There is No Will But God’s: A Visit to the Home of My Childhood

Having just returned from my old neighborhood in Long Island, I see the demonstration clearly, God’s Will and my own are one. We can not intellectually grasp this. Intellectualization separates us from Love. One Will, like One Mind is not the privilege of a dualistic thinker. It is a lived experience. This weekend I had the mind blowing experience of the perfection of faith in One Will; God’s Will as my own. Following blindly was blissfully fulfilling.

Tom asked me to visit with him in NY. He was entertaining friends from Virginia and hoped I would join them. The invitation was spontaneous. It came at a time when I had committed to saying yes as a demonstration of my desire to love God with my whole heart, mind and soul. I said yes to Tom without pause, but suffered soon after with fear of having made too hasty a decision. I wondered what the weekend was for. There were a thousand reasons why it was impractical and too expensive. It was close to Christmas, and money was tight. Nonetheless, my recent meditations and practices were focused on God’s plan for my happiness. I gave up protesting thoughts to participate in the mystery of it.

A plan came into consciousness. I would visit with my friend Tony in Connecticut on Friday evening. Then meet with Tom on Saturday am for a surprise adventure, staying in a hotel in Queens for one night. Sunday was wide open, and I was not sure how the day would flow.

The weeks before my trip subconscious mind opened. A stream of early memories and dreams flooded my consciousness. There was an opportunity to do the work of forgiveness as old beliefs and resentments appeared. I saw myself again and again as a young girl, struggling against her circumstances and abandonment. I remembered my life in Long Island from ages 5 to 11. Sitting with these memories in Jesse’s (Jesus) Presence, I offered a request to truly undo the judgments and sorrows of the past. There were plenty of purifying tears.

Along with the memories came the longing to see my old home, to look upon the neighborhood, and talk again with friends. It had been more than 50 years! If there was an opportunity on Sunday, I would venture into Lynbrook and revisit the place of my roots, culture, religion, and early education. Perhaps I might put into perspective the memories of the child still alive within me. Maybe I would even heal the old ghosts of unlovability.

I woke about 6:30 on Sunday morning, feeling a great need to rush, to be there “on time.” I didn’t understand the why or what for of the push for timeliness, but listened to the inner prompt, and made haste to leave with one exception. I paused to meditate upon God’s Love and His Plan for my day, and to fill my mind with Her Perfect Peace. I was also aware in this meditation that the visit with Tony on Friday, had resulted in a kind of ordering of my thoughts. Questions I had asked of Spirit, had been answered. I felt grateful as I left the hotel.

Those I was destined to meet appeared perfectly on time. I did not have to knock on any doors. I did not have to ask questions. As I drove up to my old home, the proprietor appeared in the driveway, along with the next door neighbor! It was 8 am on Sunday! They took time to provide keen insights as to who was still residing there, quenching my thirst for information, and igniting my remembrance.

The fruit of that early morning conversation brought three desires into awareness as a kind of blue print for the visit. I cannot separate these thoughts from Thoughts of God within me. It all began to seem the same. I was merely following, and yet feeling the desires to be my own.

I would knock on Ms. Gilas’ door and thank her for the many gifts of kindness and attention she gave me as a child. I intensely wanted to visit with the Maraia’s, the parents of my best friend of those years. I would attend Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, the church of my first communion, where I offered my life to God.

Knocking on Ms. Gilas’ door brought no response. I went off to church, arriving early and delighting in the luxury of time to explore the art and architecture, remembering with wonder my childhood vows. Awe resounded like a joyful but simple song from my soul. Everything was so much the same, the church quite small in reality compared to the cathedral in my memory. I took in the chandeliers, the stained glass and living colors. The brick floor that had captured my gaze through countless genuflections was shiny and more welcoming than my knees recalled. Mary Magdalene and Blessed Mother stood side by side with Jesus in the pictures on the wall. I poured into them, pleased that I knew each saint from the colors of their gowns. Resting there, I felt I had come home. I chose to sit in the same pew, even the same seat of my first communion. The cool, hard wood soothed me.

Please understand, it is not as if I consciously appreciated these surroundings as a 5 or 6 year old, but a deep peace and love for this place had registered in the core of my being, and was now arising as felt experience in my body. Palpable memories of childlike love for God, for Mary and trust in their help and friendship bubbled into awareness. Mind was effervescent with faith.

I walked the aisles to the statues on the altar, examining their features and gave a dollar to light a candle, now an electric candle, in front of “Our Lady.” She seemed to reflect back to me the agreements we had made when I first offered my heart, my soul and my dimes! to God. I felt the innocence of divine youth expiating all guilt from the very cells of my skin. These were moments of pure joy, and no sorrow or regrets were remotely swimming in mind.

When I returned to my car, Tom had left a message. Apparently, he knew people from “the neighborhood”. His agenda was to connect me with John M. who knew my boyfriend, Vinnie and others in our circle. Tom wanted to confirm that I, in fact, had a relationship (11 years old!) with the cousin of actor, Tony Danza. His phone call stimulated John M and his wife to contact me. They shared news of people I had loved and lost through time. Talking with them felt like the recovery of family. My heart was purring with feelings of belonging. My memories were shining with love. I marveled that my present perception was exactly opposite of the pain and sorrow of the dreams and recollections of the weeks before. In those thoughts, I felt as if I had never belonged.

A keen appreciation began to bud within my heart for the way this unplanned visit was unfolding. The connection with John M. could not have occurred had I not accepted Tom’s invitation. And I had no idea Tom shared a past with “my neighborhood”. Everything appeared orchestrated and synchronistic.

After mass I drove past my elementary school. I stopped by the big woods where I had built a fort, (just a small patch of dirt!) and traced the course where my bicycle made thousands of loops around the block. I sought out the Blue Mill, a candy store that had taken my hard earned pennies for afternoon candy and egg crèmes. I window shopped at the local market. The smells and sights of Italian pastries, plum tomatoes, and arangini’s made my mouth water. Nearby, a man selling Christmas trees offered me directions. I had all I could do to keep from kissing him! Everything he said sounded and felt like my own. His thick Long Island accent was music that I seemed to have written. His olive skin and dark lashes drew me in. The small voice of my ego whimpered that I had “sworn off Italian men” but he was enchanting, and I was spellbound with love for him.

I turned toward Kensington Road. As if on cue, the Maraia’s were walking out of their door. I approached and introduced myself. Immediate and sincere embraces went flying. They postponed their plans for an outing and invited me in for tea. Even here, in the catching up, in the innocence of sharing stories and experiences I felt a Purpose at work. Mr Maraia said I had arrived as a sign from God. Our conversation led to the desire for forgiveness of all our past judgments. Somehow it seemed that my visit unveiled a prescription for acceptance of people’s differences and tolerance for those things we did not understand. I felt as if the last piece of the puzzle of my journey to New York had been put in place. My final desire was to express gratitude for the comforts they had extended. They were kind and wholesome people. I loved them and felt privileged to have had a little visit of such great significance.

That is how life “flowed” this weekend, an experience of sacred and healing adventure in saying yes to God. I didn’t really have knowledge of what my consent meant, or how I might have been useful. It served me well to remember Mary (Mother of Jesus) and her attitude of wonder in the ways of Spirit when the world offered only limitation. My trust was well rewarded.

This morning I feel fortunate, more so blessed, to look back and catch a glimmer of the plan that was fulfilled unbeknownst my ego. I recognize that I have had only a glimpse of God’s purpose for these encounters, and much remains hidden from my understanding. Still, the longing that God’s Will and my own become as one, has been exemplified and given witness. I cannot help now but to see the Will we share is our happiness. The part I sought to forgive has appeared in a new light.