The Universe in an Orange Shirt

Did you ever think that maybe the Universe is talking to you all the time?

There used to be a show on TV called “Joan of Arcadia.” Joan Girardi was a typical high school kid – except that God was always showing up as random people in her life. These people (who were really God in disguise) would challenge her to do things she probably would not otherwise do. Sometimes God was the cafeteria lady, sometimes a little girl, sometimes a goth kid at school. The theme song was Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” (What if God was one of us? / Just a slob like one of us / Just a stranger on the bus / Trying to make his way home).

I had a Joan of Arcadia experience this morning when the Universe (my preferred name for God) showed up in the form of a city utility worker. On the last leg of my morning walk, I rounded the corner from the busy main street into my peaceful neighborhood and saw that I would have to skirt around a huge fallen eucalyptus branch. A City of Mesa utility truck was parked next to the mess. I removed my iPod’s earbuds as I was greeted by a smiling man in a bright orange shirt who’d been scratching his head and looking over the debris and the ravaged remains of the tree.

“Good morning!” he said jovially with a twinkle in his eye (think Morgan Freeman in “Bruce Almighty” or “Evan Almighty”).

“Did that fall down in the night?” I asked, stupidly pointing out the obvious.

“These eucalyptus trees do this all the time,” he replied, with a kind of pleased enthusiasm that didn’t seem warranted given that he’d likely be the one to have to cut it up and haul it off.

It was certainly true, I reflected, remembering when our neighbor’s eucalyptus had come crashing through our fence a few years back. Not just a branch – the whole tree. And my own eucalyptus in the front yard split in two one day and had to be cut down. Eucs tend to suck up all the water they can, growing faster and heavier than their frames can manage. When there’s not much water to be had, their giant limbs grow brittle. They’ll weather all kinds of wind and heat and then one day, when not a breeze is stirring, a humongous branch will come crashing down with no warning.

“Heat’s coming on us today,” he observed, not ruefully but with the attitude of a man about to do battle and relishing the thought.

“Yep. Supposed to hit 100 today,” I said over my shoulder as I resumed my walk.

It was just a brief, random exchange. Except that as I’d rounded that corner, I’d been stewing over some financial challenges my family is facing right now. I’d been feeling like things might come crashing down at any moment. I’d been worrying whether we could stand the heat, or if we’d have to get out of the kitchen. Like the eucalyptus, our national economy had grown top-heavy and it seemed like a great big branch of it was about to fall right on us.

Then I ran into the Universe wearing an orange shirt and a big smile and pointing out to me that these things happen all the time. The Universe, standing ready to clean up the aftermath of anything that might come crashing down, heat be damned. Suddenly, I felt better. There might be some hard work ahead, but I’m willing to roll up my shirtsleeves and see it through. And I know the Universe has my back.

I quickened my pace just a bit and started singing out loud to the tune on my iPod: Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.”


5 thoughts on “The Universe in an Orange Shirt

  • April 21, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    Slam-dunk, Claire! As usual. I love this one. He/She/It is Everywhere. But then, just what did you expect? :>D Thanks.

  • April 21, 2009 at 7:44 PM

    I LOVED Joan of Arcadia!!!
    I don’t watch TV, but I watched that. And was SO disappointed when it was gone!
    I use the words ‘Spirit Guides’ & they guide me thru SO much. I think we all use different words for the same thing….
    It’s about listening to what shows up.
    I love your story & that it guided you thru a stressful time!

  • April 21, 2009 at 10:37 PM

    I wish now I’d watched that show. I DO feel like the universe is talking to me all the time, letting me know it’s all okay, even when it most definitely doesn’t feel okay.

    I’ve been having a bit of a grief wave these last couple of days, and missing my sweetie a lot. I chewed him out last night for being so stubborn and not stopping by my dreams anymore. Tonight at yoga, my teacher said that John Friend translates “Om Namah Shivaya” as “Life is good.”

    My sweetie said that all the time. He, and the rest of the universe, is letting me know it’s okay, even when it definitely doesn’t feel okay. And I’m grateful.

  • May 8, 2009 at 10:01 PM

    Hi..I too do not use the word is a universal wave of energy to me…and we are connected, everyone everyplace, our thoughts are very powerful tools.
    I loved Joan of Arcadia…it was a good show that really brought home the conversation about spirit.
    Signs are just have to open your eyes.
    There have been many sensless deaths in my world and for sure you never loose that connection if you don’t want to.
    And for me it is most important to remember always the things in life that make you happy.

  • May 30, 2009 at 8:19 PM

    Hello again..a month later and I’m back here…hmmmmm must be something for me to learn here and share or teach..lets go find out

    Joan and her conversations with the Universe were the best part.


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