In 1991, I was very poor but was working in a field that I completely loved: planning and leading groups of Westerners to the Soviet Union for homestays to meet the Russian and Ukrainian people. There was no money in it, but I adored everything about the life I led. When I was spending multiple weeks within the USSR, traveling about on trains, having great adventures with small groups of dear and spiritual friends, and making more deep friendships wherever we went, money was not the criteria for a happy life.
I had no income then and would leave the country for weeks at a time to lead these Citizen Diplomacy tours. I knew that I was doing God’s Will and that the friendships forged between former Soviets and Americans would help to heal our divisions and bring about world peace. That was worth all of the income and security in the world.
Exactly eighteen years ago this month, I had this Vision and recorded it in my journal on October 23, 1991:
“I had a Vision, a glimpse of reality, last night… a very powerful image. After I went to bed, I did suffer butterflies reacting to the tangible reality that I soon won’t be able to write a check, that my credit card will shut down when I don’t make the payments. I have no foreseeable income, and I’m going away for a month to let it all crash.
I said lots of private prayers about teaching me reliance on God, alone. Sometime in the night, I had this glimpse: It was of a knight mounted on his horse in full regalia, moving smoothly through the forest. The horse was finely outfitted, as if for a tournament, with silver and heavy brocade trappings. The forest was filled with mist and grey, bare trees. The ground was covered with wet leaves. The knight and the horse made no noise and all noise. The sound and power which accompanied this warrior was immense, like a freight train locomotive, from a distance of ten inches. And yet, there was a hushed silence.
It had an endless dimension, as if he were a whole army of knights contained in one form. In spite of the masculine image, I knew that he was ME, riding forth. I wasn’t in battle yet, but I was approaching the field, calmly and alone…and yet, accompanied with, surrounded by, made up of, something enormous. I felt as if the Hosts of Heaven, 10,000 Troops, were in my one body. The movement was even and steady, neither slow nor fast. The horse walked, but did not deliberately pick its way over the soft leaves. It proceeded forward with this impact of power all around it.
I interpreted this to mean that I was on my way to the challenge but that I had not reached the open field when the time would come to ride forth swiftly. However, I could see that I was approaching it with all deliberation, and that I had the strength to do justice to the day.”
I managed to continue doing that work for another three years, in one form or another; dirt poor the whole time, but happy. I’ve never forgotten that Vision of looking at myself moving on horseback through the forest, and once, I came upon an illustration in a magazine of that very scene, as if to remind me of that promise.
What is completely forgotten are the money problems of the time. They really weren’t “problems,” though they included a bankruptcy almost ten years later. I don’t remember those little details.
But, I do recall The Vision, as if it were yesterday. I understand it much better now, almost twenty years later. I have ridden, flat out, but serenely, across those fields. Maybe, I’m approaching more up ahead somewhere. Wouldn’t that be fine?