I rarely visit Facebook these days unless I have a specific reason. This weekend, I went on briefly to watch a video that a friend recommended. When I opened up the app on my phone, the first thing that popped up was a post announcing the passing of my beloved friend, Jan, who celebrated her 92nd birthday in November. Her son wrote a beautiful tribute to his mom accompanied by a video taken a few years ago on Christmas morning.
In the video, Jan’s children surprised her with a giant teddy bear that she had seen at Walmart. Apparently, Jan had commented on how adorable and huggable this big stuffed bear looked, never expecting her children to purchase one for her. Well, they did. And the look of sheer delight and surprise on her face followed by a burst of uncontrollable laughter was a delight to watch. What a perfect video to convey the joyful essence of this beautiful soul who touched so many lives.
Jan and I met in 2011 when the leader of my A Course in Miracles study group asked if I would be willing to give her a ride to our meeting. At 80, Jan was still full of life and spunk, but she wasn’t comfortable driving from her home in North Miami to an unfamiliar neighborhood in Miami Beach. Her house wasn’t far from where I lived, so I happily agreed to take her to our meeting. Looking back, I have no doubt this was a divinely orchestrated meeting.
I enjoyed my conversations with Jan during our drive as much as the meeting itself. Not only had she been studying the Course for quite a long time, but she also had lived a very interesting life. I loved listening to her stories and her insights. Eventually, we both realized the study group wasn’t a good fit for either of us, so Jan suggested we meet in her living room on Monday afternoons instead.
What a gift those Monday afternoons turned out to be! I learned so much from her. And I had the honor of introducing Jan to Gary Renard’s book, The Disappearance of the Universe. That’s the book that introduced me to A Course in Miracles. Many Course students credit Gary’s book with helping them simplify and comprehend its often challenging language and concepts. I know I would have been intimidated by the Course had I not read that book first.
Even though Jan was a longtime student, she said Disappearance of the Universe helped her practice the Course on an even deeper level. While sharing something she read that expanded her mind and understanding exponentially, Jan would often say, “John. That really blew my cookie!” I’m smiling as I type these words because I can hear Jan’s voice in my head right now. To this day, I have never heard anyone else use that phrase.
Over a decade later, I still share things I learned from this remarkable woman in my ACIM study groups and with my coaching clients. One of my favorite stories she told was about a time her husband said something that hurt her feelings. Because she was hurt, Jan decided to give him the silent treatment. She went about her business that morning while intentionally avoiding her husband who was reading in the living room.
A few hours passed, and Jan started to feel badly about her decision to disconnect from her husband. She knew it wasn’t the loving choice, so she walked into the living room to apologize. To her surprise, he had no idea what she was talking about. He was so engrossed in his book, that he hadn’t even noticed she was giving him the silent treatment!
They both had a good laugh over this silly misunderstanding. Jan quickly realized the only person suffering that morning was her. It’s one of the ego’s greatest tricks. As the famous Buddhist saying goes: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I love Jan’s story because it demonstrates that so perfectly and humorously.
Life took us in different directions in 2012 when I moved to California, but I will always cherish our time together. I also celebrate Jan’s life and legacy. She touched countless souls during her career as a school teacher, during the years she and her husband volunteered with hospice, and by simply being the presence of joy and peace in the world. I envision a glorious Homecoming Celebration happening in the Light now that Jan is free from her body and reunited with her beloved husband in Spirit.
Blessings of grace and gratitude to you, my miraculous friend. I know our meeting was not an accident. I trust you know your wisdom and light really blew my cookie!
If you’d like to learn more about the unique spiritual thought system that brought Jan and me together, join me any Tuesday evening for our A Course in Miracles study group on Zoom. We have an equal mix of brand-new and longtime students, and, like Jan, we love to laugh while we learn. Please visit the Miracles page on my website for more information.
For a more personal approach on how to use these teachings to create miracles in your life, consider gifting yourself a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions on my website. I love sharing this life-changing path with others. As Oprah Winfrey used to say when introducing Marianne Williamson’s radio show, “A Course in Miracles isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you!”
Until next time, may your days be filled with miracles, blessings, and wonderful friends…
There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.
A Course in Miracles ~ M-3.1:6-7