Is That Fortune Smiling at Me?

“I thank the universe for taking everything it has taken and giving to me everything it is giving. Balance.” ~ Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

I have had a series of good fortune lately.

So accustomed to rejection, disappointment, and losing, I cannot help but wonder if all the good things that I have been experiencing lately have been because I have been going to church every Sunday and praying to God regularly.

Is God finally answering my prayers? In my heart, I know it is. I feel it in the very essence of my soul.

Miracle No. 1: My friend went into cardiac arrest last June. Her heart stopped for four minutes. The doctors were able to revive her heart, but she fell into a coma. She was “asleep” for weeks. The doctors told her parents to expect that she would likely be brain dead or severely brain damaged due to the lack of oxygen to her brain while her heart had stopped, if she even was able to wake up. They were prepared for the worst. After a few weeks, the doctors asked her parents if they would consider taking her off life support. They said no – absolutely not.

We all prayed, day and night, for a miracle.

After what seemed like an eternity, she woke up. Not only did she wake up, but her full brain functionality was intact. Her recovery will be long, but she is able to talk and think and write. She has a hole in her neck from where the respirator was for the weeks she was in a coma, but she is home now. Her case is a true miracle that has stunned all the doctors. Only God could have saved her, and He did.

Miracle No. 2: Everyone knows that the real estate rental market here in NYC is brutally expensive. During the pandemic, I was fortunate enough to secure a deal in a luxury apartment building with sweeping views of the East River. My lease was due to run out this summer, a busy and expensive time for any rental market. Many of my friends in the building have already moved out due to the egregioius increase in the rent. We are not in a rent stabilized building, so rent increases are not capped. Some have said their renewal offers were as high as $800.00 a month increase.

I had been bracing myself for a potential move. I prayed to God that the renewal terms would be for an amount that I could afford. Since my lease is due to expire at the end of July, I knew that my renewal offer was coming soon. I received the email yesterday.

I palmed my chest as I opened the email, as if to protect my heart from the bad news I was expecting. As I read through the email outlining the renewal terms, I was shocked to discover that not only did they offer a lower rent amount, they offered me a two year renewal term.

How is this even possible? This kind of renewal offer is unheard of in New York, and especially now when the market has reached historic highs. I am still reeling at my good fortune. I told a few close friends, and they are in disbelief. “Through Him all things are possible.”

I told another close friend that I felt as though God had finally heard and granted my prayers. She knows that I have been going to church regularly and of how I have come a long way with my relationship with God. So it hurt when her response was, “It’s not God, it’s something else, but it’s not God.”

Her husband passed away from cancer nearly three years ago, so I understand why she is angry with God. I was angry with God myself when my sister passed away from cancer, but I never tried to diminish someone else’s belief towards God. Last summer, I saw that she was wearing a crucifix around her neck, and I had commented that I was glad she was returning to God. She said she was not and that she was wearing it simply for fashion purposes. I was a bit angry at that, but did not say anything. I was angry that she was making light of Jesus’ sacrifice and of the faith and devotion of those who believe.

I know that everyone’s personal relationship with God is personal, and I respect her beliefs (or lack thereof), but I felt that her comment to me yesterday about my recent good fortune not being attributable to God was unsupportive of my belief, and out of line.

In the meantime, my heart is filled with extreme gratitude to God and no one can persuade me to feel otherwise.

Gratitude: Spring

“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” ~ Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

I know that it looks as though I failed in my goal to express gratitude daily. However, I did express gratitude, but due to certain circumstances, I was not able to get online and post on a daily basis. However, I keep a book journal, and so I was able to pen my gratitude the old-fashioned way.

It was difficult to find the time to post as I was in the Philippines for over a month. I left on February 24 and came back on March 25. It was a low-key “working vacation” and I kept NYC hours (Philippines was thirteen hours ahead, but then changed to twelve hours when Daylight Savings Time came into effect while I was overseas) and I slept in three-four hour increments while I juggled staying awake at night to work and managing to spend time with my family during the day.

We stayed local and enjoyed nearby towns, sampled food specialties from different provinces, enjoyed the luscious terrains, and caught breathtaking sunsets.

We came back to New York, just in time to catch the cherry blossoms. Our neighborhood is one of the few places in the city where we have front row seats to their magnificence.