“[We] are going about [our lives] in [their] normal course, and then suddenly beauty strikes. Some sight or experience renders [us] dumb with wonder.”
— David Brooks
Annunciations are announcements, declarative signals that something new is on the way. Annunciations invite us to let go and unfold.
When I read The Second Story Mountain, by David Brooks, a conservative political and cultural commentator who writes for the New York Times, I was delighted that he described annunciations as “beauty strikes.”
I made a list of fourteen annunciations I recognized in my life. Some presaged immediate change, but many pointed to threads and patterns that re-presented again and again. The thunderclap of wonder that followed these strikes, lifted my courage to travel in the direction they pointed, sometimes fearsome.
Mountains were one such thread. “These are the Great Smoky Mountains, Linda,” my Dad said, awe in his voice. “Aren’t they something?”
I was ten, and we had pulled into an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. All around us the bluish grey Appalachian Mountains undulated in a sultry display of layered smoky curves. They merged with a petal soft morning sky in hues of periwinkle, coral, and butter yellow. Dad had let me stand on a small brick wall; his arm curved around my waist to protect me from falling. I leaned against him and enjoyed the feeling of his warmth and strength at my back.
I swear it was so quiet I could hear butterfly wings. Wrapped in the fragrance of green, the skyward rejoicing of trees, and the majesty of the mountains, I was swamped with delight and love. Beauty struck.
“Daddy, someday I am going to live in these mountains,” I said. I turned to look up at him, determined, sure and full of wonder. He caught my eye and nodded.
The warp and woof of a thread had been annunciated. It tugged at my heart whenever I was near mountains. And, when the time was right, I moved into the Appalachians of West Virginia, leaving behind an urban way of life. I embraced mountain beauty for twenty-five years. Until the next annunciation invited me to step away with grace and move forward.
Smoke and Mirrors
We are in the smoke of cataclysmic change. The earth is on fire. Our politics are screwed up. Social structures, many of them built on quicksand and treachery, are collapsing. A public health crisis has altered life and brought death. Our collective way of life has been disrupted. We are moving through a hall of mirrors. It’s daunting and anxiety-provoking for most.
But Annunciations ARE happening. I’m aware of them. Clients are seeing them. Energy is pushing us out of our sleepwalks. Dreams are resurfacing. Longings are assaulting our rational sensibilities. The call of our hearts is loud. The whisper of our souls is insistent. Ready or not, here comes a new age, by hook or by crook. Resistance brings fear and pain. Acceptance invites hope, not for outcome, but for the way through.
Annunciations are auspicious, sometimes in ways we can’t initially glimpse or understand. They are part mystery. Responding to them takes a leap of faith, a YES. We can say NO and most probably do, at least for a while.
As she peered into my mouth, a young woman, her eyes covered by weird-looking magnifying glasses told me a story about going to a career fair at age seven, where she felt drawn by energy to a dentist’s learning station. The dentist handed her a long, slender silver tool with a crooked mirror on the end. As she touched the tool, a bolt, a visceral shock, travelled up her arm. Her call to be a dentist was annunciated.
Her family discouraged her from pursuing a career that involved working in people’s mouths; they found that distasteful. She got a doctorate in pharmacy instead.
Years later she sat at a computer working as a pharmaceutical scientist, in a haze of boredom. Beauty struck in the form of a sudden, blistering sharp memory of the day the electrical charge of a dental tool had pointed to a career. This time, her heart spoke a firm and clear, “YES.” She pushed her chair away from the desk; she quit her job. Once she tugged the familiar thread, the spool unfolded through dental school and beyond.
Annunciations offer hope. Hope that we’re guided, no matter what. Hope that we’ll make it, no matter what. Hope because we can follow a simple WAY – walking through chaos, darkness and uncertainty our steps lit by the flashes of beauty strikes, our resolve strengthened by the wonder claps that affirm our path.
It’s a way that trumps worry and fretfulness by a long shot.
Copyright 2020, Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.
Illustration: Annunciation by Gabi Kiss, courtesy of iStockPhoto
Dr. Linda Sandel Pettit, a priestess-at-heart and retired counseling psychologist, can be found at www.thedrspettit.com. Linda loves putting her intuitive nature, spiritual understanding and clinical experience in service to others. She is available for both short and longer-term on-line consultations. For information about fees and packages, visit BOOK NOW. For more information or fee assistance, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.