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Art by: James McNelis
"People" Artist: James McNelis

Believe...one woman's struggle
One Woman's Struggle
by Michele J. Johnson

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Some of my earliest childhood recollections are of imaginary playmates. I fully believed these little "friends" existed, though my parents blamed this thinking on my wild, creative imagination. I also believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, two theories which my parents cultivated and encouraged.

As a child ages, parents and peers encourage "disbelief". It's as if it's okay to believe when you're a child, but as one grows up, it's time to face reality. As I grew older and "wiser", my belief in my invisible playmates and these key holiday figures dissipated, in accordance with facing reality. Yet a twinkle of a thought remained buried deep in my subconscious mind...a thought which told me I should continue to believe and I was right in following my instincts.

This thought became more prevalent recently with a study I've been doing on angels. Do angels exist? How does one contact them? Can they help me in my life?

Of course, they exist! Of course I can contact them, and yes, they'll help me in my life...if I ask and if I... Believe.

As I struggle to understand life, to find some sort of answers between earthly, tangible possessions such as books and tapes and a general consensus of our world's living and breathing inhabitants, I realize the battle of believing may very well be waging inside myself. No one else seems to have a problem accepting or having faith in beings they can't see.

Over 75% of individuals in today's world believe in angels. Testimonies have continuously arisen as to their existence, both in personal and professional lives. The Internet possesses an abundance of believers and those of extreme faith. Children still have imaginary playmates...and they come up with this phenomena all on their own. Families purport to have seen angelic presences, and individuals claim of miracles, things which happened to save them from danger or even death itself. Their answer? "It was my guardian angel."

Hey, I want one, too! "You have one," the books say. "Everyone does. You can communicate with your angel, you just have to open your mind and your heart -- and believe." Believe.

How can such a simple word be so difficult to accomplish? Yet it is -- at least for me.

Manifest...think it enough and it will be...ask the angels for help and support and it will be granted. Really?

It hasn't been yet. The things I've most desired fail to have materialized. I haven't finished my pending manuscripts. Perhaps I don't believe I can. I haven't made a huge success of my business. Perhaps I don't believe in my own success. My marriage isn't perfect and my children aren't either. Perhaps I don't believe I have what it takes to be a good wife and mother.

I've tried to think positive. I've tried to talk to my angels. I pray. But I still wondered...what's with all of this "manifesting" and "angel talk" anyway? Is it real? Should I believe?

A few days ago, the answer finally arrived. It was Super Bowl Sunday, 1998. Just another day on which I'd try to steal a few quiet moments to begin my latest chapter in tomorrow's bestseller. Only first I'd scheduled a trip to the grocery store with the husband and children to do a week's worth of shopping. Next on the agenda were three meals to be fixed, butts to wipe, a house to clean and all of this before I collapse in the chair from sheer exhaustion. My chapter would go unwritten. Again.

Believing in success doesn't do much good for a writer who can't seem to get her pen to the paper. I keep waiting for one of these angelic beings I've been reading about to present about 25 completed manuscript pages to me. But day by day, the blank paper continues to shine brightly as it resides in my printer tray.
Believe? I don't know...

Begrudgingly on this glorious, sunny Sunday, I left for the grocery store with the family in tow. Hubby had the children in his basket. I had the groceries and my purse in the other. Being it was the famous football game day, nothing would do but for us to buy Rotel - the diced kind. The husband has had aspirations of this hot cheese dip for weeks now.

But of course, all of the "diced" cans of Rotel tomatoes were gone. They'd been sucked up off the shelves by members of the community who made it to the store earlier. I sighed. Loudly. Audibly.

Unimpressed with this newest development, I blinked hard as I willed, manifested, and finally cursed the empty shelf in front of my cart, as it remained void of diced Rotel tomatoes.

A thought clicked in my mind. I recalled as we had entered the store, I'd seen a Super Bowl display with beer and chips perched longingly on a teetering set of stair-step shelves. Rotel must be close by!

In order to move fast, I left my husband in charge of the baskets of kids and groceries. As I approached the display, I realized I'd struck gold! Not only was the Rotel present and accounted for, but the Velveeta Cheese adorned the end cap. I grabbed a box of cheese and studied the Rotel cans, looking for the familiar term "diced" on the front of the labels. And then it happened.

I felt a slight shove on my shoulder. Someone was pushing me away from the Rotel! No way! I pushed back, determined to have my turn to reach into the hoards of cans and find my diced tomatoes. I felt the push again. It was a bit firmer this time and the anger began to boil inside me. Aggravated, I turned to find no one there. Not a soul. I frowned, wondering if I'd had enough sleep the night before.

I turned back to the cans and there it was again! Only now the feeling was one of great proportions -- akin to a violent shove. Frustrated and questioning my mental capacity, I grabbed the first can on the shelf and began to walk back to the spot where I'd left my family.

As I walked, my feet started to move as if they were on a storm cloud with a blustering wind beneath, encouraging excessive speed. The aisles blurred as I passed them with an incredible swiftness. I didn't see my husband. I didn't see the carts. I jogged toward where I'd left them.

Suddenly, my husband appeared, stopping a man directly beside me...a man with his hands on my cart and on my purse. I listened, my mind in a fog as the man explained to my husband that he must have grabbed the wrong cart. An uneasy feeling washed over me, giving me a completely different message. I quickly reclaimed my cart, my purse, and my husband.

As we began to move away, I glanced down at my shaking hands. There, between trembling fingers, was a can of Diced Rotel Tomatoes. I placed the can in my cart and I breathed a prayer of thanks.

And right then...at that very moment...I knew who had propelled me back to my cart, where my purse and groceries had been snatched by a bystander. It was my guardian angel! I do have one, just like everyone else. Why it would take an event of almost-theft to get my attention, I don't know. But at that very moment, I became a believer. A full-time believer!

I believe! It's so much easier to say those words now that I've been validated with proof. Ah, ha. Proof. Why is it that so many of us need proof before we believe in something? We didn't when we were children. Is taking a chance entirely too risky? I think back now and wonder -- would it have hurt me in any way to believe before this happened? To really, truly believe, it would have taken only a bit of will-power and the simplicity of making the choice.

It boils down to the world we live in today. People, especially adults, are untrusting, skeptical and cautious. With very good reason, in some cases. The media drops the world's negativity in our lap daily. Bad news, scary situations, and horror stories adorn the front page of each morning paper I receive. Being exposed to this element dampens our ability to take chances, to live a free and full life. Grown women fear for themselves, their children. Is this the way I want to live? No. Not anymore.

The battle inside myself is over. This grocery-store event strengthened my faith in the unknown and affirmed my belief that angels do exist. There are protectors watching over us. The unfortunate circumstance also awakened something in me that's been put to sleep over the past several years...the ability to throw caution to the wind and enjoy each and every moment of my days. I now choose to leave my caution, my skepticism, and my insecurity behind as I go forth each day with a knowledge, a brightness, and a faith I didn't have before. Believe. If I believe, I will never fail.

My battle with my writing still wages on, but I know there will be a glorious morning when I wake up and find 25 manuscript pages resting on my printer. And they'll be the best pages I've ever written. Why? Because I believe they can be.

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Michele J. Johnson
~Author of Marriage 101 & Chocolate Fantasy~
Download these books free at: Petals of Life

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[ Cosmic Connections ] [ Fiction ] [ Non-Fiction ]
[ Opinions ] [ Poetry ] [ Song and Story ]
[ Inspirations ] [ Letters To The Editor ]

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Nonfiction Articles

[ Our History is Our Strength ] [ Dueling Decibels ]
[ Bringing My Father Into Focus ]
[ My Funny Mother ] [ Believe ]
[ The Stages of Self Esteem ] [ Voice ]

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