Thursday, August 28, 2008

Do You Believe?


A few weeks ago, I had the honor of participating in my brother’s wedding, as an usher. Why not best man, you ask? Been there and done that—let’s just say we both agreed that another best man selection was in order this time around, given the unfortunate results of my bro’s first wedding.

I have mentioned in previous posts (and videos) that this celebration was thrown together in a short period of time due to medical circumstances that I will not elaborate on in this post. Let me just say that in little more than a month’s time, my brother and his amazing bride created a memorable, spectacular, and emotional event that had the look and feel of years of planning.

But something else occurred that day, an event that borders on the otherworldly, hints at Divine Intervention, and whispers of miracle.

Now do I have your attention?

My father was taken from our family way too early—gone from this earth in his mid-50’s, the victim of heavy cigarette and alcohol addictions that left him gasping for breath through emphysema-ravaged lungs. His death changed my life. It was not long after he died that I took control of my own self-destructive habits and turned my life around. But this post is not about my life, it is about my father…and how he may have attended my brother’s wedding.

After days of worrying about the possibility of rain ruining things, the day turned out to be spectacular—a vital factor for an outdoor wedding. The venue was stunning: one of the oldest hotels on a scenic island in the littlest state in the Union. With the shimmering bay and majestic bridge as a backdrop, the wedding party stood excited and ready before hundreds of well-wishers. Dark clouds rolled in, but not to dampen the spirit of the day, but instead arrived to offer a protective canopy of shade from the harsh sun.

I was relaxed, content, happy to be standing beside my brother, enjoying the ceremony, offering an occasional glance at family and friends in the crowd. Everything was going well, everything was normal…when overhead I heard the drone of an engine, barely noticeable at first, then gradually building in intensity. Being on public display, I didn’t want to disrupt the ceremony with any overt actions or gestures, but as the noise built and it became obvious what was causing it—a jet, seemingly from out of nowhere, buzzing the quietude—I couldn’t help myself.

I surreptitiously canted my head and caught sight of the plane as it burst through a gray cloud and soared into a sea of blue, the sun glinting off one wing, which seemed to tilt just as my eyes made contact with it.

As the jet motored across the partially cloudy sky, and the words of the wedding ceremony sang in my ears, an almost surreal sensation overcame me—Dad! That was my father in that jet plane! A sad and satisfied smile tugged at the corners of my mouth and, as the plane’s engines sounds began to fade into the background, I returned my focus and attention back to the wedding.

My father flew jets in the Navy. He was one of those brave pilots who land on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean. When he left the service, he flew small prop planes. (One of my biggest childhood thrills was going up in one of those planes and my dad allowing me to “co-pilot” the aircraft.)

A few hours into the wedding reception, I ran into my uncle, my father’s brother. He asked if I had noticed the jet flying over during the ceremony. In a flash, the image of that plane, and all those strange sensations associated with its sudden appearance at my brother’s wedding, came rushing back to me. I told my uncle I had seen it, why?

“I thought of your father,” he said. “In fact, I thought it was your father.”

An eerie chill sent my flesh vibrating.

“So did I,” I told him.

We looked at each other, both of us realizing the absurdity of our wishful thinking, while sharing a secret smile of hope and dreams and faith that perhaps it was not so far-fetched after all.

“Because,” my uncle added, “this is not a normal flyover route, you know. And there was no air traffic before the wedding and none since that jet. Strange, huh?”

You don’t know the half of it.

Much later on that long and happy day, in the wee hours of the morning, I reiterated to my brother my conversation with our uncle, as well as my own observations about that lone jet. He said he’d not noticed the jet, but was elated to think that it could have been dad. In fact, he said he had no doubt that it must have our father. (Of course, he had been partying a bit.) Then he added this bombshell: his new bride’s father (also no longer of this world) also flew jets! It was not only our dad in that ethereal plane, but her father too.

As my brother rushed off, jubilation and awe painting his over-celebrated face, to share this revelation with this new bride, I sat back and reflected on the day…on that moment.

Was it real?

Did it happen?

Was it only a jet gliding overhead, oblivious to the events below?

Or was it…?

Because, after all, what is faith but the belief in something we are unable to prove exists.

Think about it.

peace,

Mike

38 comments:

maggie said...

I have goosebumps while I was reading your post, actually I have it up until now.

wildcatsthree said...

What a wonderful story; it brought tiers to my eyes. I believe those kinds of things do happen, as our loved ones that have passed are always watching over us from above. And the fact that both fathers had flown jets is just too much of a coincidence.

Brandi Magill said...

The perfect end to a wonderful day. I'm happy to hear that the wedding went so well.

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

Great story, and yes, your father was at that wedding. You are his son, his blood. You thought of him at the right exact moment for a reason.

This post was well written. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. My father died of cancer too, after being on oxygen for eight long years.

He was an ex-smoker and did not take care of himself. It came back to get him in the end.

Urban Panther said...

My sister died at the age of 21. Sadly, my dad was the only one able to attend the funeral (long story). My sister was adopted. She was full Chippewa. As my dad was driving away from the funeral, on a long lonely stretch of British Columbia highway, a crow flew right in front of him, down the centre lane for a substantial period of time (much longer than normal bird behaviour). My dad KNEW it was my sister.

Thanks for sharing that. It was a beautiful story.

Frame Set said...

beautiful blog, greetings from italy!
Many thanks for the recent view. Wish you great blogging time!!
Hi Dino!

Sarah said...

i have tears streaming down my face and no doubt in my mind or heart that it was him because you know he wouldn't have missed that wedding for anything in this world or the next. --sarah jean

Jena Isle said...

I'm thinking about it Mike, and I therefore conclude that strange things happen in this world that we can't explain, or that even science can't explain. That is where the cliche' truth is stranger than fiction comes from.

My attention was totally riveted on your post. When I was reading this post, I can almost imagine. Very well written. Thanks for sharing.

betchai said...

thanks for sharing, it is a wonderful story. made me think, and also believe that unusual things like this one happen with a great reason.

MizFit said...

SO POWERFUL.

kRiZ cPEc said...

nice post. Will come to read again to understand it better.

Kathy said...

I have chills and goosebumps all over! I'm a firm believer that the ones we love remind us they're always with us in spirit. Blessings for the happy couple and I'm glad everything went off without a hitch.

M.d Tabish Faraz said...

As a heavy smoker myself who has started to think of quitting, I find myself more determent of quitting smoking after reading this beautiful post.

Let me tell you that this particular post has multiple level of depths in it which reflects the brilliant talent of the writer. I absolutely loved the true story. Many thanks for sharing it, mate.

Shilpan said...

Mike, This was a fabulous read and surely an eye opening one for all of us. I'm glad that wedding went well.

ettarose said...

No doubt in my mind who was in that plane. Beautiful

Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

Goosebumps! :) Great story.

Rick Vaughn said...

Interesting story, its funny how the small things can mean so much to us. My friend is getting married next week I hope for surreal moments like you had.

Mike Foster said...

Wow, thank you all very much for the wonderful feedback on a post that is very special to me.

Maggie--I had a few when I wrote it

Wildcatsthree--amazing coincidence, huh?

Brandi--thanks for the kind words

Paul--I feel that both our father's died to make us stronger and to learn from them

Panther--That is another amazing incident that makes me believe this stuff is real

Frame Set--Hi Dino, thanks for the visit

Sarah--I am deeply moved by your reaction...peace

Jena Isle--I believe in the unexplained and that truth is quite often stranger than fiction

betchai--good point--reason

Mizfit--it was a powerful and emotional day

Kriz--thanks

Kathy--the spiritual is strong...if you believe

M.d. Tabish Faraz--it would make me (and my dad) very happy if you did quit...oh, and you, too!

Shilpan--very kind words from a very inspirational man, thanks

ettarose--thanks, appreciate it

Laura--very glad you enjoyed it

Rick--marriage is an emotional time...surreal things seem to happen

Diana Young, RD, LD, CDE said...

Hi Mike,
I love this post. My twin brother and I never met or knew about each other. 5 months after his death we connected. I know that I know he reached me from the grave. I definitely became very aware of his presence. Anyway, I'll stop now. I don't won't anyone to think I have lost my mind.

Kayla said...

Beautiful story indeed and very well written. Thanks for sharing it!

Kelly said...

No doubt it was them. What a wonderful story to add to the special day. Our loved ones are always with us when it is important.

~Kelly
http://www.30somethingandsearching.today.com/

Theresa said...

You may not have proof that it exists, but also have no proof that it doesn't. I read somewhere, and it may have been the Dalai Llama that said, "Do you believe the invisible is there?" "Of course I do. It's invisible, isn't it?"

Almost Vegetarian said...

I don't know if it is real; in fact, I don't think it even matters if it is real or not. All that matters is that it was real to you.

And if that gives you some comfort or joy, that is enough.

Cheers!

new*me said...

I believe it was the dads too. What a beautiful memory to add to a beautiful day. I got goosebumps when I read. It is so nice that we can feel close to our loved ones even after they are gone.

Jennifer said...

Having experienced something like this -- I hope to capture it in words someday, but that's a difficult task and you've done it beautifully -- I think you experienced a true moment.

AllisWithinBlog said...

A very captivating story indeed. Really enjoyed that,I believe! the magic of faith is what I call it.

Mike Foster said...

Hi Diana--amazing story; very spiritual. It's recollections like these that inspire us to believe even more

Kayla--thanks for the visit

Kelly--nice thoughts--it should feel like our loved ones are always there with us, especially on special days

Theresa--very well put

Almost Vegetarian--realism is in the eye of the believer...

New me--my dad has been gone close to twenty years and I think of him just about every day

Jennifer--it felt as real and true as I described, real or not

All is Within Blog--"The Magic of Faith," I like that. Just may "borrow" it for a blog post someday

peace.
Mike

Lanceman said...

What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing what you experienced. It is a powerful testament to your faith, and to know we are being watched over.

And this gets me to thinking about what is out there beyond what we can see. And it's good to think this way, about what is possible.

*lynne* said...

... goosebumps! :) lovely story, thanks for sharing. I'd like to think they were up there witnessing the joyful union of their offspring.

Catatonic Kid said...

Absolutely beautiful story! Warmed my heart no matter what the 'truth' is =)

Bella said...

Amazing... touching and truly heartfelt. You know what they say about faith? 'Everyone's got it... they just don't always know it.'

Eric S. said...

I believe, why not, especially on a day of such importance. I think of my father on a regular basis, and there have been a number of occasions when I felt I had been "visited"

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

I absolutely believe it was your father and the brides father. There are no coincidences in life and I know our loved ones contact us in ways that they can from the other side. I have had similar experiences and they are such a welcome sign. I am so glad this happened for you!

Mike Foster said...

Lanceman--believing in the "possible" makes things more probable

Lynne--So would I

Catatonic Kid--thanks for your kind words, and glad you dropped by

Bella--love that quote...and thanks!

Eric--maybe we never truly lose touch with those no longer with us? Who knows...

Heidi--through this post, I have found so many people who share these feelings...simply amazing...

peace,
Mike

Faisal Admar said...

I do believe in such thing. This is indeed a good post. I had watery eyes when I read it and smiled at the same time. This reminds me of my grandma who died on the same day I got my pre-college result and I wanted her to see and enjoy the moment. I was in sorrow when she died. My brain stop and my mouth could not say a thing. Every time I see an old lady it would remind me of her. On my sister’s wedding we missed her again and really hope she could join and see the wedding.

What I can say now is… even though they died, they are still with us forever in our mind and our heart. They won’t vanish from both until our last breath.

Regards,
Faisal Admar

Brenda said...

Very compelling! I never know in these cases if those who have passed on can be present in our realities ... or if these stories reflect our subconscious desires. But I'd like to think that love is a bond that can transcend all boundaries even the one between physical and spiritual realms. And, when more than one person shares such an experience as you've recalled here, that gives me hope!

gjp/global said...

I understand my new friend ... I do understand.

My daughter married for the first time several years ago. She has one daughter, my sweet grand daughter, Sophie. She is named after her great grandmother, who my daughter Lisa was close to.

At her wedding, there were many pictures taken. One that was very noticeable was the ones with Sophie and 'the orb'. I cried when I saw them, because I miss that woman very much. When they use the term 'mother-in-law'. I can say I have fond memories of her. She taught me so much.

I understand... I believe in the divine.

Gopal said...

What is in your innermost chamber of your mind is the truth. True, it is your father who passed away nineteen years back, now visible to your mental eyes because of longstanding attachment to the departed soul. Great write-up in deed. Full of sincere and deep feelings of a son towards his deceased dad. Wonderful experience to you.