I had a full day. Places to go and things to do. Family matters. Writing, both scripts and blog/letters. I got up and stretched and retrieved a cup of fresh brewed tea. When I sat back down, I couldn't quite shake the growing fatigue. As I occasionally do, I laid my head down on my arms and dozed. Quick naps get me through the night.
As I drifted, I heard a whisper.
I rolled my head and tried to resettle.
This time, more insistent.
I raised my head halfway and opened my eyes slightly. What I saw made me sit up straight and focus.
Before me was a young woman. She was strikingly beautiful. Long shoulder length hair fell to her shoulders. It was pale, what we called towheaded. Her face was porcelain and the features seemed delicate. But underneath there was a strength that bespoke resolve. Most noticeable were her eyes.
Compelling, crystal blue, they radiated and instead of piercing, they enveloped warmly.
Her gown was floor length, dark blue, like velvet with long sleeves. It seemed medieval/Celtic and plain except for what appeared to be little symbols round her neck.
Most unusual was the sword she cradled in her arms. It was brilliant, like silver and seemed alive with light.
"Michael", she said again, this time clear and musical, "I have a Gift for you. Before you decide to accept or not, I must explain."
I attempted to speak, but she smiled and bade me quiet with a finger to her lips.
"There is a choice you must make. You alone must determine if you are ready. We believe you are. But we cannot force you to agree."
I nodded, yet didn't utter a sound. There was something warm and trusting about this young woman. I listened.
"We offer you this sword". She held it up slightly as it continued to almost vibrate with light.
Before I could answer, she said, "The Republic is dying. The Dream of your Fathers is almost over. We offer you Hope." She lifted the sword higher. "With Hope comes Assurance." She skillfully swept the sword down and guided it through the air as though it had a life of its own. It seemed, and it could be I misheard and did not see clearly, that the sword appeared to dance and sing. A perfect weapon. She wielded it so skillfully, belying her delicate appearance.
"With Hope comes responsibility", she replied as she returned the sword to the cradle of her arm.
"Your Fathers AND Mothers risked much, risked all. Many paid the ultimate price. Blood tears sweat despair were their constant companions, including death. From far and near they gathered and gave you something that can only be surrendered if you let it be so. And many in turn have betrayed that gift. The trust has been seduced, suborned. The gall is great. The Light is fading. But it is NOT dead." She smiled as though for whom she spoke.
"This sword", she swept it forward and down, "can go right into the cave of darkness, right into the throat of evil. It can pierce the heart of false light. Those who have betrayed the Light and have embraced false light will pay. Their oaths are null and void. Many who have sworn have been betrayed. All who follow the Light of Freedom have been sold into slavery. Many who say they are of the Light are lying. Brother will turn against brother. The sword will tell."
"None are perfect. But there are those who compromise their work. There are those who willfully forego what was given them. Their delusion is great. They move amongst people and seem the same. They have sold their humanity. They have betrayed sacred trust. Yet they are delusional. They 'think' they are right and better than the Light. Yet they still deliver death to Freedom, and thus, the Light dims."
"The sword will point to the Truth." She pointed it at me. I felt shame and burning and wanted to run. I closed my eyes and stayed.
"Oaths sworn and handshakes given, will sometimes be forever riven. But the truth, though misspoken, will shine over all, for weal or woe."
"Will you, Michael, take up the sword? Its way is perilous. However, the rewards are beyond measure. Life comes again to the Republic. Light lives forever in the Republic." Again, she pointed the sword at me. Though I felt pain, I accepted the danger.
She looked at me. Her smile was tempered with gravity, yet it was liberating as well.
I looked at her. Eye to eye. I nodded and reached out.
"Before you take the sword, before you walk the way of the sword, know this", she held back slightly and the heat I felt became somehow instantly cold, lonely, vacuous. "Once taken, you can never let go. If you accept, you can never relinquish. The price is great. Your Forebears paid. This way is fraught with peril. The reward, however, is greater than gold, brighter than diamonds."
She came closer. Somehow, I saw. I KNEW. I was willing to risk all. I was joining something greater than myself, yet it was my essence.
I knelt and held out my hands. This visage came closer and held out that shining blade. A blade that would tell the truth. A blade that would not falter and would empower not just me, but all I touched.
I awoke. And knew what to do. I went about the work given me. The work of Freedom. Pointing forever forward. Cutting to the quick. Inviting others to the same work that awaits us all.
Will you take up the sword as well?