This morning, I was reminded to look for signs. Or as it was described so elegantly by a student, look for the yellow roses.
When we are in-sync, connected to our source, signs will appear.
They reinforce our conviction that we are on the right path, or they encourage us to stay the course.
I am reminded of my senior year in college. Following a spiritual experience in Assisi, before the remains of St. Francis, I returned home looking to make a difference. I just wanted to feel what I felt before this great saint.
In taking a theology and art course, we read “Return of the Prodigal Son,” by Henri Nouwen.
The book reflected on Nouwen’s encounter with the famous painting by the artist, Rembrandt.
As I fell in love with this book, and the parable, I had this experience of synchronicity.
The painting kept appearing.
In a student life office, there it was.
On a magazine cover on my kitchen table, it again appeared.
Visiting the room of a mentor and friend, it was framed on his wall (he ended up giving it to me upon graduation which has been on my office wall ever since).
I knew God was speaking to me, and eventually leading me to a path of ministry and service. I was being reminded to be joyful.
It guided me to a masters degree in counseling and eventually ministry with young adults.
The signature moment came during a senior retreat, the only retreat I participated in during college.
There was downtime, so I decided to finish the book.
I sat in this beautiful retreat center in Princeton, New Jersey.
I turned the page and read on page 117:
“God’s Joy can be ours in the midst of it all. It is the joy of belonging to the household of God whose love is stronger than death and who empowers us to be in the world while already belonging to the kingdom of joy. This is the secret of joy in the saints. From St. Anthony of the desert to St. Francis of Assisi to Frere Roger Schultz of Taise, to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, joy has been the ark of the people of the joy.”
There he was St. Francis, on this page in my new favorite book.
And then I looked to my left, and there he was again, this time in the form of a small statue.
St. Francis, and his message of joy kept speaking to me in a time of transition, and at the birth of my life’s mission.
Thirteen years later, I am reminded of this moment in time when God spoke to me through a book, a painting, and a saint.
What are moments when you clearly knew God was speaking to you?
What are those yellow roses that remind you that God is calling you to something more, or simply reminding you of God’s unconditional love for you.