Dancing. Regina was…dancing.
It was 1997, shortly after we at Thistle Farms opened our first home to provide sanctuary for survivors of addiction, trafficking, and prostitution. One evening as I walked past the house, I saw through the open window that one of our residents, Regina, was dancing. Regina came to us from years on the streets. She bore in her body and spirit the deep scars of all she had suffered.
And yet, she danced.
“I am having a Holy Ghost party,” she told me when I stepped inside to ask her about it. We laughed about it, and then I said goodnight. Once I was in the privacy of my car, I began to weep. I cried because I wanted to believe that in spite of all the pain and brokenness in this world, love is more powerful and forgiveness runs deeper. I cried because watching Regina dance with joy while “bearing her cross,” reminded me that taking up my own cross, the work at Thistle Farms, was going to take up so much of my life. And I cried because I couldn’t remember the last time I had danced with the Holy Spirit. Those tears were a sign of compassion for myself. They were healing tears that sprang from seeing Regina’s joy and knowing that this work was a way for me to learn to dance with the Spirit again.