Signs and Omens

Posted on 28 December 2011

Thirty-eight Books of the Bible make reference to psychic ability as a gift from the Holy Spirit.  And yet, many Christians, in particular, pooh-pooh clairvoyance as the subterfuge of demons.   Perhaps that is why they are more open to accepting signs or omens from forces they attribute as external, such as angels.

For the uninitiated, signs or omens are portents of danger lurking in the shadows.  Akin to electronic early warning systems, they are designed to keep us, and those around us, safe from harm.  Sometimes, a sign or an omen can also serve as a guidepost along the oft-darkened road of life.

The day before Christmas Eve of this year, I received one of the latter signs.  I was en route to the vet with my beloved older kitty, Gremlin, who had already been examined by three vets — none of whom could put their fingers on the source of her ailment.   As I sat with my husband in the waiting room of the state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, I glanced around, wondering which humans waiting with us might struggle to pay the vet’s bill that day.

The very thought broke my heart; I would sell the blood in my veins to get the proper treatment for Gremlin and I think most humans would do the same for their pets.

The minute we’d entered the practice, I had donated a dozen cans of expensive, prescription cat food back to the on-site pharmacy, for the express purpose of having them gifted to those who could not afford them.  I’d also startled the women behind the pharmacy counter by asking, very quietly, which of the people in the waiting room might have difficulty paying their bill today.  Because they did not know of any single case, I then placed a donation into the clear acrylic box, the box whose coffers were used to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of pets whose humans were in dire economic straits.  Pin no medals on me, for I was simply moved to do so.

Although my donation was larger than the single dollar bills already crammed into the box, I wished to do something more.  If only I hadn’t lost my little purse last fall, I mused, the one with my emergency money.  I’d looked high and low for that little purse, which contained not quite two hundred dollars.

For as long as I can remember, I’d always kept a little emergency stash, for “just in case.”  When I’d lost the purse months earlier, I even went through my trash, not so much for the money but for the purse, which had sentimental value.   It was not in the trash; it was not in one of my other handbags; it was not in my car.  It wasn’t anywhere.

In the car, I’d gone down on my hands and knees, poking under the seats with a coat hanger.  I’d unearthed gum wrappers, a few coins, and an old playbill, but no purse.  I moved the seats and checked the areas covered by them.  I investigated the glove compartment and every pocket in the car.  Nada.   The purse, by the way, was bright orange.  In the shape of a pumpkin, it was sequined and lined in matching orange silk.  It wasn’t an easy thing to lose, as its color was vivid and its little sequins caught and refracted the light.

In the vet’s office, I thought that if I hadn’t lost my purse, I would have emptied it into the clear acrylic box, to help out another pet lover.

We left with bad news about Gremlin, the kind of news you don’t see coming; the kind that leaves you blindsided, shocked, and making deals with God.   Riding home in stunned, silent hell, my husband suddenly said, “By the way, you must have dropped that little orange purse of yours in the car. It’s on the side of the passenger seat next to the console.  You can probably see it from the back seat, where you are with Gremlin.”

In disbelief, I stared at the spot he’d indicated.  I had gone over this car, months ago, with a fine-toothed comb.  There was no way that the purse could have become lodged there, for it was wedged in too deeply and too tightly for even my small fingers to budge.  I could not have put it there if I’d tried.  But there it lay, rammed in, sparkling like a flattened tangerine against the deep gray interior of the car.  Later, I retrieved the purse, but it took both my husband and me working together to dislodge it.  I looked at the liberated purse and knew that something else was at work here, something bigger, something more evolved than me.

If whatever messenger had placed it there had truly wanted me to make the larger donation, it would have allowed me to see the purse as I sat in the back seat en route to the vet, not on the way home.  But, the messenger had waited, perhaps testing my worthiness, until I’d donated the cat food and some cash to a needy pet-lover’s cause.  It was as if whoever had retrieved my lost purse, from literally God knew where, was telling me, “Here is a gift for you.  What was lost is now found.”

In light of Gremlin’s medical condition, I took a deep breath at this sign and paused.  Surely, this had to have been a positive omen that somehow, we could help her.  Three days later, against all odds, we found that our sweet kitty had gained three ounces over the long Christmas weekend.  Three ounces may not sound like much, but when one’s cat has lost three pounds, it’s a small, welcome miracle.  As I write this, my husband is researching homeopathic treatments for our cherished little cat, an avenue we’d never before explored.  So, we are hoping for the best.

Maybe the inexplicable reappearance of the purse was only the angels’ way of reminding me that we are all of us looked after and guided from above, even when we are ailing, even when we are small, non-human creatures.  Maybe it was only meant to bring me some small solace.  Whatever it was, I’m grateful for that sign.

This article will be far too long for the average reader if I cite chapter and verse about every single sign or omen I’ve gotten in my lifetime.  So I’ll just mention one more.

Years ago, basking in the sun at the beach with my family and dozing lightly, a voice in my head ordered me to open my eyes and look straight ahead.  As I did, a tiny, red headed boy toddled across my path, dragging behind him a very small surfboard.  I cast my gaze behind me, thinking to see his parents or grandparents in his wake.  But there was no one on that crowded beach claiming that lone child.

Stunned, I watched him toddle on chubby legs, heading straight for the water.  It was as if the kid was driven.

When you go after that kid and bring him back to the blanket, when you contact the police, the mental devil in my head advised, when they delve into your background, they’ll discover that you cannot have children.  They’ll think you set out to kidnap this child, or that you did away with his parents!  Meanwhile, my mental angel of the New York mouth spat, “The hell with that!  This is a helpless child, for God’s sake! What are you thinking?!?


Immediately, I rose from my chaise lounge, imploring my family’s help.  They only mouthed back at me the very words of my mental devil!  Undeterred, I followed the little boy down to the water’s edge.  We were on a beach to which there was no access unless one paid to enter.  Ergo, there were lifeguards on duty, always … except for that one particular day!

Panic drove the heart up my throat, for I could not swim and the child was inches from the shore.  All around us, children and adults cavorted gleefully, in poignant counterpoint to the ache and fear in my heart.  They were ignorant of our dilemma and a moment later, I understood that they actually wanted to be.

“Oh, thank God!” piped up a woman from right beside me.  “Is he yours?”

“No! I saw him all by himself and I followed him down here.”

“Well, the same thing happened to me.  I looked, but his parents are nowhere in sight.  Neither are the lifeguards today; how odd!  He’ll drown if nobody watches out for him, poor kid.  Good thing you’re here.  Well, good luck with him, then.”

Wait!” I cried, too ashamed to holler, on a crowded beach, that I couldn’t swim a stroke at the retreating back of the strange, apathetic woman.

The kid came abreast of me, determined as only three-year-olds can be.  He lay his little surfboard in the water and I swear, he was no more than three years old.  Jesus, help me, I implored inside my head.  Give me the right words to say to this child, not to frighten him, but to get him to come back with me to my umbrella, where we can call the police.


I’m not exactly sure of what I said to the boy, but whatever it was, it put suspicion immediately into his eyes.  My heart sank.  If I grabbed him and hauled him onto the sand, if he screamed and kicked and we drew a suddenly interested crowd, surely I’d be arrested for attempted kidnapping.  As I prepared to wrestle the kid onto the sand, still nattering away at him, his blue eyes squinted up at me.  Silently, he pulled the surfboard from the water.  Refusing to take my hand but miraculously allowing me to lead him, we walked side by side up the burning sands until we came within a few yards of my umbrella and my lackadaisical family.

Instantly, a gruff, beefy man appeared out of nowhere.  “There you are!” he admonished the child, as if the boy’s foray down to the water had been the kid’s fault!   “Who are you?” I demanded at once.  “Why, I’m his father, that’s who I am!” the oaf thundered.  I ignored him and looked down at the child.  “Do you know this man?”  The little boy nodded once, but there was no joy in the reunion.  “Daddy,” was all he said.

A thousand words bloomed and died on my tongue.  I wanted to ask that father if he knew how lucky he was to have had a child.  I wanted to say, “If I were a rat bastard instead of the person I am, I could have snatched your boy in a heartbeat and been halfway to Philly by now!”   I only said what came out instinctively: “Thank God!”

Thank God, indeed.  Had the voice in my head — the sign, the omen — not alerted me to wake up and look in the right direction, God only knows what may have happened to that little boy that day.

Do you have a compelling story about a sign or an omen that either saved you or another person from harm, or uplifted you to face another day?  If so, please share it with us. 

Related Articles:


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Seances, Psychics, and Ghost Hunters: Smoke and Mirrors or the Real Deal?


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For Whom the Clock Chimes: A Paranormal Tale


A True Tale of Things that Go Bump in the Night…and the Day!


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- who has written 225 posts on Write On New Jersey.

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3 Responses to “Signs and Omens”

  1. Hanna Hoosier says:

    Outstanding post!!!

  2. Sadowsky says:

    This is one terrific post!!!

  3. Sarah Gruen says:

    I have always been a believer in omens and experience signs in my own life each day. I have enjoyed going through the articles in the paranormal section of your site and hope to see more in the future.

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