Life is a funny adventure. It comes complete with high risks, high highs and low lows. We meet people through strange and unexpected situations that we sometimes call “coincidences.” I am not of the mindset of “coincidences.” I believe everything and everyone that come into our lives have a purpose, even if the purpose is to be a change-agent for us, whether it’s in a good way or a painful one. It helps me to forgive and move on, knowing that someone who may have hurt me came into my life to teach me something valuable. I can bless them and send them on their way without harming myself with negative feelings, thoughts of revenge, and resentment. It only makes sweeter the great people who come into our lives to shine their light on us, and to show us that we, too, have a light to shine on the world.
I met writer Lindsay Harrison on a trip to Los Angeles. (I was living in New York and working on the television soap opera One Life to Live at the time.) I made that trip without booking a hotel in advance because I’m the ultimate adventure monster. Unfortunately, the Grammy Awards were being held the same weekend, and when I arrived I discovered there wasn’t a hotel room to be had in the entire city of L.A. I literally thought I was going to have to sleep in my rental car! I texted a friend back in New York to tell her of my adventure-gone-wrong, and she told me she had a friend she could call and ask if I could stay at her house. I felt weird about it—what an imposition! But the call was made, and the answer was yes. Enter Lindsay Harrison into my life. She opened her home to me, and we felt as if we had known each other forever. Talk about a change agent! Unbeknownst to me, I was about to go through some very challenging personal life changes, and this new friendship would transform my life in a huge way.
I knew I had many life lessons ahead of me at the time, which might explain my longing to seek a deeper connection to God, and Lindsay turned out to play an important role in my search. We became great friends, and every time I went to Los Angeles, I would stay with her and her fur (not a typo) children. A year later, my personal life began to fall apart. I was struggling with my emotions, pains, fears, and my self. Lindsay shared with me that her mother, Fern Underwood, at the time ninety-two years young, had been given the gift of “automatic writing.” Every day at 5:00 a.m., Fern wrote directives and conversations from the Creator and e-mailed them to her daughter. Fascinated, I asked if I could see them, and Lindsay checked with Fern. Another “yes.”
So each day, back in New York City, my e-mail inbox would include Fern’s daily dose of Jesus, forwarded from Lindsay. Those e- mails brought God back into my life in a deep and profound way. I eagerly awaited those daily conversations with God, as they were easy to read and understand, and they addressed many things I happened to be going through at the time. It was to be the first of several supernatural happenings that would finally bring me back to the self God created me to be.
Eventually I would begin to write as well. I started with daily inspirations and moved on to a healing book called The 30-Day Heartbreak Cure (Simon & Schuster), which Lindsay and I co-wrote.
I have always believed that Fern’s writing should be introduced to as many people as possible, but it would take more than a decade for Divine Inspiration to intervene once again and this book was born—a combination of my personal inspirations and Fern’s conversations with God. She’s an inspiring and most humble woman who has never invited the glare of a spotlight, but thankfully she agreed to let Lindsay and me share her words with you.
She’ll turn one hundred years old on February 7, 2015. In addition to being a homemaker and mother, and taking over her husband’s auto parts business after his sudden death in 1973, she’s traveled around the globe as a member of the World Methodist Council. She’s won awards ranging from the local Chamber of Commerce for community service, to the Iowa State “Friend of Education” Award for her work with school children in her area, to the Iowa Governor Volunteer Award, to the Bishop James S. Thomas Leadership Award. And, at the age of 85, she founded what she called “Fun Church” at a rural trailer park near her small town in Iowa, at which, seated on a blanket, surrounded by the children who lived there, she introduced them to Jesus and His teachings and the sacred dignity and grace of their souls. (She wrote about Fun Church in a pamphlet she titled To Come Alive at 85. How inspiring is that?!) Fern first experienced her gift of “automatic writing” at a spiritual retreat in 1973, when, in her words, “I had barely seated myself when I felt urged to take out my notebook. For one solid hour I wrote as fast as I could, the words seeming to come like dictation.” She’s so reluctant to take credit for these writings that when I asked if I could use them for this collaborative book, she replied, “I’d be honored, but you know, they’re not really mine.”
Please note: The italicized passages you’ll read are many of Fern’s inspirations which came, as she would say, “through” her, not “from” her, with Someone Else guiding her hand, and we’re sharing them in these pages exactly as she received them.
And so, from Fern and me, thank you for letting us walk through the next year of your life with you. Enjoy each day, and know that you are Blessed!
-Catherine (Cat) Hickland Fisher