For those that don’t know me, I am a big believer in ‘signs’ – messages from the afterlife. I’m not sure if they are always direct messages from the afterlife or simply our mind’s ability to process them that way. But either way, I do believe our loved ones can communicate to us after they pass. I have spent many years pondering this theory. I am both a believer in science and a dedicated Catholic who attends church every Sunday so sometimes that can produce mixed messages in my brain with regard to the beginnings of our universe and life on our planet. But either way, everything begins and ends with God. Where we go after we die, however, seems to be a harder concept for me to process.
My Grandfather on my mother’s side spoke to me in my dreams. I believe that 100%. After he passed in 1985, I frequently saw him for over a decade when I fell asleep. He never spoke, but he somehow was able to clearly communicate with me and pass on to me messages which I understood when I woke up. The first one was to tell my mother that he was ok (he had died after a lengthy battle with lung cancer). Other times it was simply to visit or just let me know that he was there and watching over me. Until one night in 1996. I remember the dream as clearly now as if it happened yesterday. I was in the basement of my parents old house. My Grandfather stood at the foot of the stairs and faced me. He ‘spoke’ to me and told me this was his last visit, and he wasn’t going to be able to come any more. He didn’t say why or where he was going. Just that this was the last time I would see him. He then slowly approached me across the basement and ‘walked right through me’ filling me with this immense tingling sensation that I felt throughout my body - so strong and unbelievably powerful that it woke me up and I could still feel it all over my body. True to his word, I never saw my Grandfather in a dream again after that night.
After that day, however, I always felt like I had an inner strength that wasn’t there before. Whether it was to heal more quickly after an illness or more of a sixth sense to avoid traffic accidents – but also, I gained the ability to receive and recognize ‘signs’ from others that passed away. It usually comes in the form of electronic devices like the TV, car radio, computer monitor or lights turning on and off. One day back in 2000, I was watching TV, and the cable box changed channels slowly backward, then forward and returned to the same channel I was watching. I immediately became lightheaded and had to close my eyes until the feeling passed. A half hour later I got a phone call from my mom that my cousin Josie had passed. She had been battling breast cancer and was in the hospital after her condition had taken a turn for the worst. She had passed away a half hour earlier. So it has gone for me all these year since 1996. I don’t always get a sign when someone passes but when I do, it is clear and unmistakable.
My Grandmother passed away one year ago (2011) on April 28. She was my Father’s mother and lived to be 90. Her name was Virginia. I know how this is going to sound - but please bear with me. After she passed, I starting seeing a large number of cars with ‘Virginia’ license plates all around me – and in Northern NJ this was usually quite rare. I don’t remember having ever noticed one before, but I started seeing them everywhere – parked near my church, in front of me on the highway, in front of doctor’s offices, or my daughter’s school – basically everywhere we went. In the past year, we have had hundreds of sightings of Virginia license plates all around NJ. The interesting thing is that most Virginia plates have 3 letters and then 4 numbers - and they almost always start with an X (XJV 9570 for example). Using the letters and numbers, we would sometimes notice interesting coincidences. Combined with the X (which we took to stand for a ‘hug’, the letters sometimes stood for our initials and the numbers sometimes formed a date. In late July last year, we saw a Virginia plate with XTS 8146 – my father’s name is Sal and his birthday is August 1st 1946 (‘Hugs to Sal’?). Not all of the license plates were that clear but many times the initials would match close family member names or the numbers would match birthdays or anniversaries. Once on a business trip, I had a very long drive home (in bad weather) from Pennsylvania. Right at the beginning of the trip, a car with a Virginia plate passed me on my right. I pulled up alongside to see who was driving - and it was an elderly grandmother and her teenage grandson in the front seat. I knew my Grandmother would watch over me for my drive home.
At my Grandmother’s funeral in 2011, I sung “On Eagle’s Wings” for her at her mass. It was one of her favorite songs and she actually requested it before she passed. When my Great Aunt Isabel passed away this past April 2012, my family requested that I sing “On Eagle’s Wings” for her as well. I declined - saying that song was special for me for my grandmother, and I would find a different song. Two days before my Aunt’s funeral, parked in front of my church, was white car with a Virginia license plate. It was one of those nature custom plates with a picture of an eagle in the top left. The numbers on the plate were 6818 – my Aunt’s birthday (June 8th, 1918). I got the message - my Grandmother was giving me permission. I sung on “On Eagle’s Wings” at that funeral for my Aunt and my Grandmother knowing they were watching and listening.
Signs are all around us. I’ve just learned to open myself up and allow them to find me. Give it a try – you may be able to do the same.
We all have heard the famous story passed down from generation to generation of the brave and swashbuckling Sir Robin of Locksley who would swoop down from the trees and relieve the evil rich Normans of their heavy purses and redistribute the wealth to his poor Saxon followers. Hmmmm. Sounds eerily similar to the current behavior and political desires of Liberal Democrats in Washington today. What conclusions can we draw about Robin Hood’s actions and motives - and are comparisons to modern day Liberalism justified?
Questions can be raised regarding Robin Hood’s heroic deeds. Did he keep any of the money or did he distribute 100% of the wealth to the people? After all, he had to fund his activities somehow (to pay for tights for his Merry Men, mutton dinner parties, gifts for Marion, etc)? How did he choose to distribute it? Equally? Each according to their need? And exactly how did he choose who to rob? Just the tax collectors? The oppressive elite noble class? The top 1%? Anyone making over 250k gold pieces?
Luckily, good King Richard the Lion Hearted came back from the Crusades and saved the day, bringing all classes together and an end to the oppression. But what if he didn’t return? What if Robin Hood was forced to continue his outlawing ways? Would he have been able to sustain a thriving peasant economy based solely on Merry Men handouts?
Well, let’s think for a moment about the rich business owning merchant who just got robbed by Robin Hood and his Merry Men. After having his money stolen, wouldn’t a rich business merchant have to raise his prices or collect more taxes to make up for the money that he just lost? Or worse, would this rich merchant be put out of business and stopped from hiring any more workers? After all - who do peasants work for? Other peasants? No - they work for people who can pay their salary, and if Robin Hood was robbing rich hiring merchants from the upper class, he was actually harming the peasants who depended on these rich merchants for jobs and the salaries they were providing.
So, now we have poor unemployed peasants with rich upper class noble employers raising prices and taxes without the ability to hire more of them. So beaten down by class warfare, they become detached from the peasant workforce and completely dependent on Robin and his Merry Men to distribute the free wealth to them on an ongoing basis. What happens when there’s no one left to rob - no free money left? The peasant society collapses.
So the way I see it, since Sir Guy of Gisbourne (the villain in most Robin Hood stories) was sent by the Sheriff of Nottingham to stop the outlaw from stealing from the rich and redistributing the wealth to the poor, he was actually, indirectly, protecting the people from a socialistic society. Now that doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Certainly not the villain of the story. In fact, he sounds like a conservative.
Sir Guy of Gisbourne