I’m back at home now, reflecting on my caretaking time at the Heartland Center. As I sit to write something about the ending of my stay, I find myself a little wordless. My time there was rich, serene, healing – such a bountiful opportunity to be closer to Baba in daily life. I could spend time gardening (my gosh, those front beds look happy!) or cooking, reading or writing, visiting with the local folks or pondering Baba’s plans for my life. But all of it was infused with the sense of being very intimately connected to a place where Baba was present.
Touching my forehead to the ground at the accident site was profoundly moving. I found myself drawn there almost daily – including one day when it was raining and all I could do was sit in my car and know I was “nearby” that blessed spot!). Gazing at the hospital, knowing our loved ones were right there spoke to my heart. And knowing some of the mandali were often in the very house where I was staying – it all was quite touching. Out there in the gently rolling farmlands of Oklahoma, Baba has given us a place to be close to Him in a very intimate, immediate way.
During my stay, the weather blew through in constant waves of change – sunny and bright, then days of rain, then plummeting temperatures towards the end. When I first arrived, the windows were all thrown open and it was a little too warm in the house – by the end of the stay, the furnace was on and I was scrambling for a borrowed jacket (thanks Miriam!). I enjoyed my daily walks around town – even had a few folks who I saw regularly while out on my walks and we’d exchange easy greetings. It’s a lovely little town – don’t miss the city park with it’s pecan trees, innumerable benches and a creek running right through the middle of it. Lynn Wilhite and I viewed the quilt show during the annual Pumpkin Festival, and giggled at the pumpkins local kids had decorated (with anything and everything available – paints, sparkles, ribbons, curly strings … anything!).
I want to add a note of thanks to the Board for the opportunity of staying at the Heartland Center. And a huge thanks to Ron and Miriam for making my stay there very smooth and secure – their direction and guidance regarding the tasks and upkeep were impeccably clear and easy to follow. Thanks for all the post-it notes! Hats off to Hettie, who’ll be staying there for the next couple of weeks. I hope she also finds the quietude and intimacy I found there.
When you get the chance, make the trip to the Heartland Center and spend some days where our Beloved rested and recovered; reside for a while in the setting where the mandali cared for Him and watched over Him. It’s a holy place.
I’ve been here in Prague for several days now, interim caretaking while Ron and Miriam have headed off to India. It’s really been a remarkable experience – I find the peacefulness here at the Heartland Center reminiscent of the quietude of Meher Center; and the holiness very reminiscent of India. The house is lovely and serene, surrounded by huge trees and little flower beds and green lawns. The town is gentle and the people here seem so warm, so embracing.
I was warmly welcomed at a church pot luck last weekend that I went to with Ron and Miriam, and this weekend I’ll get a chance to attend the local high school football game. I’ve walked all over town, and enjoyed the vast skies over central Oklahoma. One day, I found myself thinking: “Meher Center is near the ocean, but this place has oceans of sky.” I could spend endless hours watching the billowing clouds scudding along up there. I was adopted for a couple of days by a sweet stray dog that was ecstatically happy to trot along next to me while I wandered around Prague – tail wagging, glancing up at me every few feet, full of joy. (The last time I saw her, she was trotting after a young boy who gave her some great pets in the park – maybe she found her human …)
I have relished some long moments at the accident site, too. Yesterday, I went there and spent time sitting where Beloved Baba’s body lay when thrown from the car. I noticed the sun getting hot on the back of my neck, and looked around for shade. Directly across the road, I climbed up an embankment and sat in a small circle of trees – hidden from the view of passing cars, but able to gaze down on His site for as long as my heart wanted.
Oh, I hope folks feel drawn to make a pilgrimage to the Heartland Center. Baba has blessed this place such a great deal of His Grace and Presence.