After the battle had been fought there was a quiet moment. It was in this moment I recalled the stories told of the safe place. How every single one who fought these battles had to return to the safe place and pass on the cloak to the other.
It was the other half of the story passed down from mother to daughter. Although, in that moment of overcoming great strife I didn’t remember all the details. The darkness that had tried to destroy me on the battlefield clouded my memories. It would take time, but as I have mentioned time is the center of the story.
My noble steed had nuzzled her snout up to my arm, and this indicated the quiet moment was passed. Time to move on and find this place that I had heard so much about it in all the stories. My soul needed repair, and there were no spiritual emergency rooms in this realm. My body was worn, torn, broken, and stumbling as I stepped up to climb on my horse.
It was going to be a long journey.
When you go through a strong spiritual battle like the one, I just conquered you have what is known as the echo effect. It stirs in your soul as you witness the replay of certain moments on the battlefield. The meaning of the battle remains within you. It is not over yet.
Echoes of the battle rage on in my mind. The words continue to attack me when my heart feels heavy. A warrior’s strength rests in the knowledge that the battle is as much in the mind, soul, and heart as it is the body. My horse breaths heavy under me as we gallop down the grassy field towards a place of hope, peace, and safety. It is this hope that casts the shadows away.
The sounds around me are muted by the echoes inside my head. It is my job to make those echoes go away, so I hum the songs of my childhood. The songs I tried to tune out in The Waiting Room. It is those songs that bring me comfort as we make our way to an unknown place.
The density of the vast green and brown landscape ahead suggests we are in for a struggle. I can see concern in my horse’s big dark eyes as it searches the best route to approach. With a gentle nudge of my heels I guide us to a path. The path has been overgrown for some time. It has been awhile since anyone was here. I imagine this place I am venturing towards has not been cared for in ages. Thoughts enter my mind of the story I was told growing up.
It is clearer now and the echoes are finally silenced. My memories are starting to return of the other side. The story about the safe place, and how I am supposed to go there to heal my soul. The woods are an important part of the journey. It is here we discover the memories of those who went before me.
These old trees have been growing for centuries and the words they speak to me are the words of my ancestors. There is a gentle hum as we walk much slower through the thick trees. I take in all that is around me and notice the true beauty of rays of light poking through lush green giants.
I close my eyes and breath in those rays of light and the sounds of my ancestors follow me. They follow me as if they followed others long ago. We sway to the rhythm of the woods harmony as it shows me glimpses of the past. I see that fierce blue-eyed battle woman from the story. The one my mother always told me about.
I watch as she once entered these woods on her way back to the village. The way back to her little blue-eyed girl. In her walk it is clear that her destination is to get back to her daughter. She has overcome the battle and now it’s time to go home. What will await me on the other side? My walk is not so clear.
On the last rays we notice a large opening that will lead us out of the woods, and out of the blue-eyed woman’s memories. For this I am grateful since the hurt of not having my own family causes a sting of envy. As we enter what appears to be a rather large meadow I shield my eyes from the ever bright sun.
It is a glorious sight to behold in the brilliance of the morning sky. The meadow is filled with all my favorite flowers. Sunflowers pool around the edges. Roses of pink, red, and white blossom in the middle. Lilies are all scattered around taking over the scent of the land. In small gatherings are the orchids that want to have full attention.
This is a beautiful and refreshing piece of paradise and the distant sound of water is welcoming to both our ears. My horse walks carefully to not disturb the majesty of the meadow. It is time for me to rest. We pick a spot among the roses, but close enough to be under the sunflowers. The water makes my dry lips ache. I need to find a way to the sound, so I can restore our strength for the journey.
The stream is close by and offers a cold drink to my fragile body. My fingers grasp my temples and rub out the pain that is forming. After a few more dips in the cold water, my hands clasp some for my horse. This water is unlike anything I have ever tasted before. It is a living water filled with lifeblood.
Night comes shortly after we are settled under the endless sunshine of the meadow’s sunflowers. The moon is a lot bigger in this realm and seems to overtake the sky with a sense of urgency. There are several shooting stars that zip past the moon into the depths of the black sky. It is a sight that takes me to fond memories of my youth.
When we would all go out into the yard and take a sleeping bag to stare up at the stars. In the night sky there is a peace you cannot find anywhere else. It is no wonder I have felt so lost in these past years. It had been ages since I stared into that starry sky.
In my youth we would swim in the cold water close to my home. We would dance in the moonlight of the haunted skies. We would take in the fireflies and pretend they were our special light. We were into exploring the night; for it had held a mystery for us that hadn’t ever been discovered by mankind.
The night offers a different kind of beauty. It can see into your heart. It can tell when you are feeling lost, broken, alone, and afraid. It can give you a shooting star to awaken your childlike wonder. It can brighten the sky with a huge moon that beckons you to come closer. There is a brilliant sincere fulfillment in the night sky.
Now we are on our way towards the safe place once more. I have a sunflower in my horse’s mane and a rose in my hair. We make our way down the hill to a small village.
I assume this is the village mentioned in the story of my ancestors. The village the blue-eyed woman was heading to be reunited with her daughter.
What awaits me in the village?
The closer we get the more I see. The village is made up of a few scattered homes, some markets, and at the end an old white church.
My first thought is this village is abandoned. It is what we call a ghost town. No one is living here anymore. These homes mark the history of a place long forgotten. The church is my main focus. It is the most cared for looking structure in the rustic rundown village.
It is a blinding white with a large red door. It has a bell tower, and the bell is the only noise I am hearing. The rest of this scene is eerily quiet. My horse’s body feels tense as it moves through the haunted images before its path.
My eyes are darting all around me to see if anyone is watching or waiting for my arrival. There is not a soul to be seen or found the closer we get to the church. Maybe they are all in the church. This village has a familiar feeling to it, and I can’t imagine such a sweet feeling to be abandoned.
Time to let my horse take a break as I tie her to the wooden pole outside of the church. My curious mind takes me to the giant red doors. One last glance behind me shows that no one is watching. Time to walk inside.
The church is a familiar home for many. It is a sanctuary for the broken. It is a place to go when you need comfort. For me it was always a mixture of things. At times it was a gentle place of peace. At times it was a judgmental place of pain. This church was not known to me in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense I spent my entire life here.
Within the walls were old wooden pews, giant wooden arched ceilings, stained-glass windows, and an alter with a large wooden cross.
It was a very beautiful church. Not a single soul was inside it but me. I wondered where the people had gone? What happened to this village? What happened to this church?
My weary soul needed a refuel so we sat in the front pew and grabbed one of the black Holy Bibles. I knelt down, holding the Holy Bible close to my chest, and I prayed in silence to my Lord. I prayed that I was on the right path. That this church would be reunited with the lost souls from the village. That the place would find an everlasting hope instead of the obvious sorrow that had plagued it.
I can’t tell you how long I was in that church.
The most basic of human need is hope. Without this we simply cannot exist. We will do just about anything as long as we have it. It sustains us in our greatest sorrows, heals us in our pain, and shelters us in every storm. Hope is the reason I can keep going on this journey.
Hope that one day I will reach the safe place.