She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

-- Marge Piercy

Post-It Notes from Heaven


I love the way Heaven communicates. I love asking questions, and getting magical answers; I love the great big obvious life-changing “Hi, this is God…here’s the direction/aha/cosmic breadcrumb you’ve been asking for,” as well as all the little tongue-in-cheek but crazy-useful angel whispers that come at the perfect time, often in the weirdest ways.

Case in point:

A few days back I took Gracie Lou for a walk. It was coming on twilight, that time of day when the light begins to lower, everything dropping down into grey-gold shadow, colors sharpened almost mystically by the edge of the coming dark.

We headed across the street to the big expanse of lawn in front of the high school. It’s one of Gracie’s favorite places to explore; a constant barrage of novel scents and forgotten treasures dropped carelessly in the grass by several hundred teenagers traipsing back and forth between classes all day long.

There is also typically a half-pound or so of freshly spewed gum wads scattered about, much to Gracie’s delight, all shapes and sizes and every bright, toxic, artificial color you can imagine. She favors the neon blue ones; perhaps it’s a terrier thing. And let me tell you, that dog can ferret out and gulp a wad of gum so fast it’s halfway through her digestive track before I even have time to react.

For the record, I do not condone nor encourage her gum eating…it’s just difficult to visit her preferred sniffing ground without her scoring the Big Blue at least once.

Anyway, on said ground this particular evening, as Gracie raced back and forth, nose glued to the dirt in search of her beloved turquoise, I spied a vibrant square of yellow against the windblown grass. This was no careless wad of gum.

From ten yards away I knew it was a Post-It note; in the deepening light it stood out dramatically from the surrounding green, impossible to miss. As I moved closer I got the sudden, matter-of-fact sensation that I would pick it up and find it was one of my Post-It notes. Sure enough, there in my distinctly lazy scrawl were the words, “Call storage unit and pay bill!” followed by a crooked smiley face.

Every month I leave myself a similar note on the desk next to my computer. The storage facility doesn’t send out monthly statements, so between Google calendar and my stack of yellow stickies, I usually stay on top of the payment with no trouble…but every once in awhile I need an extra reminder.

Those of you who use a lot of sticky notes are probably familiar with the phenomenon of being too familiar with sticky notes…you leave yourself a note but don’t actually pay any attention to it, because it’s just one of a million others you’ve left for a hundred other reasons. It sometimes comes down to needing a sticky note to remind yourself to leave a sticky note. Yeah. That’s me.

So here I was, standing on the lawn of the high school, marveling at the fact that I would find one of my own sticky notes in the unkempt grass. What are the odds? It might not seem like such a huge miracle, considering we live just across the street, but I’m wagering that I’m not the only one in this neck of the woods who uses yellow sticky notes. This is a school, after all.

And, Waste Management had picked up our recycle two days earlier, and the teenage herds had been stampeding across this stretch of lawn as usual ever since, making it seem even more cosmic that this particular note would land at my feet.  

But here’s where it becomes truly divine:

I write a ton of sticky notes in a week’s time—grocery lists, phone calls I have to make, “don’t forget to start the dishwasher” and “remember to put the towels in the dryer,” that sort of thing. My favorites? The love notes Mark and I constantly leave each other on the kitchen counter or the bathroom mirror or on the plastic container of leftovers on the second shelf of the fridge. I should seriously take out stock in 3-M.

But this wasn’t any of a dozen other notes I would have written. This was the one note I leave myself around the 22nd of every month. And today was the 24th…meaning this little yellow square of paper winking at me from the high school lawn was a month old.

And, since I empty my office recycle bin every week, it had apparently been hanging around the neighborhood for at least 3 weeks before showing up for me right here, right now.

The most amazing, angel-obvious aspect of this whole weird little story? Despite my prerequisite monthly note next to the computer for the last several days, I had realized just that morning that I still hadn’t taken care of it…so I said a prayer out loud, asking the angels to please help me remember to call the storage unit and pay my bill!

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