Awakening to ‘Pay Attention’


It was early on the morning of July 4 when I answered my phone. It was my mother, crying, and I knew it was about Lynn, my younger sister and closest friend. She had hung herself, and as my mother shared the details, a voice whispered in my other ear, “Pay Attention.”

As I was beginning to awaken in my own earnest process of healing and spiritual study, my teacher suggested that this experience was going to bring home in a powerful way all that I had been studying. I was going to be shown the illusion and meaning behind the teaching, “There is no death.”

The first opportunity I had to “pay attention” was when my middle sister, Jody, a professor in Seattle, asked me not to come home right away. She explained that she had always felt “left out” of the family, and if I traveled home my mother would lean on me. I agreed to stay in Minnesota.

While the rest of the family sat in vigil with Lynn’s tortured body, now in a coma, I spent my days writing, hiking and riding my bicycle. Tears of grief whipped off my face as I called out to God for relief, not so much for me but for my dear younger sister. I knew that Lynn’s pain was mine, as well as our whole family’s.

In the still of the night, about a week into this process, I was awakened by this voice for God, guided to write Lynn a letter. In this letter, taken in dictation by Spirit, I was sharing with Lynn my knowing that it was time for her to make a choice, and become free. She could stay in her body or not; either way it made no difference. The point was that she no longer needed to carry this burden for our family.

I mailed the letter home, and it was read two days later by my eldest sister, Sandy, with Jody and my mother looking on. The angry scowl on Lynn’s face relaxed, and her hands unclenched, revealing stigmata-like wounds where her fingernails had dug into her palms. A slight smile came across her face, and a few hours later she took her last breath in this world.

As my mother is recounting this story to me the next morning, again clear guidance comes to me in the form of a knowing that I was to give the eulogy at Lynn’s memorial service. Now the full scope of “pay attention” was coming into focus.

The day of the funeral, I approached the altar of our family church. The sanctuary was packed full of a crowd representing all of my past neighbors, teachers, school chums, family friends…they were all here. I had made some foolish attempts to write notes for the eulogy, impossible, as this was Spirit’s moment to use me for a higher purpose. This was the teaching for me, as beautiful words of celebration came through my mouth on that perfect summer morning.

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