Hugs From Heaven

Queen of Peace Monastery, Squamish, BC. Source: Joan Levy Earle

My friends know that signs from the Lord are a part of my life. Watching for signs might be attributed to the Sacrament of Confirmation, when the Holy Spirit brings us that wisdom and understanding that will help us with discernment, if we pay attention and listen.


Of course, we live in a world that is moving far too quickly, and taking time to ask the Lord for direction when decisions are made can be a challenge. Recently, I slowed my life down for a vacation from my home in Ontario to travel to the West Coast of Canada. A friend has a getaway in Ucluelet, BC which is a small fishing town not far from the surfer haven of Tofino and she invited me to visit.

As an artist and writer, I have been connected for about forty years to the spirit of Emily Carr, who is considered one of Canada’s foremost artists. My copy of her journal, HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS, has been well marked up, read and reread for years, and I feel a strong kinship with her spirit.

While visiting Ucluelet, I managed to paint a few outdoor watercolour sketches with an ease and confidence that I had not felt in many years .(I usually paint with oils in my studio)

Source: Joan Levy Earle

On the very last day of my holiday, we stopped at a gift gallery for one more item. As I walked into the shop, the clerk was explaining to her customers the fact that Emily Carr had painted at the First Nation village close by, and gave them a short history of this painter.

Yes, of course, I took this as a sign for me from God. I have a retrospective exhibition coming up in November in Belleville, Ontario and have written a booklet that mentions my friendship with Emily Carr’s spirit.

This booklet also includes a quote from Sir Winston Churchill whose small book, PAINTING AS A PASTIME, has often provided moments of inspiration. The final paragraph in my booklet quotes Churchill: “Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end or almost to the end of the day.”

Vancouver Island. Source: Joan Levy Earle

So when I heard that a movie titled CHURCHILL was playing at a local theatre this summer, I went to see it. It did not get rave reviews, but I loved it and near the end of the movie, Churchill refers to Chartwell, his country home and how the light would be good for painting, so he would soon go to visit. Of course, I saw this as another sign because I had listened to the urge I had felt to see this movie.

Why focus on these signs? I consider them to be hugs from heaven; small reminders from the Lord that He is aware of every move I make each day, and of the risks I take to try to be a “window for Christ” as your writer, Dr. Michael Bautista stated in his excellent post – “I Choose to be a Window” – on igNation – September 9th of this year.

How blessed we are when we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our souls. Jesus promised to leave us this Paraclete and we are never alone because of this gift. If we are ready to be still at those times when we are anxious or on the brink of important decisions, we will receive the signs we need to make the right choices.

Joan Levy Earle is an author and artist living in Cornwall, Ontario. She is the former Associate Editor of the Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart magazine.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 01:16h, 18 October Reply

    Thank you Joan!

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