South Dakota, 1946. Heavy iron gates clang shut. In the yard
of a Catholic boarding school, Indian children, scared and
bewildered, line up. Nuns and Priests take them one by one,
spray them with delousing agents and cut their hair. Among
the children is four-year-old Betty. She, like the other children,
has been taken from her home and native culture, and stripped
of her dignity. Here, they will teach her that in God's eyes
Indians are heathens and sinners doomed to hell. Throughout
life, Betty will fear God, convinced of his wrath and vengeance
against her for her Native blood.
Then prejudice against the mixed marriage of her father (Scots-Irish)
and her mother (Lakota Sioux) forces a divorce. Betty vows
that when she marries, her children will never suffer a broken
home. At 15, committed to this dream, Betty marries the boy
next door. She bears four children, but immaturity works against
the young couple, and when their fourth child dies of crib
death, the loss is too great for Bettyıs husband to bear.
He turns to drink, to other women, and to mistreating Betty.
Catholic teachings against divorce now convince Betty she
is doomed to hell's eternal fire. Feeling she is not worth
saving anyway, she turns her back on a vengeful God and on
hell-driven religion and heads towards self-destruction. She
attempts drinking and other risky behaviors but is stopped
short when she meets Joe Eadie. They marry and together build
the family Betty has longed for.
Ten years into a loving marriage, and three more children
later, 31-year-old Betty enters the hospital for a hysterectomy.
She is fearful she might die during the procedure. In her
search for a God who loves instead of condemns his creations,
Betty had joined many churches, but had never reconciled herself
with God. Death, she still believes, will take her either
to hell or to a lifeless grave. And what of her beautiful
During surgery, Betty hemorrhages. Repairs are made, but
later, alone, she hemorrhages again. As darkness envelops
her, she feels herself dying and frantically tries to ring
for help. Then her body becomes still and lifeless.
But Betty is not lifeless. She is suddenly outside her body,
vitally aware of everything. She can view her dead body in
multiple dimensions. Three spirit beings stand nearby to greet
her and usher her on her way. Free to travel through space,
Betty travels home to bid good-bye to her husband and children.
She returns to the hospital where a vortex of swirling energy
draws her to a light that is bright and beautiful. The source
of light is a magnificent Being. Betty knows him to be Jesus.
She is filled with questions, and he answers each one. He
helps her recall her life in heaven before earth and why she
had gone to earth in the first place.
Spirit guides then take Betty to explore heaven. She visits
a library without books, a place with complex computers, a
room of giant looms, and a lush garden---a "living" landscape
of color, light and music. Departed family and friends greet
Betty in love. She meets a special female spirit not yet gone
to earth, with whom Betty feels a special bond and spends
some time with.
Other angels arrive and escort Betty into space. She sees
the endless expanse of Godıs creation, including planets and
worlds in the far reaches of the universe. Returning to the
garden, she is shown scenes of life on earth. She learns why
being born a "half-breed" was a needed part of her journey.
Everything has reason, she learns. Nothing is by chance. She
observes how prayers travel like beams of energy and are answered
by God through angels.
Betty comes before a council to review her life. God does
not condemn her for her mistakes as she had expected. Rather,
he loves her and understands her completely. Any judgment
she feels is self-judgment She learns how she hurt others
and how, had she acted differently, things might have been
better. Betty is reminded of her mission on earth still undone.
Though reluctant, she prepares to return to Earth and to her
life there. Angels gather and bid her farewell.
Back into her body still lying in the hospital, demon-like
creatures who are angry because of her return frighten Betty.
She calls Joe, but when he arrives he does not see them at
all, though Betty still does. Soon they leave, and another
spirit enters who only Betty sees. A little girl about two
years of age. Betty describes to Joe her every action. She
dances about and then steps on Joe's foot to put her hand
in his pocket. She giggles and goes away.
Months of recovery and difficulty follow Betty's "near-death"
experience. Life has changed for her in ways she cannot explain
to anyone. And no matter how hard she prays for it, she cannot
recapture the love or the joy she felt while in heaven. She
becomes depressed, reclusive. Then one day she learns about
a newborn baby, half-native as Betty is, who needs a foster
home. Betty takes the infant in and lavishes all the love
she herself misses upon the baby girl. But later, state officials
move the child to relatives who wish to adopt her. Betty becomes
inconsolable in grief.
Three months pass, and an angel visits Betty telling her
to expect an important phone call, that the baby will be coming
back to her, though severely abused and in danger of dying.
In Fear of sharing this news with a family who is still grieving,
Betty awaits the call alone. The call finally comes. Betty
flies immediately to the side of the battered baby girl. The
reunion while full of pain and tears, is overcome by the adoption
that soon follows.
Two years pass. It's Christmas. The family gathers to set
up the tree. Music plays. The little girl, now just over two,
begins dancing and twirling on her toes. She runs to Joe,
steps on his toe and reaches into his pocket. Betty is stunned.
She saw exactly this in the hospital room years ago. As the
little girl continues to dance, Betty recalls the female spirit
in heaven and feels that their bond is one and the same. This
little girl is that special spirit friend, come to be raised
on earth by Betty. Though Betty's hysterectomy had prevented
her coming by birth, the girl had found a way. Heaven always
finds a way and is closer to us than we think.