Years ago, I stumbled across the idea that our soul, before birth, gets to choose the greatest challenges it will face in it's lifetime. Given my dwarfism and it's accompanying complications, you'd have thought my reaction would've been, HA! What insane HOGWASH!
Instead, I was intrigued.
A friend and I decided we'd name this pre-birthday place, the Spirit Pub. If we had chosen our current life-on-the-rocks, we clearly had had one too many.
Maybe, when we were made of pure star-dust, and blissed out, the wild Earth roller coaster looked so dang appealing! Birth, puberty, love, marriage, divorce, forgiveness, faith, plot-twists, disease, drama, darkness. What a thrill! A reality show to top all reality shows!
So when I bellied up to the Spirit Pub bar, I was ready to take on the cosmos. One glance at the ginormous menu, and I knew. The special of the day stood out in lights: "spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, dwarfism, with a heaping side order of degenerative arthritis."
The tougher the troubles, the greater the glory.
I turned to my guardian angel, already by my side, and said, "I could really sink my teeth into that one."
"Excellent choice," she said, sounding like Glinda the good witch. "Let me fill in some details. At your birth, the gods of medicine will automatically label your creative earth costume as defective, deformed and disabled. You will believe and live their truth for years. There will also be many operations, including two brain surgeries."
I quickly asked to recheck the menu.
But my angel pressed on with such contagious enthusiasm. "This profound human pain . . . will ignite in you such a deep hunger to heal yourself. The darkness will serve as a spiritual springboard to the light. It will catapult you into alternative medicine, nutrition and empowering ways to care for your costume. These remedies will be a bridge back to your remembrance that healing comes from within. Inside you will be the best medicine of all - the choice of where to put your focus: fear or faith."
"Furthermore," she said sweetly, "The doctors won't be the only ones who will take issue with your nonconformities; you will also be a billboard for bullies, strangers, children & adults who will stare, taunt and mock you. You'll be a trigger for their own deep fears of separation and rejection."
"Perhaps I'm biting off more than I could chew," I said.
She remained undeterred. "My dear, your belief that you are isolated from the world will stir in you such a longing for love and connection. Because you will not be able draw that acceptance from the outside, you will at last turn your focus inside. That is where the memory will dawn - darkness is not a punishment or an accident. It is your soul's creative catapult back into the remembrance that you are Light. And so is everyone else."
"So you're telling me," I asked, "that I can't lose in the end?"
"What the human believes is a loss, the soul experiences as a gain. Your family," she added, a soft pink glow around her, "will be the loving bedrock of your identity. They will not be distracted by your differences and will see and love you for who you really are."
Yay, good news at last!
"Out of respect and love for you, however, they will err on the side of silence about your dwarfism and it's challenges. You will misinterpret that silence as shame."
"Your heartbreak will awaken in you such a desire to express yourself. When you turn your focus toward that, it will launch you into true heart to heart communication, through art, writing, speaking and being."
"Isn't it ideal?" she beamed. "Silence leads to communication. Isolation leads to reunion. Physical pain leads to spiritual healing. Are you beginning to see the sacred love story of opposites?"
I was. From a distance, it did seem rather remarkable.
"There is one last thing, my dear," my angel added, "It is very important. You know everything we've been discussing? . . . You are going to forget all of it."
I sighed. "That part, I kinda know. Because if I remembered that I was eternal love, that no harm could ever come to my spirit, then the earth journey would be like 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey' without the blindfold, or 'Hide and Seek' without a place to hide. We choose the body-blindfold to make it a really gutsy game. It's a global treasure hunt where the gems are hidden within."
My angel shimmered. "The wounds of your forgetting will be temporary, but the joy and wisdom will be yours forever. And remember, my dear, I will be with you at the doorway of birth, I will stay by your side every step of the way, and I will be there when you are ready to lay your body down and come Home. I will never leave you until you have fulfilled your reasons for being."
I looked at my fearless angel and I said, "Bring it on."
Maybe we all did.
Whether or not our soul chooses our circumstances, the belief that our challenges are for us, not against us, is hugely empowering. It's not to blame ourselves or others, ever. It's the opportunity to take any ugliness and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful. To find out what's right with what might feel all wrong.
There's divinity in the darkness ~ may it inspire our brightest light.