I was a toddler, or a little beyond toddling. And while this is nowadays referred to as a near-death experience, I look on it as a vision because it opened doors in my brain and my heart and my soul, and changed my life significantly. The way I experienced life. The way I understood life. The way I lived life.
Years ago I took the time to describe the vision. It reads:
Her arms lifted slowly from her sides and arced gracefully over her head. Her wrists came together, letting her hands hand like fruit too ripe for the tree. The pink of her tutu suffused her body, so that the color shone from within her. I was completely mesmerized.
One leg bent at the knee, lifted slowly up, pointed out. On her toes, she twirled, bent forward at the waist, then arched back, letting her arms fall loosely at her sides. Alone and complete, she danced her solo ballet for me.
I could feel the strong pull of the gentle, loving glow behind her. Although I was too young to name what it was, I knew instinctively that it was God. I could feel the all-encompassing care and understanding.
Here, I felt completely accepted.
I thought of passing the ballerina by and continuing on into the love, but I couldn’t. I was too awed by her beauty and subtlety. I was frozen by her dance. I was confident there would be plenty of time to watch her and still go into the light.
But there wasn’t.
Instead, I was lifted out of the water on my father’s shoulders and walked toward my mother who sat on the pebbly shore. I could hear my brothers yelling and splashing irreverently behind me. I was back in the real world.
I have been going through a difficult time lately with trying to understand and accept God’s personalized love for me, as opposed to a generalized love for me.
Think of God’s overwhelming love for you, the meditations instruct day after day. Feel God’s love for you filling you up inside.
And I sit and wonder where my perception of this directed love is. And I wonder at how the very individualized events of my life have sculpted my relationship with God into something more akin to a business arrangement than to a loving relationship. Something impersonal. Something distant and unreachable.
And as I bring this distance into focus in my prayers, I remember my first vision. And all the feelings I had during it come back to me.
I can remember the feeling of God’s very individualized love for me soaking into me like the water around me, except that it permeated my every cell, my very essence.
I can remember the feeling of absolute belonging, both to God and to all that which was with him there in the light. There was no sense of separation in any way, no distance, no formality. It was all personal, personal to me, Julia, the little girl, the person.
It was an amazing discovery for me when I opened my grandmother’s jewelry box one day and up rose a small, pink ballerina. She would dance and twirl to the accompaniment of tinkling bells. I spent as much time as I was allowed mesmerized by the little ballerina, reliving my meeting of the ballerina in the light.
In time, I came to understand that she had been there to keep me from going into the light, to keep me from dying.
And even she had been personalized by the love of God for me.
She was something that I personally loved deep in my soul.
The beautiful, pink ballerina who danced for me to keep me alive in this world.
A personal, individualized dance of love for me from God.