When you wake this morning & ask
“How much more is required of me?”
“How deep is my soul’s reservoir & what is my tender heart’s capacity?”
Peace will engulf you when you are ready to release that which no longer serves you.
IAM the thorn which pierces the ♥Sacred Heart.
A mystic once told me “Rebecca, endurance is part of your life path….revealing many life lessons for you…. and for others.” Let’s just say I wasn’t very excited about this disclosure. I was sure my lessons of endurance were behind me when I sat before him years ago. Who would intentionally choose endurance as a life path? Certainly I meant a life path of Excellence, or Endearment, or my all time favorite, Ease & Grace. Not happening. Those life paths were being traveled by more fortunate souls.
But as I read this morning the wisdom within the words of this Endurance Card and it’s powerful closing line: IAM the thorn which pierces the Sacred Heart…. The symbolic images within those lines sparked my awareness and I have a sudden deep appreciation of this life path.
What are the ‘thorns’ over the years that have pierced my protected heart? Fear of bleeding, or grieving, or releasing broken dreams. And what gifts of wonder were revealed to me upon its initial piercing?
It was the initiation of the sacred heart.
The Sacred Heart is often portrayed as a flaming heart, pierced by a sword, encircled by thorns and bleeding. It then illuminates Divine rays of light. Often the image is shown shining within the center of Jesus or Mother Mary with hands pointing at the heart. The thorns allude to suffering & the small flame announces the initiation that has begun. The burst of fire engulfing the heart represents the burning away in order to release the transformative power of love. I’ve also seen images of the sacred heart in the Hindu god Hannuman, pulling open his chest to reveal the beloved.
What have been my ‘crown of many thorns’? No need to name them. Naming them creates some kind of useless value system where we rate one more painful than another. But I can share with you that each act of trespass created a new protective wrapping around my heart. And fear that it might happen again, (loss, abuse, rejection, failure) only tightened the barbed wire wrapping. I thought I was being strong, building endurance for life’s repeating challenges. But I was doing just the opposite. I was becoming rigid, too serious, and defensive. And so was my heart.
It began in a most peculiar way…by a stranger whispering into my ear.
I was in Houston for a 2 day work related gathering of Community Outreach Directors from around the state of Texas. My center in San Antonio had surpassed all company records on patient referral / census building for a local hospital. As happy as I was about this, I wanted to move up in the company. I heard they were creating a regional manager/VP position and I wanted it.
Unfortunately, part of the meeting was designed to announce the appointment of a man named Phil, a dear old friend of the CEO’s, as the new regional VP. Disappointed, I felt the rest of that day drag by.
On Sunday, we prepared to leave and the new VP, along with the other company executives, lined up at the exit door to wish us well as we returned to our various hometowns. Phil was the first to shake hands to each of the Outreach Directors…..I was last in line. As the group dwindled and I approached Phil, something strange happened.
Standing in front of him to say my goodbyes and congratulatory wishes, he gently pulled my shoulders close and whispered into my left ear.
“Something wonderful is about to happen to you. Something extraordinary and wonderful.”
As he softly released my shoulders, he looked into my eyes and with a knowing smile, he nodded to me. I returned his nod and moved on to say my good byes to the others and make my way out of the building. I walked slowly to my car feeling strange and a bit confused. I wondered what he meant when he said, ‘something wonderful is about to happen to you.” What was he trying to convey to me and why? I had never met this man before this weekend. How could he know something was about to happen to me?
I had no idea those words whispered into my ear would begin my initiation into a life transformation on so many levels. My understanding & comprehension of the world would never be the same. My 5 senses would expand to include intense colors & refined sounds leading to instant clarity. Often I watched energy move in & out of everything around me. I entered a place of no time & space and maintained infinite patience. My heart overflowed with love for every living creature & our planet. And the most beautiful writings and sacred texts from ancient scriptures were suddenly alive with meaning. I was ushered into an expanded state of being…..but at a great human cost.
I arrived home in time to join my husband and two young daughters for dinner. I missed them so very much. The next day, after checking in on the office, I decided to take the rest of the day off and catch up at home. It was a beautiful May day and I cherished spending time alone while everyone else was about their day.
Searching through my cramped bedroom closet for something to wear, I became frustrated and decided it was time to store my husband’s winter clothes for the season. I fetched a large plastic tub from storage and began sorting his winter sweaters. One by one, I carefully folded each garment as I gazed through a large bedroom window. Outside were towering oak and pecan trees swaying in a light breeze. I distinctly remember thinking to my self how much I loved those trees, and this little 1930’s cottage home. A feeling of deep appreciation welled up within me at that moment when suddenly I was being whooshed through a long tunnel. I was perfectly conscious of this experience…no daydream or imagination taking place. I was physically being pulled. The speed of the images surrounding me encased my body in a blur of sound and colors. My body could feel the acceleration yet I was not afraid. As the travel through the tunnel finally ceased I found myself in my same bedroom folding clothes and putting them away into that large tub. But this time something was drastically different.
I was no longer folding my husband’s clothes for the season…I was folding his clothes for the very last time, preparing them to be given away. He had died months earlier.
The realization that he was gone swept over me like a rush of electricity. I seemed to be in both my past, future and present self at the exact same moment. How could this be? My heart seemed to stop as I dropped what I was folding and covered my face in agonizing grief. ‘He is dead’, I said out loud. He is gone forever. I let out a cry and crumbled to the bed.
At that moment, what can only be described as a cloak of Christed comfort, a warm loving essence, slowly wrap around me. I was engulfed in a feeling of deep peace when I heard these words,
“All is well. Peace be with you. All is in the highest good.”
Within that embrace of knowing “All is well” surrounding me, I began to travel back through the tunnel and within moments I was standing again in my bedroom at the exact place I had been when this stretch through time and space had begun. As strange as this may sound, a new awareness within me stepped forward and understood. With no attachment to the event, I continued folding Robert’s clothes and putting them away.
Who within me understood? Who had orchestrated this mystical flight from the present to the possible future and why?
The next day I chose not to say anything to Robert about what happened. I didn’t doubt what took place, I just couldn’t grab hold of what had occurred….and how was I to share with him such a disturbing experience of his death? Instead I was prompted to head to a local book store in search of a book one of the Houston participants has referred to me. It was “Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukoff.
With book in hand I returned home around 2:00 and was met by my frantic housekeeper: “Something is wrong Rebecca. Mr. Robert left this morning but he came back and seemed very strange to me. He went into the bedroom for a while, then came out preparing to leave again. He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Take good care of my children Sylvia,‘ then left carrying only his orange backpack”.
“Did he say where he was going Sylvia?”
“No. But he looked strange to me, not himself. I’m worried.”
I grabbed my purse and turned to Sylvia as I walked back out the door, “I think I know where he went. If I’m not back tonight, can you take care of the girls for me? Tell them I will be home in the morning. I think he went to the ‘hill’.
My mind began whirling, connecting this moment to the experience from the day before. Was it unraveling before me as foretold? Something inside of me knew what was taking place but my mind kept fighting it. I wondered if I could I reach him in time. Could I intervene? Of course! Thats why I was taken down that tunnel…so I could reach him in time. There could be no other reason.
The ‘hill’ was a 30-acre retreat about an hour north of San Antonio we had purchased a few years back. We had a small abode on the top which had lovely views of the rolling hill country. An enormous oak tree crowned the top. I knew this is where I would find him.
The sun was slowly making its decent in my rear view mirror as I raced along the country dirt roads to reach him. There was a moment when I prayed, ‘Please don’t let me find him in a car accident’… Oh please let me find him alive’. I had been re-living the experience from yesterday: folding his clothes after a funeral that had transpired months ago, preparing them to be given away. How could this be real? How is that I’m so aware of everything? It’s as if I’m in an unfolding story with full conscious awareness, fighting to change the ending.
I could see the gate to our property just up the hill. The chain that usually secured it was dangling. Relieved, I whispered to myself…’He’s here’. A slow turn, then jumping out to open the gate, I breached the hill and saw his silhouette in the sunset sitting under the old oak tree. I long sigh followed as a wave of relief washed over me. I made it in time.
He was wearing his favorite summer hat, a light weight panama with a wide brim. As I moved toward him in the tall grasses, he slowly turned to face me.
“Robert, are you alright?
“I’m always better Rebecca when you’re with me”.
From that point forward we talked for hours upon hours. In the dark of the evening, under the canopy of an ancient oak tree, I became his witness, his invitation for confession and his compassionate companion. He shared with me how he wished he had been a better father. That he really wanted to be a screen writer instead of an attorney. We even joked about opening a chain of BBQ stands and how that would have brought him greater joy than the courtroom. His heart’s greatest desires and regrets spilled out before me with no abashment nor self-editing. My only choice was to listen with every part of my being to my husband’s deep well of sadness and remorse for a life lived with little true happiness or authenticity. I don’t believe I have ever been more intimately connected to any human being before that night. Exhausted by the heavy emotional release, we both retreated for sleep.
The Texas morning sun blazed through the small camper window and yanked me awake into a new day. Scrambling for my jeans & T-shirt I muttered to Robert, ‘Dear God it’s 6:30 and I need to connect with the kids and be at work by 8!’ He quietly replied to me, ‘Yes, yes, we both need to get going.’ I sat down next to him and held his hands. ‘Are you better this morning? You know how much I love you and will always be here to support you.’ He gave me one of his famous smiles and said he was much better and that I better get going. That he would lock up and be behind me shortly.
As I settled into my car I rolled down the window for one more farewell and noticed he had lifted the back hatch of my van and tossed in his orange back pack.
“I’ll wait for you ok?”
“No, no…you go ahead. I won’t be long.”
Following a long deep visual embrace, I said, “I love you Robert.”
“I love you too.”
As I drove off that morning, I watched him fade in my rear view mirror. There was still an air of sadness around him, but I shook it off wanting to believe his parting words were true. He was going to be ok. My last image of Robert was of him standing in the doorway watching me drive away and a faint wave before he disappeared from view.
Navigating the winding dirt road, I drove extra slow to give him time to catch up. Looking back every few moments for his car, I brushed away thoughts from the morning before when I had been swept down that tunnel. Things had changed, I thought to myself, he is better now. My mind chatter droned on when a very loud bang broke into my thoughts. Something in the far distance, maybe a hunter’s shot gun or a farmer’s work in progress. I stopped the car and realized it was not hunting season and thought I should go back to see what that sound was when I heard a powerful voice within me say,
“You must go on, there is no returning…You must go forward.”
Something inside of me pulled me back into the car and onward down the highway. For the next 45 minutes I was numb yet alert. I made it to my office, but was not present. My mind was shuffling images and thoughts before me like a slide projector.
The tunnel experience & folding of his clothes for the last time months after he died. The commanding inner voice announcing, ‘All is in the highest good’. The night on the hill and the transformative power of compassinote witnessing. The saying good by. The loud bang and then again the voice saying to me, ‘You must go forward.‘
I couldn’t stay in the office, I had to leave now. A realization that Robert may have died this morning was taking me over and I didn’t want to hear those words in my office. I fled. I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew I had to leave. Within a few hours, my assistant called me to let me know a highway patrolman had come by looking for me.
I don’t remember how long I have been driving around before I decided to take refuge at Robert’s former law office. He had a few dear friends there I knew could help me. Upon arrival the receptionist lead me to the law library to wait. Within minutes a young lawyer who had been very close to Robert walked in. I told him what I believed was happening and asked him to make the call I couldn’t do.
Shaking, I watched him as he spoke with an officer. He turned his back on me and then I knew. I just needed to hear the words. He turned to face me and softly said,
“He’s gone Rebecca.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
IAM the thorn which pierces the ♥ Sacred Heart
This story of my husbands sudden death was the beginning of my initiation into the Sacred Heart. For decades I had wrapped my heart over and over again with fibrous strands of protection. I thought I was making myself more invincible to my fears. I had stood up to a lifetime of struggles and trespasses, each one representing another required wrapping of protection. My shield of armor burst wide open that day in his law office. My heart was shattered with those words, ‘He’s Gone Rebecca’, and there was no where to retreat or effort to repair my bleeding heart. A life time of endurance made way for a sudden total surrender …. allowing a great sea of peace to rush in. I plunged into a place I had never heard of before. The state of intolerable Grief & Ecstasy at the same moment.
“Something wonderful is about to happen to you, something extraordinary.”
The Emerging Soul Cards allude to who’s voice I heard in my bedroom & on that dirt road. Perhaps even who was really whispering to me through Phil at the Houston gathering. Something wonderful was happening to me…and it came through the piercing of both my beloveds & my heart.