There are days you know will change your life and nothing will ever be the same. You can feel the energy building, passion for what you do rising, and excitement for what the day may bring (and possibly a bit of panic,) reaching a crescendo. I knew this day I was going to meet someone important from a long ago past life. Then, he was Henry and I was Elizabeth. Now I knew we had a connection with war. I already had a good idea of what our souls had agreed to do in this life and felt we had done most of the work. Elizabeth told me bits of their life together in stories I wrote over the summer.
I woke up that morning early with the intention of driving the hour to Amsterdam and having breakfast at the hotel where I was going to stay that evening. As I prepared to leave I was both excited and anxious for the day. I told myself to calm down, it was just another speaking engagement and I have given this talk a bazillion times and it was all going to be fine.
The universe laughed and said,
‘Yes but you know this is not just an ordinary speaking engagement. This is no ordinary day and the people you meet will change your life.’
I was grateful for the hour drive, alone in the dark, to Amsterdam. It gave me time to clear the anxious energy and settle down. I enjoyed a nice breakfast and made my way to the CRASH ’40-’45 Museum where I was to speak later. There I met two people from the past. Henry and a soldier I took care of in another life during a war.
The soldiers I have cared for as a WWI nurse or in other lives, show up all the time. I recognize their energy by their behavior which is always very sweet and kind. Quietly wishing them light and love and releasing them allows both our souls to be at peace. And one thing I learned on this trip is I have carried through thousands of lifetimes, the heavy guilt of not being able to save so many of the soldiers. Sometimes their bodies and sometimes also their souls. Little did I know the healing and release that was about to come for all of us in a most unexpected place.
The energy at the museum that morning was crazy and I’m sure my energy just added to it. While there weren’t a lot of people from the museum there when I arrived, there seemed to be a lot of voices. The bell over the door kept ringing when someone opened it. It felt like too much all at once in a small space. But I kept clearing the energy and breathing deeply and after a few hours and before I spoke, it died down a bit.
I had a wonderful tour of the museum given to me by Ed the museum coordinator. He showed me the main highlights of the collection and told me a lot about the history of the WWII air war in the area. We had a light lunch and then prepared for the program.
Once the program began, the energy died down. The room was ¾ filled with people who wanted to learn more about researching American soldiers. My talk was similar to my program, “The Day That Lived in Infamy” which I give at home. In all my programs I tell stories rather than run down a dry list of facts and figures. Stories capture people’s imaginations. Stories make people THINK and FEEL something. The main difference between my talk in Europe and the one at home is the ending.
At the end of my program in Europe I read the final pages of Michael Kokoska’s story from my book, Stories of the Lost. The end of the story could apply to anyone’s soldier, any war, any time period, because Michael’s father talks about his son coming home after the war. Not walking off the train, but in a flag draped casket. The story allows us to see how connected we are regardless of time and place. It brings to life the very real pain and love this father felt for his son and his sacrifice. And it provides an example of how you can take all the research and put it into something people will remember.
When I was finished reading Michael’s story, many people were crying. Breaths were held and I had to tell the audience to breathe. The impact was made.
The last of my afternoon at the museum was spent meeting people, selling and signing books, and seeing the larger pieces (an airplane!) in the other part of the museum. Then it was off to the hotel to have a bit of quiet time and freshen up so I could spend the evening in Amsterdam!
My evening in Amsterdam was a night I will never forget. As I stood at the bar in an old pub in Amsterdam drinking a Trappist beer, marveling at how incredible my life is, I almost had to pinch myself repeatedly to make sure I was really there. The rest of the night, well let’s just say it was amazing, and I found a lot of crocodiles and peace on my journey through ancient streets and canals.
© 2015 Jennifer Holik