We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.
–Luciano de Crescenzo
One of the questions that I am often asked is if there is a God why hasn’t He answered my prayers? It’s hard not to ask this during times of suffering and it’s, of course, natural to want God to answer our prayers. But if you really think about it, it’s not possible for Him to answer every single prayer.
Why? When you were little and you asked your parents for something dangerous, their answer was, “No.” And sometimes God’s answer is “No.” As hard as this is for all of us to accept, there are times that we just can’t have what we pray for. Other times, His answer is not now. Soon, but not now. And, sometimes the answer is, of course, “Yes.”
God, Supreme Being, Higher Power or however you choose to refer to Him, sees the bigger picture at all times and has greater plans. We all serve a purpose here on Earth and when that purpose is met, we go home.
Pain and suffering have caused me to question my faith on many occasions. But it is due to anger. Having to go through a tough time or a rough patch in life doesn’t change God. He is still there just like before. But at times He is not there the way that we would like. We are here for spiritual growth through life lessons and God will not grant us things that will interfere with our purpose.
I always tell people that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we are put in someone’s path for a reason and other times we are the answer to their prayers and don’t even realize it. Recently, I made reservations at a local Italian restaurant for my mom’s birthday. The owner, Claire, had asked me to come to the restaurant several times and she was having Italian entertainment that evening and I knew my parents would enjoy it.
Less than two hours before our reservation time, my mom called me to cancel saying that my father wasn’t feeling well. Although I was disappointed that my parents could not make it, I felt as though I could not cancel the reservation. I told my husband, “I don’t know John. I think we should still go. We can take my parents out to dinner another night.”
As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by Claire. We hugged and chatted briefly and then she told me that she wanted me to meet her mother in law. I walked over to the table as she introduced us. “This is Josie. Her parents are from Italy, too. She writes books.”
Claire then looked back at me and said, “My mother in law wrote a book, too.” I smiled at her mother in-law extending my hand which she took in hers. “Really?” she said softly with her unmistakable Italian accent. “Come here. Sit down.”
Claire left us to attend to other customers. I was immediately touched by this woman’s warm demeanor yet I could see the pain of loss in her aging eyes. “So tell me,” I asked. “What is your book called?” At first I thought I had misunderstood her when she answered, “An Angel From Above.” The book, she explained, took years to finish as she had handwritten the book in Italian and it was later transcribed into English by her family. Now, she really had my attention and I pressed her to tell what the book was about.
She looked up at me, “Maybe you won’t understand. But I lost my son, Carmelo. I have received signs from him.” I smiled saying, “Oh, I do understand. I’m Josie Varga, the author of Visits from Heaven. Please tell me what happened.”
What followed was a heartbreaking story about how this woman, Marfisa, lost her 15-year old son after he was hit in the head during football practice. Her eyes watered as she recalled what happened. She explained how she was so distraught after her son’s death that she no longer wanted to live. She would stay in her room with the blinds shut and said she was skin and bones as she ate little just to please her family.
Her son, she told me, always called her Momma Bella which means beautiful mother in Italian. Early one morning while lying in bed she heard a comforting voice say, “Momma, Momma.”
The following is the rest of the story as written in her book (An Angel From Above/Star Investment Strategies/pages 296-297):
I tried opening my eyes to see who was calling and heard it again.
But this time it said, “Momma Bella, Momma Bella. It’s me. Your angel, Carmelo.” Quickly, I tried contemplating whether or not that comforting voice was truly his.
I swiftly responded, “Carmelo, beautiful angel, is that you? Is it really you? Carmelo, my heart and life? It is you angel. I can hear you. Is this a dream? No, it’s not a dream. I’m awake. Wide awake.”
And in saying this, I heard his sweet voice again, “Yes, Momma Bella. It’s not a dream. It’s me. Your Carmelo, your angel.”
I sat up in bed and gazed upon him, seeing my loving son. His eyes shined like two stars. He hugged me tightly and I felt his arms around me. I firmly embraced him and didn’t want to let go. I wanted to hold him close forever. I heard his heart beating next to mine and could smell the scent of his skin. That familiar pleasant odor gave me the strength to live and filled me with joy.
I excitingly proclaimed, “Carmelo, my angel. I can hear you. I hear you inside my heart. Is it really you, Carmelo?”
“Yes, Momma Bella. It’s me. I hear you, too. I’m alive. I’m not dead.”
I felt his beautiful hands caressing me with sweetness. It was Easter, the resurrection of Jesus and God sent me my son. He continued caressing me like a mother caresses her young. I didn’t want that joy and tenderness to ever end. I wish I could’ve always been held by my son like that.
He stated, “I came to you, Momma Bella, because God sent me to tell you that I am alive with Jesus. I’m not dead. You, Momma Bella, must be strong in the Lord. Get up from this bed and leave this room now. Go to church with the others, because I’m alive with Jesus and glorify God. I am not dead, I am alive.”
Marfisa was overcome with emotion as I reached for her hand to comfort her telling her that she was not alone. I explained that her story reminded me of a similar story in my book, Visits from Heaven, in which a mother got to hug her deceased daughter. Marfisa looked at me excitedly. “Really?” You have heard of similar stories? Honestly, it is hard for me to accurately express the moment of joy that I then witnessed in her eyes as she realized that she was no alone in her experience.
She leaned forward to give me a warm embrace as she took my hands in hers, “Josie!” she enthusiastically exclaimed, “You are here for me tonight. You are here for me, Josie! I am so happy to have met you.”
I was so deeply touched by her words. She went on to explain how she wasn’t even going to go to the restaurant that evening but something was telling her to go. I then explained how my parents had canceled on me and how I felt compelled to come as well.
All the while my husband John and two daughters were sitting at another table wondering what the holdup was. They actually sent our waitress over to me to take my order because I was so engrossed in my conversation with Marfisa.
Eventually, I made my way over to my family to eat my dinner. A short time later, Marfisa came over to say goodbye to me as we exchanged phone numbers. “Please keep in touch, Josie. I am so happy to have met you. I love you! I love you!”
Returning her hug, I told her to remember that love never dies and promised to stay in touch.
Normally, to be honest, it would scare me to have a perfect stranger react to me in this way. But this was different. I realized that I had been put there that night for a reason. I had given this beautiful, kind woman named Marfisa some comfort in knowing that she was not alone. And I had given her confirmation that her experience was all too real.
I shall never forget that night. While Marfisa may believe that I was there for her that night, I believe that she was there for me. I’m grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting her. She touched my heart and reminded me to keep the faith and always remember that one way or another God does answer our prayers.
One week later I attended my nephew’s confirmation and was introduced to the pastor at my sister in-law’s Lutheran Church. When the pastor heard that I had written a book called Divine Visits, she wanted to know all about it.
“What made you decide to write the book?” She questioned.
“Do you have like five hours?” I asked as we both shared a laugh. I went on to tell her how my husband’s deceased friend came to me with a message for his wife which was later validated. I wasn’t sure how she felt about the idea of afterlife communication but she seemed to be very interested in my every word.
We chatted for a quite a while and I eventually told her about my recent experience with Marfisa. Sometimes, I told the pastor, we are the answer to someone else’s prayers and don’t even know it as she nodded in agreement.
The pastor then went on to tell me how she had heard many similar experiences and even heard about another woman who got to hug her deceased loved one. She then promised to buy Divine Visits saying that she was looking forward to reading it.
To be honest I wasn’t quite sure how the Lutheran Church viewed the idea of visits from heaven, so the pastor’s response brought a smile to my face. I was happy to have had the pleasure of meeting her as I was yet again left with the feeling that our meeting was meant to be.