Rachel’s awakening came when her world had been turned upside down. Rachel came from a Jewish family that had strong spiritual beliefs. She had left all that behind when she was in her late teens. Then, when she was forty-six, she began to have experiences that she believed were divinely orchestrated. “They seem to come at times of despair or confusion,” she said. “Some of my first experiences and awareness had a connection with numbers, maybe because I needed something tangible that had meaning to me.
“The event that had the greatest effect on me involved the number 313. My son, Peter, was killed on 3-13-93. So, naturally, every time I see that combination, I can’t help but think of him—and now of God, too. There were four or five things that happened with this same number in relation to Peter. One was that the number 3:13 was clearly visible as the time on a clock in one of the last photographs taken of him several weeks before his death.
“But by far the most powerful incident happened on the first anniversary of Peter’s death. I was anticipating it with dread, not knowing how I would get through it, and I desperately needed help. That Saturday morning at 8 a.m.—almost the same time my doorbell had rung a year earlier with the news of his death—my bell rang again. A friend who was staying with me answered the door for me. A conservatively dressed man handed him a booklet. When I looked at it, all I saw was one line: ‘There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to God’s promise and in these righteousness is to dwell (2 Peter 3:13).’ My son is Peter number two (his father is also named Peter), and the numbers matched the date of his death. To me, this was a message—a hello telling me that my son was fine. No one could tell me that God wasn’t trying to comfort me and to help me move on through that day and all the days that would follow.”
This experience seemed too uncanny to be a coincidence. In Rachel’s opinion, it had been choreographed just for her at the exact moment she needed it. It convinced her that her son still existed—that his tragedy wasn’t really a tragedy but a part of his journey that wasn’t over yet. He was doing fine. The spirituality that she had been taught as a child was once again relevant to her and gave her life a deeper meaning.
Rachel’s message, like hundreds of other messages that I’ve studied, contains four characteristic elements—elements that suddenly came together in a meaningful way:
- A material situation (the anniversary of her son’s death)
- A heightened psychological state (her deep despair and her desire for answers)
- An unexpected external event (the knock at the door on the first anniversary of her son’s death and the delivery of a brochure that had Peter’s name with the numbers 3 and 13)
- An inspiration (that this combination of circumstances was a message designed to help her move on)
Once she received it, many positive things began to happen. She still missed her son tremendously and thought about him every day, but she was less depressed. Her relationships improved as she tried to be more compassionate and helpful to others because this is what she believed a spiritual person should do. She did better at work. In short, she started living, and life gradually took on meaning once again. All of this was made possible by the little extra push that she got from acting in line with what her message seemed to be suggesting she do and trying one more time to move on with her life. (chapter 3, pages 42-43)