The ravens flew above the valley screeching at the emptiness below. It was the calm after the battle that had just ended mere moments ago. Now her tired blue eyes did one last look as the storms inside them gathered ready to pour out the tears forming in her soul. The black cloak that was meant to protect her from the elements of war was tattered and useless to what was waiting for her in the end. The only useful bit of fabric was left to cover her brown curls poking out the frazzled bits around her face.
This was how it all started.
She will make this journey a hundred lifetimes. It was passed down to her through her mother, who got the cloak from her mother, and so on. It will be brought back to what remains of the village and given to her small blue-eyed child waiting for her mother’s safe return.
This is how the story always starts.
I can’t tell you how many lifetimes ago that was, because it never seems to end.
The battle still rages on wards and upwards. The dream is always the same. A dream I have had since I was a little girl. The woman with the stormy blue eyes, black cloak, and battlefield full of screeching ravens. At least, I always felt it was a dream.
When I was given the fabric that was once my mother’s it never occurred to me that the story was true. Sure, I always found it odd that every woman in my family has bouncy brown hair and dark blue eyes. I heard the story of the battle woman my whole life from my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. It just always sounded like nonsense to me. That was when I was one of those doubters who didn’t want to fill out the forms.
Who Am I?
It is always a mystery to share your story with the world. You never know if they are going to believe it or not. I bet most of you probably think that the waiting room isn’t real, and I’m not real, and none of what I am saying is real. I used to be one of you. Then my mind was awoken, my heart was open, and my soul cried out a thousand tear-soaked sobs.
We all fight a battle every single day. Most of us never get the privilege of physically seeing it. We just go about our days thinking it’s no big deal. We have this feeling that some days are worse than others, but there will be a rainbow to come out and shine all our problems away. However, it appears that the battle rages on and once you have seen the wages of sin span generations it leaves a mark.
Long ago my ancestors started a battle in a valley for their soul. They declared this battle to be a great victory and moved on after the screeching ravens saw that it had been finished. What they didn’t understand or failed to notice was that this battle had just started. It would rage on and on and on for many centuries.
I am the last of my kind. I have no heir to take on the cloak after me. The battle has fallen on my shoulders. I have no husband to help comfort me when things get hard, or to tell me I am losing my mind and the battle isn’t real. I just have a small piece of fabric handed to me by a loving mother.
Before I went on to the valley to declare my own part of the battle legacy, I was just a girl. I was a girl living in the world you all live in. I had all the same hopes and dreams you all have. I was glad to have friends, family, a home, and a purpose of some kind. However, there was always something in the back of my heart that wouldn’t let go.
It was one dark night when I first visited the spiritual emergency room. I was just a teenager who had come to terms with some of my personal demons. I had many at that point, and they were just getting started with me. It was fear that ruled me back in those days. I needed a large dose of faith. The spiritual emergency room had plenty of those vaccines on hand in those days.
At first, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I was never one to read my Bible, go to church, or even get all excited about things. I had been hurt too many times by so-called Christians. I saw this as just another publicity statement. Come on in and we will give you a dose of perfect, so you can be good enough for the Lord Almighty instead of the trash heap you are.
The first pile of forms I filled out was brutal as well since it was like filled with personal and unreasonable questions about my life, faith, beliefs, and where I stand. I was in no mood for condescending religious hypocrites. I just wanted to survivor the battle like all those before me and pass the curse to someone else.
Yet, there I was in the infamous waiting room for the first time with my head bowed and blank forms. I heard the familiar childhood Christian songs pumping through the speakers and tried my best to tune them out. It was all just a bunch of lies. I was never going to be forgiven for all my crimes. I was just worthless and beyond saving. I had the generations curse and the black cloak had been shredded so much over the centuries there was none left to protect me.
There was someone who had been in this situation before many times. They were one of the old souls who knew this waiting room, and the rules here very well. It was in their heart to come over and talk me through it. They placed a compassionate hand on my trembling shoulder, and asked if they could listen to my fears, pain, and concerns.
It was done in good faith. Looking back, I can tell you that person was kind. At that moment I was filled with such anger over the abuse and betrayal of religious people that I just wanted them all to go away. I snapped at the person to leave me alone. I was not going to put up with another fake Christian.
If you read “The Waiting Room” then you know that we are at the crossroads now. I have shared with you how I am now one of the regulars. I have been here many times before. I am ready for soul surgery. Does this mean my battle has been won? Does this mean I laid down my family’s cloak? Does this mean that I am not going to fight?
Passengers of Time
In order to fully understand my story, you need to understand time. Time is a funny thing. It flows so naturally like a stream. There are echoes of it in past, present, and future that are around us every second of every day. Yet, most of are keen on wasting it as much as possible. We are scared of time as if it is the monster that lurks in the shadows of our most horrid nightmares.
For my ancestors time is the one taking the wheel, and we are the loyal passengers. We let it guide us to the places we need to be in order to keep the legacy alive. It is not just something we talk about as a non-entity. It is something very real and consuming as it takes control of everything we do.
I learned the importance of time at a very young age from my mother’s stories. They were the same stories her mother shared with her. It was something that always kept me fascinated with the stormy blue-eyed lady on the battlefield.
We can’t be the keepers of time. We can’t be the keepers of light. We can’t be the keepers of souls. We can’t be the keepers of hope. However, we can be the keepers of legacy. That is perhaps why this curse or tradition or what have you has been so important to my family. It is the only thing we can do in this chaos.
If the battle is my legacy and the only thing I can control in this chaos I wasn’t going to let down hundreds of years of powerful strong women. After all there was still a tiny piece of cloak left. I could use it to honor those who fought, lived, fought, and lived on that battlefield. It is all on me now. I am the last of my kind.
My tired eyes look down at the valley. It is all as I pictured it in my dreams. I know how those dreams are visions. I know now that God gives me visions for a reason. I know a lot of things now that I have opened my heart to faith. I take the tiny piece of cloak that is left, and I notice that it is forming in my hands as a full cloak. It is made new before my eyes. At this moment I take a deep breath of gratitude to my Heavenly Father. It is the protective cloak made for the first of us that will now protect the last of us.
The ravens are nowhere to be seen in the cloudy skies, so I know they are waiting for me. They are waiting for the battle to be over. A steady white horse appears behind me with a thunderous cry. I know without word that horse is for me. I pull myself on her back with a purpose. It is time now since I have what I need to rage this battle in the valley of my ancestor’s war.
I see hundreds maybe thousands of enemy soldiers gathering in force to destroy me. I am in this battle with my protective cloak and white horse. I am no longer afraid, and I know now that my mother’s stories are real. I can’t focus on the numbers against me. I keep my eyes to the one who is with me.
I give out a loud battle cry and charge into the sea of fierce soldiers masked with evil intent. The pain of sharp swords pierce me, and I can feel the warm blood trickle down my skin. It is not going to stop me. The horse remains sturdy beneath me as we continue to charge. The other side of the battlefield is my destination. It is the place I always knew was safe from all the evil trying to destroy me. It is the place of peace. It is my place of rest.
Nothing stops me as I claw, dig, shout, scream, and charge my way to the safe place. My heart is beating so strong in my chest it threatens to burst. My skin is covered in warm thick blood. My faith cannot be shaken. My horse is feeling the pain of a thousand swords as well, but nothing stops her loyal heart from reaching the other side. We will make it.
The ugly words they say cut as sharp as the swords they use on my flesh. The words I have heard my entire life. The words told to me by people who don’t care about the lasting pain. The depression is a nasty gash. He comes at me over and over again with an axe. I see that hatred and despair are teaming up to attack me in the midst of sorrow and doubt. It is all coming at me so fast and without mercy. The ugly hateful entities that have been attacking me and building up for this final battle. The miserable horrid creatures that have been plaquing me my entire life are all here cutting me with sharp swords and digging at my heart with double edged words. I am getting so tired.
I can feel the life draining from my body and I am not to the safe place yet. I have collected so much of this judgement of myself over the years. I have piled so much onto myself. I focused on how unkind and cruel the world was to me, that I forgot to be kind to myself. I forgot that kindness starts with oneself. You need to stop creating monsters in your life that you will have to battle later on in the final battle of your life.
All the ugly words, depression, despair, hate, judgement, torment it will all be there waiting on the battlefield to haunt you. It will all be there to cut you with sharp swords.
I thought I was dead. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. My loyal white horse was close by. I could hear the shallow breathing of her tired soul. I understood that I had dragged her into my battle. It was in this moment I felt compassion for my faithful friend. My cloak was all tattered and covered in blood.
Whatever strength I had left in my body I used to push myself up off the ground. It dug into my hands with such cruelty. I winced at the pain that surged through my body. Pain is good, pain means you are alive. That caused a tiny smile to form on my lips.
My horse was my number one concern. I checked her before I checked myself to see if she was okay. It turns out she was not as bad as I thought. I was noticing the deep gashes were starting to heal. This caused me to check my own body. Yes, as I thought my wounds were healing too. The cuts and gashes from the enemy were all closing up. With a deep breath that pained my bruised ribs I climbed to look out at the battlefield. Just as the story foretold. The ravens all came to fly around the empty field, and that could be heard in that moment was their screeching. My tired eyes searched one last time as the stormy brown eyes began to form tears that would soon pour down my face.
It was the final battle of a long war.