One year later...

It has been a year since the funeral. It has been a year since I resumed my journey. On January 3, 2003 they buried Christina, an event that changed my life, although they didn't really bury her. Something happened during her death experience as a five year old with terminal cancer. That something convinced her that being buried or cremated would negatively impact her journey. She recovered from the cancer then, knowing it would return, and when it did she gave specific instructions to be buried above ground.

At first her inspiration came in the form of demonstrating that life here is temporary and we must make the most of what time we have. Then she came to me in a vision, showing me that the road does not end with death. I already knew these things, but I preferred not to think about them. She was restored to her full beauty in death and ran playfully through a field of purple flowers.

Later, she would speak to me while I was driving home from the funeral. "I'm with the angels. It is beautiful here."

A year later, what have I learned? Perhaps too much. I've hit another down phase where I must rest and collect my energy. I have retreated temporarily, but this period will not last for long. I have reached a level of empathy where I can feel what others are feeling all too well and it is making me forget what I feel. I've started processing emotions like some kind of robot. I feel what people close to me are feeling and then attempt to respond in a way that will give them warmth or reinforcement. I do not know how I feel about anything anymore, and that is why I must retreat for the moment.

Then I begin to wonder, is it even possible for me to retreat, even temporarily at this point? I talked to my brother and my two nephews over the holidays. My nephew Alex is autistic. He is high functioning and very intelligent, but he simply cannot comprehend the collective reality. It makes no sense to him. He has always seemed to connect with me on another level. When his brother handed him the telephone to talk to me, he said, "Uncle Keith, I have to tell you something. The princess is in the castle and if you don't go get her, the dragon will get her." Following that outburst, he wandered back into the house. See, on my brother's cell phone if you are inside their house the signal breaks up, so everyone goes outside to talk. Not Alex. He sees no point in standing outside in the cold to talk. He'll go back inside, even if he can no longer hear the person on the other end. So, I get five minutes of static until his mother takes the telephone from him. "You have to go outside to talk, Alex, or Uncle Keith can't hear you." These are the first words I hear after five minute of static, followed by, "I like to talk on the phone inside."

"Is he playing some kind of fantasy game on the computer or something?"

"No, he's playing with his brother's trucks."

One might think I would interpret this as a sign that I needed to go forth and save the princess. Actually, that would be quite silly since this is all I ever really try to do. The kid is in tune with things beyond our comprehension and he is never terribly obvious, so most people just stare slack-jawed at him. He's pointing out my greatest weakness. If there is a princess in a tower and she's in trouble, my white horse is parked in the barn ready to saddle up.

And maybe it isn't a weakness. Maybe it is the whole point. The road behind me and the road ahead is littered with lost princesses, most of whom have wandered off and tried to set up camp in the brambles.

There once was a man who loved a woman so deeply that he would save the entire world if it were the only way to save her.

That is my true weakness, or perhaps my strength. There is no black and white, only shades of gray, and everything depends on perspective.