Comes in Threes

To make writing interesting and strong, we are told to describe things in groups of threes. I wonder what the origins of this Rule of Three is from.  Maybe it stems from Christian doctrine of the trinity.  Maybe it predates Christ, since the triangle has long been a symbol of stability and strength. Think ancient Egyptian pyramids. With a little research, I found that it is also rooted in the Latin principle known as omne trium perfectum – everything that is three, is perfect.

Eight years ago, shortly after my mother died, I had a powerful experience that came to me in a group of three.  The first event came in the form of a present.  One of my colleagues, Sue, gave me a small rectangular box wrapped with a beautiful, iridescent silver bow.  I looked at her in surprise. It wasn’t my birthday or any other holiday.  And we didn’t normally exchange presents. I looked up at her in wonder. 

“Open it,” she said, “I hope it will give you peace.” 

I untied the bow and meticulously unwrapped the paper.  I opened the box to reveal a small figurine of a serene standing angel, her hands clasped in prayer.  She matched the two other angels I had on my desk next to a silver-framed photo of my mother and me walking to school one sunny day.  I am four-years-old wearing shorts and sneakers.  My mother has on sunglasses, sandals, and a sundress.  When I was a toddler, my mother went back to school to become a teacher.  As a young child, I attended the university nursery school, so we went to school together – the best part of my early life.  On either side of the framed photo I had put two angels one sitting and one kneeling.  I looked at Sue and thanked her. 

She said, “I noticed you had the angels on your desk, and I thought you would like a third one.”

 I rearranged the angels around the frame.  I said a silent prayer and went on with my day.

Later that week, I met my friend, Angela, for dinner after work. Angela is a fun-loving Brit who never fails to make me laugh. She is deeply spiritual, believes in crystals, auras, and angels, and is open to all manner of heavenly phenomena.  I parked nearby the restaurant and started walking down the street. 

Angela was waiting for me outside the door, and when she saw me she shouted, “Stop!”

I immediately stopped. 

She smiled and said, “You have an aura all around you.  It’s all around you.  Angels are surrounding you.”

 I felt an immediate calm and happiness wrap around me. 

“What colors are the aura?” I asked. 

Angela said they were white, blue, and lilac.  Lilac was my mother’s favorite flower. I hugged Angela and we went inside for dinner.  We laughed and talked for hours.  My body relaxed into the old worn wooden booth. 

I looked at Angela and pointed above me, “Are they still there?” I asked. 

“Yes,” she replied, ‘They are with you.  Who do you think they are?” 

Without hesitation I said, “My mother, my Grandpa Charlie, and my Uncle Julie. They are looking out for me.”

“Yes, they are,” Angela agreed. 

When we left the restaurant, we hugged and promised to get together again soon.  I drove back home, speaking to my angels as I went..  I told them I loved them and that I would never forget them and how grateful I was to have had them in my life.  I vowed to continue to keep them in my heart.

A few days after that, I was in New York City.  I was going from the train station to the Upper East side to work with a tutoring client.  I hailed a yellow cab and hopped in.  Immediately, my frantic commute grew calm. The smell of coconut and pineapple filled the space.  The friendly driver with a Jamaican lilt to his voice asked me where I wanted to go.  I told him “Madison and 80th.”  He pulled out into traffic and asked me how my day was going. 

I replied unconvincingly, “Okay – it’s good.” 

“Well, I hope you have a blessed day,” he said.

He went on to tell me how much Jesus had made a difference in his life.  I nodded my head as he spoke.  I loved listening to other people’s stories.  Then he asked if I was a believer. I got quiet for a few seconds before I responded that yes, indeed, I was.  All of a sudden, I poured out what had happened to me about a year prior, when I got sick and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me.  I talked about being in constant pain for over a year, and how close to despair I became.  I turned to Jesus and began to pray, which made such a difference in my life, and I began to heal.

Soon, I arrived at my destination.  I took out money to pay the fare and tip.  The driver turned around and faced me.  He had close-cropped silver hair, dark skin, and the most crystal-blue eyes I had ever seen. 

He caught me in his kind gaze and said, ”Don’t you worry.  You are blessed.  There are angels all around you.  I can see them. They are right here with you.  You are loved.”

I was so surprised and happy at the same time.  I felt that my mother was sending me a message.  She would never leave me.  She would live in my heart forever until my time on this Earth (which, coincidently, is the third planet from the sun) was done.

And so yes,  if you were to ask me, I would not hesitate to say I believe in Jesus and angels, and all good things that come in three.

Much thanks and gratitude to TWT: Slice of Life and SOS: Sharing our Stories.

5 thoughts on “Comes in Threes

  1. So beautiful, Joanne – your experiences, the rendering of them here, your faith. It just so happens that I was preparing to teach a lesson from John at church this morning – on the three denials of Christ. So many mighty threes in Scripture…thank you for your heart. You’re a blessing ❤


  2. Billy Graham’s Book Angels, Angels, Angels was one of my favorite books – interesting that the word is repeated three times. When my mother died, I prayed there would be a large bird that made an appearance if she was happy on the treeless side of the historic cemetery that had just been expanded, as opposed to under the towering oaks. I was hoping for a hawk or an eagle. She sent three buzzards. Three. (My brother says, “she showed up and brought her parents”). Things do happen powerfully in triads. I have no doubt that there are angels among us and that they surround us to protect us.


  3. Thanks for this, Jojo. Thanks for the reminder that angels surround us, that God is real, that we are blessed. I needed this reminder. Love you, my friend.


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