While reading Expecting Adam by Martha Beck, I had an epiphany of sorts. In her memoir, Beck tells the story of the birth of her second child, a son named Adam, who has Down syndrome. During the gestation period, Beck experiences multiple contacts with a spiritual presence or presences. She calls them “Bunraku puppeteers,” likening them to the black-clad artists who manipulate the life-sized puppets in Bunraku plays in Japan.
Beck’s pregnancy is harrowing, plagued with serious ill health and emotional trauma as she and her husband anticipate the birth of this “imperfect” child. And yet she continues to get loving help and messages from the “puppeteers” and from her unborn son. Her husband also receives guidance from this other realm.
While reading this story, I recalled events in my life that have indicated the presence of benevolent helpers. These helpers seem to form four groups.
- The Nudgers
The Nudgers either insert thoughts of kind action into our minds, or push us to put an idea into action. Particularly when I’m in meditation, I’ll be given a thought that may persist for days until I finally act on the suggestion.
- The Visitors
The Visitors are spirit presences who briefly come into the physical world to assist in a particular situation, often a dangerous one. The best and most recent example in my experience occurred on a warm day last fall.
My husband and I were returning to New Paltz on Albany Post Road. I was driving. After the stop sign at the fork of Albany Post Road and Route 299, I turned right, coming up on Wallkill View Farms. There were many cars in the parking lot, and Route 299 was also busy with traffic. I’m not a speedy driver, so I was probably going about 40 miles per hour when a white car pulled out from the parking lot, directly in front of me. To the right were a fence and rows of parked cars. To the left was the other side of the road. With no time to consider, I slammed on the brakes and swung left into the opposite lane.
A black sporty car was barreling toward us. The driver swerved off the road. It almost felt choreographed. No cars crashed. Shakily, I pulled into the parking lot. The black car came and stopped next to us. The driver was livid. He sputtered and yelled, but I don’t recall his words. I do remember babbling something about angels, either that he was one or one had been present. He made a snarky reply. For me, the sense of presence was strong, and still is.
- The Saints
The Saints are those enlightened souls who have chosen to incarnate and assist us blundering human beings in our lives on planet Earth. I am blessed to have spent time in the loving presence of one of these amazing personages, but that’s another story.
- The Avatars
The Avatars are God incarnate. These are the great leaders. Some, like Jesus, were/are quite prominent, and some have done—and do–their work modestly and quietly.
For Beck, the birth of her son and raising him changed her entire way of being in the world. Her story reinforced my experience that helpers are there if we only open up and let them come in.