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Sister Alma Rose is on vacation

All Paths Converge in the End

by Mary Campbell

A real spiritual teacher assists you in finding Yourself. They help you find, not their truth, but your own Truth Within. Teacher is a mediocre word for someone who does this; spiritual sponsor would be a more accurate description. Or reciprociter. Personally, I’d call them Friends and Family, that’s Who We Are. In Equality, who has greater Equality? The one who knows more than somebody else, or the one who shares what they understand? —Will on Care2

Journey to Bliss

The gift of any true teacher to his or her student is (1) to impart a love of learning and (2) to supply, or point to, resources… then to sit back and watch the student devour the resources and look for more.

The teacher walks a fine line, as does the writer. At what point does information become dogma? I believe that the tenacity with which some “teachers” impose their views on others has to do with a belief in mortality. “Gotta hurry and get my perpetually angry 35-year-old son on medication, or into meditation and on a spiritual path. His anger is ruining his life.”

Bristol Maraton, 2006; photo by Steve Gregory

Bristol Maraton, 2006; photo by Steve Gregory

But everything snaps into place when you understand that everyone is already on a spiritual path. Your path, and my son’s, will undoubtedly be different from my path, and I can accept that, even be joyful about it, because I know that the spiritual journey spans uncounted lifetimes, and that all paths converge in the end.

Prayers are powerful

Many pray for my son and their prayers are powerful. Occasionally I am sad to see my son struggle, every day, just to be. His brother and his sister both seem to have slipped, with varying degrees of ease, into their “place in creation.”

But I also see spiritual progress in my son, and it has been many years since I have despaired of him. When he was a little boy — who did not know the meaning of serenity — I tried to impose my remedies (my truth) upon him, because his chronic anger and unhappiness broke my heart. This is what mothers do, a lot — try to fix people, especially their children — until they (the mothers) have used themselves up.

Grace (Eventually), by Anne Lamott

Grace (Eventually), by Anne Lamott

So, making a virtue of necessity, I surrendered him to God, I practiced not worrying until not worrying became a habit, and in the process I came I understand that we are all in different places on our journey to bliss, and that there are no wrong paths, merely detours.

Many people have asked me how I learned to stop worrying, how I ceased feeling guilty and having regrets. Well, as someone whom I once had to study in World Lit. said, “I have been to the abyss.” When a hand finally reached down to pull me out, I promised God that I would always be happy and I would never fret about anything again.

I have died and been reborn — quite a number of times, actually.

GraceAnne Lamott writes, “means you’re in a different universe from where you had been stuck, when you had no way to get there on your own.”

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    Which Way to Paradise?

    Sister Alma Rose Asks the Time

    Father-Mother God, may each step I take today bring me closer to home. Amen

    Religion was a riddle to her. ‘Believe this, and only this, because we say so. If you don’t you’re buying a one-way ticket to everlasting Hell.’

    Organized religion baffled her, made her vaguely uncomfortable. Each had followers who were so sure they were right, that their way was the only way. And throughout history, they’d fought wars and shed oceans of blood to prove it…. Religion, at its best, was supposed to guide and comfort, wasn’t it?

    Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb, Ceremony in Death

    Different Journeys

     

    There was a Jehovah’s Witness lady used to knock on Sister Alma Rose’s door, regular-like. Sister Alma Rose don’t have nothing against Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the loveliest men she ever knew was a Jehovah’s Witness—older gentleman, school-bus driver, went to school for therapeutic massage and got himself into practice with a chiropractor.

    The Garden of Eden, by Lucas Cranach, 16th c.

    Anyway, this lady, Alice, you could never tell if she was talking to you or to the invisible person next to you because her left eye sorta had a will of its own. She had it in her head that Sister Alma Rose needed—NEEDED to believe that, when the Day o’ Glory come and the dust settled, the Saved would live in Paradise here on Planet Earth.

    Sister Alma Rose says to her, “Alice, I don’t really believe that, but you go on ahead, it don’t worry me none. Be a fine place, wherever it is.”

    Alice, she don’t like that. She gets right in Sister Alma Rose’s face and says, “Well, we can’t BOTH be right.”

    Victorian Depiction of an Angel

    Alice’s breath reeks of stale coffee. Sister Alma Rose sets down in her green wicker rocking chair and cocks her head. “Alice, darlin’, what time is it?”

    Alice snaps an annoyed look at her watch. “Comin’ on eight-fifteen.”

    “Is that so?” Sister Alma Rose muses. “I got a cousin, Dulcie, she’s in Roanoke right now, she’d say it’s nine-fifteen. You’d both be right, wouldn’t you, Alice? Don’t it just depend on where you are?

    “See, Alice, we’re all goin’ to the same Paradise, but we’re starting from different places at different times. Is the road gonna look the same? Are we all gonna take the same journey? Is there only one highway to Florida?”

    Sister Alma Rose is right partial to Florida. “If it ain’t Paradise,” she says, “it’s right next door.”

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