I found a business flyer amongst my papers. (I'm going through all my worldly belongings, since I will be soon be leaving Korea.) I kept this one because it was well-designed: colorful, imaginative, interesting. I like books, too, and I like to ask myself questions, and it had lots of the former, and a huge instance of the latter.
The flyer showed an array of books, of uniform binding, standing on bottom edge, in an array that stretched back quite a way, into a brilliant light. A huge red question mark was floating above, with a red book raised (as if by magnetic force), pulled up above the area (out of the pack), with the book itself forming the bottom "dot" of the question mark.
Using photoshop, I changed the titles of the front most books (my limited Korean was of no help in translating the titles of the books at and near the front). On the spot, I made up a few titles on the themes of philosophy, ultimate reality, etc.: Philosophy for Oceanographers (deep topic, get it?), Polyvalent Universe, Daze of Yore, To The Point of Knowing. (These titles are not the titles of books -- as far as I know. They just cropped up in the fertile crescent of the fluid and spongy spaces between my ears, in the process of writing.)
So this is what I had:
I posted it to my Google+ page with this introduction:
Investigate reality! Ask more questions and then seek the answers! Be doubtful of ever having arrived at the final conclusive answer and then ask more questions! ... In the month of the longest nights (December), there is the 19-day #Baha'i month that has the name "Questions" (Masa'il). Questions can lead us to the light of understanding -- any time of year!
From the Writings of the Bab about the importance of writing questions down, we read the following:
"Should anyone desire to ask questions, he is allowed to do so only in writing, that he may derive ample understanding from His written reply and that it may serve as a sign from his Beloved."
The poster and the intro were posted to my G+ stream on July 7, 2014. That day happened to be 2 days in front of a Baha'i Holy Day (The Martyrdom of the Bab) which was on July 9th. It was also the birthday of my sister, Ellen.
Nonetheless, the story was not over. This morning, 5 days after posting the question mark book graphic and intro, I went outside to go to see if the local post office was open. As I cautiously stepped down the entrance stairs with boxes and dolly pull cart in my arms, I noticed something on the sidewalk not far from the last step -- directly in front of me on the interlocking brick sidewalk was an old rusty iron hook, which coincidentally or not, resembled a question mark.
Since my old cellphone (used only for camera and mp3) wasn't working, I couldn't take a photo. So, I put the iron question mark on the flatbed of my scanner and scanned it. As you can see below, the result is pretty good.
Now, this iron question mark/hook has me puzzled. What are the odds of (1) an old farmer, countryside house renovator, or technology museum curator (2) carrying an old rusty bent bolt in their pocket as they walk home or towards the college (to the swimming pool and public sauna); (3) and the shape of the hook or bolt very much resembles a question mark; (4) who is walking on my side of the street which is 20 m from the entrance gate to a small college, last evening or during the night; (5) accidentally dropping the aforementioned rusty old bent bolt; (6) not noticing it fall to the ground and so then picking it up; and maybe (7) not noticing the loss of the object a bit later and not backtracking to try to find it?
My guess is that the probability of all these separate events happening is extremely low.
So how did it get there?
I had read in this book Messages: Signs, Visits and Premonitions From Loved Ones Lost on 9/11 by Bonnie McEneaney that the spiritual world often leaves special objects here and there. If we are thinking of the spiritual world, and praying for them (the departed ones) as well as us, then they apparently communicate to us with quirky phenomena in nature or else leaving material objects around that we may notice and make a connection with some aspect of that object and what is currently going on in our life.
This has me wondering, in a pleasant way. Did one of the few people I say occastional prayers for want to let me know that the Spirit world follows my (and maybe everybody's) life events and is much more closely connected to this world than we can even imagine?
As I muse on this event, I can't help but feel that my belief in the Great Spirit/Great Mystery/Kitche Manitou (Ojibwe words) has been bolstered, even given a checkmark. In Korean, they use a small circle instead of a checkmark; instead of meaning zero or lack of something, the circle represents completeness and correctness. Did my credence quotient just receive a circle in the certitude category?
I should (cautiously and quietly, maybe even silently and inwardly) exult: Exalted be the Creative Divine Force!