Signs have been on the rise lately, which always makes me feel like things in my life might just be aligning. Just today, while on a drive to go explore up in Cleveland, Mike and I saw at least 5 or 6 signs that related to Drew. The first was at a stop sign. The van in front of us - a Ford Aerostar - had a bumper sticker on it that said “I <3 Flying”.
Now, many of you know, Drew was a helicopter pilot. You might also know that Stars were significant to us… we saw 7 shooting stars the night we decided to start dating. Our initials, were S. T. A. R. No joke. Ever since his death, stars have quite literally been guiding my way. Even to the new love in my life… Mike’s late-wife Megan had, you guessed it, 7 star tattoos. When I first visited their house - it was FILLED with stars. Stars on the walls, stars on the curtains. Stars literally everywhere you looked. I mean you can’t make that stuff up.
So I tend to believe in the signs. It always appears that when I’m on the right track with things in this new life, I seem to see more and more signs from him. I can’t help but feel like he is reaffirming my decisions and direction. The past few weeks it seems, I must be on some kind of right track… because the signs have been plenty.
I’ve ended up following a familiar semi-truck with a big blue star on it down the highway at least a half dozen times in 2 weeks. Today, on the drive up to Cleveland, not only did we see the Aero”star” van with “I <3 Flying” on it, but a block later we passed a street with his last name. Then 10 minutes later, a sign with his first name. And the signs just kept sprinkling through our afternoon. We were in fact on our way to check out a new art center I’d never been to, one that ended up being so inspiring… a place that I will no doubt take some art classes and possibly approach to do an exhibit of my photography down the road.
It’s been a while since I’ve really paid attention to such signs honestly. Life has been busy since well before the Holidays. Mike and I have had some struggles and I’ve felt so stressed in general for months now that I really quit paying attention. But things have been really starting to come together in the past few weeks. Mike and I have been going to a counselor to work on some stuff together - and things feel stronger than ever between us because of that. I’ve started to make a few friends here locally that I have coffee with every few weeks. And one of the biggest things of late, is that I have been pouring my heart and much of my skills and experience as a designer, writer, photographer, and organizer into a non-profit art center near us. They are in much need of a facelift as they undergo some re-structuring, and so a small group of us have jumped on board to help revamp the place.
I can’t quite explain it, but I find myself caring so deeply about the possibility of helping to make this art center something great. They are in a bare bones sort of place right now, but there is so much potential there. For weeks now, I have been designing logo options, mocking up website layouts, brainstorming fundraising ideas, researching POS systems, and showing up to clean and clear out the clutter, dirt, and mess. It’s a slow process. We have no budget - and by “no” I mean literally not even enough to buy some cans of paint right now. It’s taking time to get everyone on the same page enough to make decisions. But I am patient. And I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to get ideas approved, and how to make it all happen on a next-to-nothing budget. Best of all, there are 4 or 5 other people who feel the same way as me, and the shared excitement has been so wonderful.
And so this leads me back to the signs. Because it seems like, ever since Mike and I began to go to counseling, the signs have been returning. That was also around the same time as he and I both started to get involved in helping this art center come back to life. So maybe I can’t ever really know if those signs mean something… but I like to believe they do. I like to believe that he is saying that he’s excited about what I’m involved in, and he thinks it’s where I should be right now. I like to believe he’s excited that Mike and I have been growing a lot together lately, and that we are butted heads less and being a team a lot more. I like to believe he’s telling me to keep on going. Keep on pushing.
It’s odd, but I remember when I decided to move to Ohio, I had this feeling that there would be some really special new opportunities opened up to me. It felt like there were these things waiting for me here in Ohio… projects that I didn’t yet know of, that I would be a part of one day. It’s been a year and a half now, and I really hadn’t seen any proof of such things becoming all that tangible until now. Somehow I feel like this art center is one of those projects that I was being led to. It’s just this feeling inside I can’t explain. Like a knowing.
Another project will be teaching at this art center down the road… and working with people who are grieving to express themselves with creativity. This is definitely something I’ve been looking for the right place to do. So it all is starting to feel like it’s leading somewhere I suppose… and with all the signs recently, I can’t help but feel like he is confirming that.
I love those moments when I do feel like I am tapping into some bigger force. It can be so easy to get derailed from that sometimes - and so hard to find it again. I think I’ve been looking for that for a while now, and maybe finding a piece of it again as I pour myself into helping this little art center be everything that it can be, so that it can go on to spread more art and more creativity and more joy into many more people’s lives for years to come. Whatever is going on lately, I definitely feel that connection.