, I actually did come to a sign. It was a small sign about a foot and a half tall that said something like: “This is an oak tree... blah, blah, blah.” The kind of sign you expect to see in state parks. Surely this couldn’t be the sign I was looking for. If so, that would be a pretty lousy sense of humor on the part of the Universe. I wasn’t feeling very humorous at this stage in my life. The thought continued, “Look for the sign,” as I continued my walk.
I saw a few more similar signs, pointing out certain points of nature. At this point I had come to the conclusion that my thought of “signs” was just that, another random thought that I tried too hard to believe was something more. I continued walking to the back peak of the park. I had been hiking for about 45 minutes and it had been about 15 minutes since I gave up the thought of signs.
A large observation tower appeared ahead. It was the typical state park tower made of oil-treated lumber similar to railroad tracks. It stood 60 feet tall and there was a large sign at the base of the tower. Could this be the sign?! It was really the last possibility. My excitement spiked as I began to read the name of the tower in bold print at the top of the sign, and then gradually on to what proved to be nothing more than meaningless information, at least as far as my search was concerned. By the time I was done, my hopes had dwindled once again. I couldn’t believe I fell for another one of these tricks of the mind.
But again, I heard the message with more vigor than ever, “Look at the sign!” It was then I noticed a plaque on the ground. One of the contributors to the tower had the last name “Hoffman-Godlove”, which I interpreted as “God loves Hoffman.” I instantly began to cry. In this moment, I knew that I was not alone. I had never heard of anyone having the last name of Godlove. What are the odds that this was the first time?
I climbed to the top of the tower, wiping away my stream of tears. Once there, I stood slightly shaking, taking in this experience and the incredible view above the canopy of trees. My faith had exploded in size; so much so that I figured I could step off the tower and God would take care of me; maybe I could even levitate. Worst case, life had been pretty sucky for much of the past 20 years and I would get to go to heaven. I had become tired of the struggle. My better wisdom came over me, though, and I decided I should be thankful for today’s gift and begin my return journey home.
A never-ending stream of events since has proven to me that we are never alone. Not only that, but there is a loving, joyful, humorous, eager presence that is begging to work with us. We have so much potential and the wisdom they share can make life truly magical. This book is about the life coaching I have received from numerous sources. While we all have our own story, I believe most of the lessons I have learned are applicable to us all. I hope this book can at least point you in the right direction and that you become aware of the love that is available to you and, more importantly, aware of the love that you are.