Have you ever visited a place that somehow felt like you were returning home? I hear this from my clients sometimes and I have experienced it for myself as well. You go on vacation and end up visiting a town or an area that feels like you have been there before. I have heard many people say that it even brings up feelings of homesickness, grief and longing. I had one such experience with a town here in my home state. Lava Hot Springs is a little tiny resort town. People go there to soak in the mineral waters for their restorative properties. There are quaint little old hotels, private hot pools as well as larger public ones and quirky little shops and restaurants.
My mom was an old cemetery aficionado. Any old town that we visited would definitely include a trip to the old cemetery to wander around wonder at the old headstones and soak up the history. We visited Lava Hot Springs for Mother's Day one year and of course she wanted to go to the cemetery. When we got to the cemetery and I got out of the car, the strangest sensation gripped my heart. I realized that I was buried here. I was startled and unsettled by this revelation, but it was clear. My soul knew this place well. I knew that my name had been Sadie. I wanted to find my grave. I wandered and wandered, looking for the right headstone, but I couldn’t find it. I felt like I couldn't leave. In hindsight I realized that my given name may not have been Sadie. That easily could have been a nickname. Our time in the cemetery was cut short by hungry kids and I didn't feel like I ever really received the information that I was looking for. Occasionally I feel drawn back to that cemetery. One of these days I suppose I probably will go back, when I have no time constraints. I would really like to leave a flower on Sadie’s grave.
My connections to Lava Hot Springs did not end there. Several years ago we were visiting Lava for the day and we drove past an old, old boarded up church. I suddenly was flooded with a vision and awareness of that church. I could see it so clearly. I had blonde hair and brown eyes. I was wearing a yellow dress, and I was getting married. I could see myself in a tiny room with other women around me, getting me ready. I could see the little chapel with sun streaming in the windows. I could feel the excitement and joy of that day. I asked my husband to pull over and we sat outside of this church for quite a while as I tried to get my bearings and make sense of what I was seeing. Eventually we drove away, as I tried to process the sudden waves of homesickness that were washing over me, for another time and another place. I have been dreaming about that church ever since.
The most synchronistic thing happened several years later. My sister-in-law Ronda invited us to come to Lava Hot Springs and help her throw a 50th wedding anniversary party for her parents. She explained to me that she was excited to be able to hold the party in the very church that they were married. She told me that the church is very old and has since been sold and turned into an event center. She was able to rent the event center for the weekend of their anniversary and that is where their party would be held. I didn't think anything of it until we rolled into town. I put the address in my phone and we drove directly to, you guessed it, the church that I had envisioned years ago. I couldn't believe it. I was so excited to get to go inside. As we walked in I was moved to tears as I remembered portions of the vision that I had of my own wedding there in another lifetime. I felt incredibly safe, peaceful and full of homesickness all at the same time. The basement has been renovated into a Bed and Breakfast. It was nothing like what I remembered. But the chapel, with its big windows with the sunlight streaming in, was very much the way I remembered it. There was a tiny room off to the side of the chapel and I remember this room very well also. This was the room that I visioned myself preparing for my own wedding in my handmade buttercup yellow wedding dress. I still dream about that church sometimes. It seems to have left an indelible mark on my soul. I would love to book a room in the Bed and Breakfast and spend a night there. I can only imagine how amazing that would be.
I believe that memories like this are tiny glimpses into who we have been in lives gone by. It is a rare and precious gift to get a peek into the past. What area calls to your soul?