At 20 years old, my daughter was killed by a drunk driver. I was shattered. My marriage had ended tragically several years earlier, and a few days before her death, I was betrayed by the man who had convinced me he intended to be my second husband. I felt slammed, as though I had been knocked down again and again, getting up only to be knocked down a third time. I couldn’t think or feel anything.
Months passed, and numbness gave way to pain. I inventoried my life and realized that the lack of a spiritual faith was holding back my ability to heal and move beyond the pain. I had been raised in a religious home, but I had abandoned belief and practice in my twenties and become an atheist. Now I really needed and wanted to pray, but I no longer knew how, or to whom, or where to begin.
During that first year of mourning my daughter’s death, as I struggled to think clearly and find the will to go on living, a little magazine began to arrive in the mail. The first time it came I gave it only a glance and concluded that it was a religious tract, like the kind that had been thrust at me by people on street corners who distributed messages of conversion and salvation. I wasn’t interested in either. I discarded it with the rest of the unsolicited mail.
A month later, another issue arrived. This time I noticed the title before throwing it out: Daily Word. When a third one came a month later, I flipped through it and saw that there was an uplifting message for each day of the month. I read a few of them and found them not objectionable, more poetic than what I thought of as religious, although each page bore a line taken from the Old or New Testament. When the fourth issue came in the mail, curiosity motivated me to put it on my night stand to look through before turning out the light.
I found the daily readings inspiring, gentle, spiritual and mostly about love, hope, strength and living to the best of our ability. I became a devotee of the little magazine that continued to arrive every month, and I began a morning ritual of reading the daily message.
I brought a copy of it with me when I met my friend Judith for a walk on the beach one day. “I want to show you something,” I said, pulling it out of my pocket as we walked. “I think someone may have given me a subscription to this little magazine, and it’s wonderful.”
“Sam,” she said, as soon as she saw it, “that was me!”
That little magazine, which I still subscribe to and read today, nearly 22 years later, was where I began to achieve the spiritual practice I so desperately needed. I began to identify the things I could believe in—kindness and compassion, love, generosity and peace. I experienced unity with a force of greater good and the sacredness of life—even mine. I felt connected to something great, starting with the readership of Daily Word, and extending to all, since I now understood that we all possess the spark of the Divine within us. Daily Word was, and is, all about this. It gave me a belief system I could live by, and the courage to change the direction of my life.
In the spirit of “paying it forward,” I have given gift subscriptions to others who might, as I did, find something they need in this little magazine packed with so much wisdom and inspiration.