Last week at Meeting, we were visited by a woman with a vibrant smile, badly tie-dyed halter top, and bubbly baby boy. Looking into her eyes in worship, I saw how vividly alive she was, how deeply steeped in Light.
I had an appointment after worship. The dear Friend in our Meeting who leads sacred circle dancing for us was going to be out of town for our autumn retreat, and I needed to learn a few dances so that I could try to fill her shoes for the day.
Worship followed by this special kind of dance filled my soul and made me buoyant. I floated out to the fellowship hall, where I decided to engage this woman in conversation. We chatted easily about motherhood, discovering our mutual belief in homebirth, extended breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and homeschooling. Her baby fell asleep at the breast, and she slipped him into the car seat of the van where they were obviously both living.
As we talked, her whole life opened out. She had been a street kid at 15, married young, had three sons with an emotionally abusive man, left him and lost her sons, had a daughter who was currently with relatives, and then had the baby. A tough life, but one that seemed not to have dented her spirit much.
She told me that she was meant to roam the Earth, not to settle in one place. She had a vision of a traveling village, a commune that lived in many vehicles and moved from place to place. She spoke of going from town to town, collecting the street kids and making a safe space for them. She spoke of a fleet of school buses with different functions for the community.
“Whoa,” I thought, “this is starting to sound a little crazy.”
As I continued to listen to her vision, though, I wanted to believe in it. I wanted her to be able to build her traveling village. I wanted her to be able to mother the street kids that she felt a call to care for. I wanted her to be able to honor the calling of her soul, to find a way to live her vision.
Much of the vision was crazy, impractical. Many of the details clearly wouldn't work, but the heart of her vision was pure, clear, and full of Divine Light.
I told her I believed in her vision. I told her I have been called to be a tree, to dig my roots into one place, to intimately know one small space on the surface of the Earth. I told her I would pray for her vision, that she could find a way to make it real, that I would pray for her and her children as well.
She met my gaze, and it was as if the two of us were completely open there, open to one another and open to the Divine Light bathing both of us. We stood a minute in wordless prayer.
“Oh!” she exclaimed suddenly, “You need a token.”
She reached her hand into the chaos of the van and drew out a tiny object. My sense was that she had no idea what she was choosing, that she was letting God guide her hand, that she let God guide her actions. She was a child of faith, living in trust of her own vision of the Divine.
She handed me a tiny object, hard and cool to my touch. I held it in my closed hand, not wanting to break contact with her amazing eyes.
“Thank you,” I said.
We took our leave a few minutes later. Only when I got the object back to my car did I look at it.
It was a tiny glass angel. Every time I see it, it reminds me to send a prayer for Sunny Jean and her vision.
I felt good the rest of the day. It's good to know that there are people like her in the world, people who see a vision, no matter if it is crazy and impractical, and act on it. People who honor the dream in their hearts. We need those people, and we need to let go a little and become more like them ourselves. To trust that small, still, perhaps a bit crazy, voice within us.
Sunny Jean, wherever you are, you are still in my thoughts and prayers.