Life in New York City was clearly too harsh for me. I didn’t want to become the person I thought I had to become to thrive there. After several months, despite the offer of a full tuition art school scholarship, I left without looking back.
Less than a year later, while running an art gallery in Rhode Island and waiting for the summer season to end, I became immersed in spirituality, studying A Course in Miracles. This self-study course put forth the extraordinary claim that we each have access to a far greater wisdom than we currently use.
This Voice of “Holy Spirit” knew exactly what was best for each of us in every situation, if only we could learn to be still and hear it. I became determined to do so, yet struggled endlessly, never knowing if the voice I sometimes heard was that of a deeper wisdom, or simply my imagination.
One morning I awoke and realized I had absolutely no plans for the day. The gallery was closed until the weekend, and I was open to anything. I checked in with stillness, trying yet again to hear the “Holy Spirit.”
To my surprise, I heard a quiet, still voice within me quite clearly. It wasn’t like hearing a physical human voice. It was more like an inner dialogue that seemed to appear immaculately. The words were not an extension of something I was thinking, and a sense of power and peace accompanied them. I think the Voice was so clear that morning because I was open to it.
It said, “Drive south.”
Huh? Well, what did I have to lose?
I got in my beloved Ford and started driving south, expecting I might be off to a local breakfast place. But I checked in every few minutes, and the message stayed the same. “Drive south.”
Okay, I get it! I thought. I’ll drive south!
After three hours of driving south as my still, quiet voice instructed, I found myself entering the state of New York, heading straight for the city I’d been so determined to leave. With some trepidation, but also an emerging sense of underlying purpose, I followed my inner voice as it led me into the heart of Manhattan.
I drove by my old home and walked the paths I’d traveled as part of my former routine, guided now by “Holy Spirit”. It said things like “Go into the Pizza Shop” where I had regularly eaten, or “Visit the Art Students’ League Studios” and the other studios at which I had spent time.
In each place, I initially felt some old memory of the harshness of the city; the rudeness, the lines, the constant pushing, the anonymity, the concrete and steel, the lack of humanity. But these were old memories. This day, each place I visited felt different, lighter, cleaner, forgiven. Everywhere, people went out of their way to be nice and helpful. Everywhere I went, a blessing came.
I had wanted to be freed from my negative feelings about the city and the people there, to forgive them, but had no idea how to go about it before now. I had struggled for months with this while living there. Now, healing was happening before my eyes, and I knew I was not the one doing it. I wouldn’t have even been there if not for the “Holy Spirit”.
I was filled more and more with gratitude as the day went on. By nightfall I walked back to my car, parked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, feeling absolutely complete. The love I once felt for the city, and my appreciation and faith in the “Holy Spirit” had grown exponentially. Feeling sure my little Voice would tell me to get going on the long drive home after such a long, successful day of healing and meaning, I checked in just to be sure.
“Time to go, right?” I asked.
“Stick around,” my little Voice said.
“What?” I retorted. “It’s late and I have a four-hour drive!”
After reluctantly agreeing, I was guided to return to an art gallery I had visited earlier in the day. It was getting ready for an opening that night to show paintings by Jamie Wyeth, the son of Andrew Wyeth. I knew of Jamie’s work because of his father, and had enjoyed seeing the show that afternoon. However, it did not hold the influence on me his father’s work had.
Seeing Andrew Wyeth’s work as a young child in Boston was a magical experience, and deeply affected my career path. His work had been so influential, I had realized there was no living artist I would rather meet than Andrew Wyeth. But he is a deeply private man and rarely appeared in public. I had put all hope of meeting him aside as an impossibility.
At the gallery of Jamie’s Wyeth’s exhibition and formal reception, I found myself with some of the top New York art crowd, generally a hard group to get to know. They were approaching me and starting up conversations as this day continued its amazingly positive energy. I was thoroughly enjoying it all, feeling as though just about anything could happen.
Then, suddenly, it did.
Andrew Wyeth appeared in the gallery. Unknown to anyone but the gallery directors, he had arranged to break his hermit-like routine and travel to the city to surprise his son at the show. His appearance was so unexpected that none of the gallery visitors were prepared for it, and he was briefly left alone for me to approach.
I shook his hand, sincerely thanking him for the joy his work had brought into my life and for the influence he’d had on my path as an artist. The deep humility of the man shone through as he bowed in gratitude to my thanks. Here was the man I had so hoped was real, the man who was clearly in the service of love just as I had imagined him to be from his art! It was a perfect meeting for me. Then, just as quickly as he had appeared, he was ushered backstage by the gallery staff.
I was dazed by everything that had happened. The miracles of this day, run totally by spirit, were undeniable. My perpetually rocky relationship with New York had been healed, and I had met Andrew Wyeth! Amazingly, he was just as I had always hoped he would be.
I was guided back to my car with the message, “It is late! Get going!” delivered by Holy Spirit with a tangible sense of love and humor. It was clear that I would never see my “little Voice” in the same way again.
In the 20 years since, my relationship with my “little Voice” has grown and evolved, I have asked Holy Spirit what to do and where to go, and great healing has occurred. But perhaps no other day has held the clarity of Holy Spirit’s presence more than that amazing day when I became truly acquainted with it, met Andrew Wyeth, forgave New York City, and allowed the day to go just as God wanted it to for me.
I now live with the belief that every day can be miraculous if I can only get myself out of the way. Such days are guided fully by God’s Loving Presence. To me, God’s Presence and God’s presents are one and the same. I need only listen well enough, and ask to receive them. He does the driving. I just hold the wheel, follow the little Voice, and “Drive South!”
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, New Page Books,
a division of The Career Press, Inc. ©2010. www.newpagebooks.com
When God Spoke To Me: The Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People Who Have Received Divine Guidance and Wisdom
compiled and edited by DavidPaul Doyle.
Not only are these stories profoundly moving, these diverse experiences of hearing God's Voice are like pieces of a puzzle. When these pieces come together, they paint a very clear picture of the dynamics behind our human capability for hearing God's Voice. In the book's conclusion, the most essential key traits that bind all of these experiences together are discussed traits that will help you to start hearing God's Voice more fully and consistently in your own life.
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David Schock is a professional artist by trade. He specializes in portraits, landscapes, and figure paintings; 30,000 of his art prints are in circulation worldwide. The latest original paintings from the artist's studio can be seen at www.davidschock.blogspot.com and at fine art galleries in New England, London and Florida. David lives in Wakefield, RI, with family, who are often the subjects of his paintings.
DavidPaul Doyle is the editor of the book When God Spoke to Me. He is also the author of The Voice for Love: Accessing Your Inner Voice to Fulfill Your Life’s Purpose. DavidPaul has traveled worldwide conducting workshops to help others open themselves to God’s voice and discover their own true nature. His passion is reaching people everywhere with the gift of spiritual discovery through books, seminars, and tele-classes. Visit his website at www.thevoiceforlove.com