Before I continue, I need to tell you about something life-changing that happened to me when I was twenty-five.
As I mentioned in a previous chapter, I consider myself a Native American Spiritual these days, but I was raised Christian. Seventh-Day Adventist, to be exact. Adventists are bible-based. They believe in the Saturday Sabbath, the resurrection, and that the dead stay dead. No such thing as ghosts.
I was naturally a spiritual child, and I can tell you with all honesty that amazing things have happened to me (and my family) regularly since I was young.
But when I was eleven, I started to struggle with the true identity of God. I knew He existed. I had felt His energy and even briefly communicated with Him since I was four years old.
What I felt, without a doubt, was that He was loving and kind, not angry or judgmental. His energy felt fatherly to me – not the type who yells, hits, or withholds affection, but the type of dad who listens and hugs you after a bad day at school or talks your Mom into easing up on the no-sugar rule this week, since the kiddo had such a hard day. Let’s go get ice cream!
Words are powerful. They can pull you up to great heights, or they can shatter your world.
When I was eleven, one of my older sisters shattered mine. I walked into a room and found her crying. When I asked what was wrong, she said she was worried she wasn’t going to be allowed into Heaven.
I was confounded. My sweet sister? Not make it to Heaven?
“Why?” I asked her.
Her reply was that she felt like she ate too much.
I was speechless. How could the God that I knew and loved be capable of keeping my sister out of Heaven over something so trivial? She eats one too many doughnuts, and bam! Sorry, lady. Can’t let you through.
That just couldn’t be possible!
But…she was much older than me. She must know something I didn’t, right?
But I didn’t know that at the time.
Over the next few years, I grew more confused and sad. As spiritual as I was, I could not make what I knew of God in my heart match up with the God that people said He was. The Bible was no help either. The horrible things I read in there (mixed in with the good) just made it worse for me.
Add the fact that I was such an unusual person in many ways, and it all amounted to one miserable, confused human. I was at a complete loss.
Finally, when I was twenty-five, I made up my mind. I decided that since I couldn’t make sense of God, I would just give Him up. I stopped talking to Him, stopped praying, and completely ignored my spiritual side.
And what followed was the darkest year of my life. I don’t remember ever feeling so lost and sad.
But one day, something happened that wiped it all away.
I was walking toward the staircase, which led to my bedroom. But as my hand touched the railing, the house around me vanished.
In my mind, I was standing outside, in the middle of a hardened, dry desert. Encircling me was a huge crowd of people. Every one of them was looking straight at me, and all of them wore expressions varying between concern, anger, arrogance, and pity. Some of the more emotional ones even had an arm raised, pointing at me.
Their voices said:
“You are not worthy of God’s love.”
“God will punish you if you act that way!”
“You can’t do that. It’s not normal, and God would not approve.”
“You say you love God, but you don’t even go to church.”
“You are not good enough!”
Then, out of nowhere, the ground began to shake violently. It opened around me, and the crowd of people tumbled down into the black chasm and vanished out of sight.
I stood there on my tiny piece of untouched earth, in awe of what had just happened.
I turned carefully and slowly in a circle. The land was gone not just where the people had been, but everywhere. All except where I stood. I saw nothing but blackness to the end of the Earth and blackness below, where the crowd had been swallowed by the dark.
Then I looked up.
Coming from the sky was the most beautiful, warm, white light I had ever seen, and I recognized it instantly.
It was God, The Goddess, The Father, The Great Spirit, The Source, The Creator, The Universe, The Force that holds everything together.
It was my friend.
And the second I recognized this, the scene in my head vanished. I was back at the foot of the stairs, holding onto the railing.
I gasped and let go. Tears streamed down my face, and I didn’t bother to stop them. I cried with a glorious combination of relief and happiness.
“Thank you,” I said. “I understand now. I know you’re there. Let’s start from scratch, you and me? Teach me about the real you?”
And He did.
Years have passed, but I know I will never stop learning because The Great Spirit is beautiful and complex beyond anything we can imagine.
If only more people understood just how powerful and loving that beautiful light is, maybe there wouldn’t be as much suffering in this world. We suffer because we think we are alone. We suffer because we think we aren’t enough. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Its past time that we realize how valuable we are to the light that holds us all together. We are so much a part of it all that even after our physical death, our spirit keeps on living, loving, learning, and even teaching.
Be still. Listen. Feel.
The light has been there all along.
Just reach for it.
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