Snowflake from the Hand of God
Snowflake from the Hand of God
“In this book, Cathy Cash Spellman reaches into the deepest recesses of the human heart and returns with great insight in managing the challenges of life. Beauty, compassion, and wisdom are the hallmarks of these pages.”
– Larry Dossey, M.D., Author: Healing Beyond the Body, Reinventing Medicine and Healing Words
Snowflake from the Hand of God
Illness, loss, hardship, grief, death… all these unthinkable assaults on the spirit are the very real trials each of us is called on by life to try to endure, to understand and to move beyond without embitterment. It’s a very tall order.
Most of us turn to God for solace… but sometimes, when hard-pressed, we don’t just ask for help… instead, we rail or demand answers. Sometimes we cry or beg or plead, or simply sob out our frustrations in desperate human words, and then feel guilty about having been so bold. We’ve been taught by churches that formality equals reverence, but Cathy Cash Spellman came to believe quite the opposite is true. Nobody rails at God without believing with absolute certainty that S/He is there and listening.
Cathy had begun to write about the anguish of terrible loss after her very unexpected divorce and the death of her father… but as her daughter Cee Cee faced terminal illness, and began to ask her mother to write about what you really long to say in prayer when you are in desperate straits, this moving little book grew to be both an outcry to the heart of God, and a profound Act of Faith and Love.
Written as prose and poetry, Snowflake from the Hand of God is a book of uncommon prayer, offered in the hope it might help others who are being sorely tested by illness, divorce, loss, death or any other assault on the spirit, find their way on the rockiest parts of life’s road.
How Snowflake Came to Be
In the year before she died, when life was growing increasingly hard, my daughter Cee Cee asked me to help her compose prayers that would truly reflect what she wanted to say to God. “I need you to write them in human, vulnerable words, Mom,” she said, and I knew she meant the language of the heart, not of scripture or prayer books or pedants or preachers in a pulpit – just words that told the truth about the suffering, confusion, anger, resentment, struggle, and the blind faith you need to carry on when you find yourself, much against your will, in the Valley of the Shadow, or in the throes of some other terrible trauma.
Cee Cee would tell me how she felt. I would write, then hand the prayers back to see if they filled the bill. Sometimes they did, sometimes she’d edit. Sometimes we’d laugh or cry because on that particular day all we really wanted to do was yell at God. We decided that, too, was prayer.
Finding the Words
In trying to interpret in words what was in her heart, I found words for my own sorrows, confusion, desperation and sinking spells of spirit – occasioned both by her illness, and by other sorrows that had buffeted my life. Both our prayers began to ramble outward into thoughts on the enigmas of the human condition and how we try to reconcile the lack of answers to our unfathomable questions by turning to God for solace. We often called on the female persona of God, in our prayers, as a Mother God seemed, somehow more accessible. Cee Cee made me promise that if she didn’t make it through the heart surgery that was planned, I would not abandon “our book.”
“Everybody suffers in this life, Mom,” she’d say, “and nobody really tells the truth about it. All those self-help books are so busy being cheerful they just fluff over the tough stuff. And that makes you feel even worse, because it seems you’re a coward if you admit that you’re afraid or angry that this has happened to you.” It would be hard to find anyone less a coward than she.
After she’d died, I sent Snowflake to a few publishers, but while they all praised the words, they said no one would want to read about sorrow. I was too sad to argue the point. Then, the year after Cee Cee died, my dearest childhood friend died unexpectedly, and five years later, my first born daughter followed her sister into eternity.
By then, it seemed to me there could be nothing else left on earth to feel or think or say about loss – yet each death, like each life, is utterly individual and brings with it a panoply of memories and thought-streams as individual as Snowflakes from the Hand of God. So I kept on writing, feeling as if I’d found a way to communicate beyond words, beyond anguish, beyond loss, even beyond the grave. Writing prayers seemed to connect me to the essence of those I’d loved and lost, as well as to God.
So what you hold in your hand is the book that Cee Cee loved, and the additions made to it in the 10 years since her death. The quotes that follow here are from many kind and extraordinary people who were generous enough to read and respond.
Snowflake from the Hand of God Excerpt
I’m a happy person by nature. I tend to wake up most days, more joyous than not, glad to be alive and grateful for all that’s good in my life. I have a wacky, visceral faith in happy endings. I tell you this because Snowflake from the Hand of God is, for the most part, about sadness — loss, grief, death, even the death of dreams. I wouldn’t want you to think that’s all I know of life.
It’s just that I’ve learned that life is not for sissies. It requires courage and fortitude and daring in the face of enormous obstacles and trials. Life tries us all in one way or another… illness, loss, hardship, grief, all assault us and we try to endure, to understand and to move on without embitterment. Often a tall order.
We live in a world in which nobody likes to talk about the tough stuff. We feel somehow failed if we suffer, or grow ill or old. When we have to face tragedy, we try to hide it from all but our most trusted allies, despite the fact that everyone will, at some point, endure the same crucible.
I pray when I’m in trouble. Not with formal prayers, except on rare occasions. Instead, I talk to God. I sometimes rail or demand answers, sometimes cry or beg or plead, sometimes sob out my frustration or my thanks. I think we all do, but we’re afraid to say so out loud, because we’ve been taught by churches that formality equals reverence. I’ve come to believe quite the opposite is true. Nobody rails at God without believing with absolute certainty that S/He’s there and listening.
So in a weird way, this book is an act of faith. I know God listens. I know S/He cares. I don’t want either of us to fail the other in the clinches.
So I try to stay in touch.
I hope you do, too.
What Some Wonderful People Have Said About Snowflake
“Cathy Cash Spellman, with some courage, gives us a poetic transparency of the deepest inner linings of her heart that creates an intimacy between the author and the reader that is rarely seen. She bares both her soul and her inner guts with honesty and a bittersweet humor that is remarkably powerful. This is a “must read” book for both men and women.”
– Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., Author of Shortcuts to God and Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All
“Cathy Cash Spellman has given us a bridge between the world of physicality and are own hearts. Snowflake from the Hand of God is a journey, not only through Cathy’s shared life, but through emotions that women all experience. I was profoundly moved by this work and believe all women’s hearts will be touched by it.”
– Lynn Andrews, Author: Medicine Woman, Jaguar Woman, and Flight of the Seventh Moon
“I met Cathy Cash Spellman through mutual friends, before she knew of her husband’s deceit. She was a very bright and happy person. Then came the string of catastrophes that she describes in this book. I watched her and offered my support through much of this part of her life. I witnessed her rage, her anguish, and her transition and evolution into the advanced being that she is now.
“Cathy has made positive advances out of all the debacles that have confronted her. She has proven herself to be a tower of strength and optimism. In this book, using her masterful command of words, she has described her journey
“This is must reading for anyone who wants joy and growth in their future.”
– Dr. John Upledger, Founder of the Upledger Institute. Author of The Inner Physician
“I have read many books of poetry and prose that touch on the grief and glory of daring to love others here on Mother Earth, but few had the power to transport me from the grief to the glory. There is something life-changing about the way Cathy Cash Spellman has rendered these emotions into words. Somehow, her words help.”
– Mary-Margaret Moore, Author: Come as a Brother
“Prepare for transformation upon reading Cathy Cash Spellman’s newest gem, Snowflake from the Hand of God. It is impossible to remain untouched and unchanged after journeying through the portals of her mind. She offers profound insights, compelling questions and inspired answers to just about every challenge in life.”
– Diane V. Cirincione, Ph.D., Co-author of Love is the Answer, Change Your Mind, Change Your Life and Simple Thoughts That Can Change Your Life
“This book is filled with beautiful expressions of empathy for all who have experienced the pain of loss and disappointment; filled with profound renditions of wisdom to help us understand; and filled with the Power to lift us to a higher plane of healthy functioning.”
– William M. Harvey, Ph.D., Psychologist and Director of The Sai Baba Organization