I am writing to share some experience of being led to share the Light in unexpected ways. While the situations outwardly appeared extraordinary, we felt and unusual ordinariness of being at peace holding the Light.
My wife, Carolyn Truesdale, and I had the privilege of accompanying a group of World War II Battle of the Bulge Veterans and their families on a tour to France, Belgium and Luxembourg to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge the last major battle of WWII in which the Americans suffered over 75,ooo casualties while the Germans lost 80,000 to 90,000).
While our initial intention was mainly to hold the Light and be there as support for the group — which included seven 95+ year old veterans — and to escort Carolyn’s 98-year old uncle David Bailey (also WWII Battle of the Bulge veteran), it was also for Carolyn to spend quality time with her brother Robert (who also came along).
Little did we know that we would be blessed by Spirit having additional plans. If not familiar with the Battle of the Bulge, it is said to be one of, if not largest of land battles and the most decisive battle that helped Allies defeat Hitler. We had wonderful tour guides and everywhere we traveled the people put much effort into remembering and appreciating the veterans and how the Americans helped give them liberation and freedom. Our expectation for the tour was mainly that we would be going from town to town, including many of the places the veterans had been during the war. But what Carolyn and I did not know, was that Spirit had other plans to put us into other larger experiences and opportunities for planting and extending Light.
Our tour started in Reims, France, the location of the Nazi’s signing of surrender, then into various towns and areas of Belgium and Luxembourg, which were some of the locations where the Battle took place. Our tour included numerous receptions, ceremonies and parades where towns honored the veterans. The heads of the towns, other officials, and school children offered gratitude and pledges for maintaining and supporting peace.
While our tour guide had a general overall itinerary, he could not give us day to day specifics. This was because other special events were being planned, of which he did not know if, and when, they would exactly occur, whether we could attend, and to what extent we could participate. I like to think that somehow the Light led the way to open us to these opportunities to participate and plant the Light. We ended up being part of some extraordinary events with a number of dignitaries and luminaries in an up close and personal way.
There was a weekend of events planned in collaboration with U.S., Luxembourg and Belgium ambassadors and officials. Our first of a few opportunities to extend additional Light took place at a luncheon in Bastogne, Belgium, honoring US WWII Veterans. There were maybe three groups of veterans that attended. At first, we thought it was a more typical event honoring veterans, having no idea who would be there. This was until, during the luncheon, everyone went on alert in anticipation of the arrival of Nancy Pelosi. Apparently, there were two groups of US delegations that decided (somewhat last minute) to attend. One was led by Nancy Pelosi and another by Senator John Boozman and included 10 US Senators and close to 20 House of Representatives, both Republicans and Democrats. Nancy graciously focused on roaming the room going up to each veteran personally. Later Carolyn and I had the opportunity of meeting her, and taking Nancy’s picture with Carolyn’s uncle David. While shaking her hand and thanking her I felt I was extending Light. Carolyn thanked her for her service to our country.
During the luncheon, Carolyn and David “coincidentally” sat next to Senator Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia. As it turned out her deceased father was David’s friend and roommate from college, Arch Moore, who was also past Governor of WVA for several terms. This led to rich and heartfelt interactions where Shelly, her husband, Carolyn and David unfolded other coincidental connections they had with Carolyn’s family. Carolyn and I both recognized that it was time for us to focus on placing the Light to all in the room.
As awestruck as we were in being there, we kept being moved to just simply hold and sent Light. I had to keep reminding myself that, as much as I had preferences about political issues, my main aim had to be to put them, as well as any expectations, aside and focus on sending the Light for the highest good for wherever and however was for the highest good. As much as I could do this, it appeared to allow me (and us) to have more personal and ‘in the moment’ interactions, not only in this luncheon but also during our encounters at the extraordinary events and with all of our other tour mates.
At the luncheon, during our conversing and laughing with Senator Moore Capito and her husband, we were joined by US Representatives James Clyburn, Debbie Wasserman Shultz and others. It became purely enjoyable with everyone smiling and laughing and just having a good time. At a later event, Pelosi mentioned in a speech that that all the congressmen decided to attend in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation
The next event was held at the Luxembourg US Cemetery where many thousand American GI’s are buried, including General Patton. A large commemoration ceremony was held to mark the start of the Battle of the Bulge 75 years ago. Among the hundreds of dignitaries and people in attendance, it included: US Ambassador to Luxembourg who spoke, Luxembourg Ambassador to the US, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper who spoke, Luxembourg Defense Minister, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, who spoke, King Phillipe and Queen Matilde of Belgium, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel who spoke, Prime Minister of Belgium Sophie Wilmes, President of Poland, Andrzej, former president of Germany, Joachim Gauk, Nancy Pelosi, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff Mark Milley and representatives from Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Again, I like to believe the Light led the way, as Carolyn and I were placed up front and in close proximity to these people, many of whom we shook hands with, along with 15 veterans who were being honored.
During the ceremony and speeches, I kept doing my best to hold and send Light. Not sure exactly what happened but, during the main ceremony, while sending Light, I had an extraordinary experience of being lifted into another place, until at some point I felt myself needing to re-orient and ground myself. I was moved by many of the speeches. A couple mentioned strengthening defenses, but what touched me most were those that mentioned peace. I was struck most by speeches of the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Betel and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. They both spoke of maintaining and promoting peace and unity across boundaries. I was especially moved when Grand Duke Henri said that a way to maintain and promote peace was to hold forgiveness in our hearts. Later I had another “coincidental” opportunity to meet him personally and speak with him.
Another event was held at the Grand Palace with Grand Duke Henri, the reigning monarch. He met separately with the veterans while we (escorts of the veterans) and other dignitaries attended a lavish reception in the adjoining room. Later Henri made an appearance in our reception area. While he was certainly busy conversing with many, I again believe the Light opened an opportunity. In a rare moment when he stood alone, I went up and engaged in conversation. I primarily asked him about his family, and offered my praise of his country. I had been impressed with a number of exquisite portrait paintings of people in the room, to which he explained that they were his family. I asked him how long his family had been in the area. He said 1,000 years, and smilingly said that that was the advantage to being a monarch, that you stay in one place. Talking to him had the feeling of something both extraordinary and simultaneously ordinary. I felt an ordinary inner calm with an extraordinary blessing of holding and extending the Light. My being with him opened the way too for Carolyn’s uncle David to approach us and allow me to take a picture of David with the Grand Duke.
Our last official night was capped with a large Gala dinner sponsored by Luxembourg. This was attended by all the veterans on our tour, their families, tour guides and other dignitaries. It included Luxembourg’s Ambassador to the US, Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, Xavier Betel who again spoke. Once again, amidst a large seating with about 12 large tables, Carolyn, her brother Robert, David and I were placed at the head table, immediately with the Prime Minister. Spirit sure had interesting ways of using us. We all engaged very personally with the Prime Minister, and it became jovial and congenial. Carolyn’s interaction with him was particularly engaging and meaningful as he spoke of all the exciting changes that have occurred in Luxembourg over the last 7 years he has been in office. Later we also engaged with Luxembourg’s Ambassador to the US, who remembered David from previous encounters. He vowed that he wanted to see David and us when he returns to the US, and especially when we will be attending a special ceremony in January 2020 at the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington DC.
While the trip unexpectedly led us to many wonderful special events, we were especially touched by the daily ordinary ways each of us on the tour appreciated, accepted and supported each other, especially these 7 brave veterans. The trip had many bright spots, but a good portion of the trip was also somewhat arduous, with a vigorous schedule, “tight spots” with each other, and at times not so good weather. But, reflecting on the spirit of honoring the veterans, we could not help but be reminded of the struggle the veterans endured and the sacrifices they made during that time. It was the acceptance and determination they each had in putting their lives on the line to do their part to free the world of tyranny that allowed us this wonderful time to appreciate peace and unity, and not the least, the opportunity for extending more Light. We are also very grateful that the Light keeps choosing us to be in various situations like these to extend this Light.