A Ghost Dancer carved in stone.
Francesca and I spent several hours yesterday speaking on a very real level about the deeper nature of life, spirit, suffering, and love. To illustrate the theme of our discussion, I shared a dream I had a few years ago when I was fighting a court battle to save my foster children. In the dream, I saw my adversaries standing in a line on the other side of a field, firing guns and grenades. Hatred burned in their eyes as they tried desperately to kill me. At first, I hid behind a brick wall, but the Voice told me, "Don't be afraid. They cannot hurt you..." I emerged from my hiding place and stood with my arms open wide in a gesture of ultimate surrender. I felt the bullets passing through my body like a breeze; completely harmless. I stood triumphant and free.
I thought the dream meant I would win the court battle for my children. I lost.
I was devastated to lose my children, and my faith was deeply fractured. Many times I felt like shaking my fist to the heavens and crying to God, "You said they couldn't hurt me!" How many nights did I weep for everything I lost? It's too much to recount.
Even though I passed through what Francesca called the "Dark Night of the Soul," as the pain began to heal, I felt the whisperings of spirit return slowly to my heart and reveal a deeper level to my experience: "Nothing real is ever lost." The outward appearance of my life changed dramatically as a result of their evil designs, but on the level of Ultimate Reality, nothing changed. Nothing those people did to my family changed the love we feel for one another. Nothing they did changed who we really are to one another: A FAMILY.
From that experience, I realized the whole collection of human suffering serves a deeper purpose than I ever before imagined. If nothing real is ever lost, then all the suffering, injustice, genocide, and death of the human experience must have served a higher good. If we could see with spiritual eyes, perhaps we would see nothing but LOVE from all the ones we "lost."
Our conversation reminded me of the Ghost Dancers of the 19th Century. History tends to depict them as delusional fanatics who believed their painted ghost shirts would protect them from the white man's bullets, but maybe they embraced a deeper truth. Maybe they discovered the ultimate freedom from suffering and the absolute knowledge that nothing real is ever lost. Maybe they found LIFE through the ritual of the Ghost Dance, even as the bullets destroyed their physical form. I can't say for sure, but I have to believe they were wiser than the portrayals of history. They knew something we have yet to see.
In honor of our deep connection and yesterday's conversation, Francesca gifted me with this rock depicting a Ghost Dancer. I receive her gift with gratitude and honor.