I visited Lily Dale yesterday. I had a couple of people on my list to see and I served at both the outdoor message services. This really is nothing new for me. Like everyone else, however, places we frequented in 2019 fell off the map of possibilities to interact with in 2020.

Lily Dale gave me an opportunity to practice and learn many different perspectives. I was a steady volunteer and coordinator for many classes and events in exchange for a free ticket. I have aided many including Anne Gehman, Janet Nohavec, Gregg Braden, and Mavis Pittilla. I had many people help me along the way, even giving me places to stay. The list is many. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with several of the Lily Dale registered mediums and those who have come to do workshops.

Yesterday, as I sat by my favorite tree on the grounds, I found myself a mixture of grateful and also sad. I certainly would not have met everyone I have and received so much encouragement and help without Lily Dale. This year, however is different. Anne Gehman’s house has a for sale sign in the front yard: no more sitting an listening to stories. The coffee house is closed this year. This is where I would meet my friend, George Koury who passed last year. In the past few weeks Janet Nohavec and Mavis Pittilla have also passed. Janet was adamant with me to not be less. She trusted me to stay at and take service at the Journey Within North.

I walked into the Church of the Living Spirit and found the photo placed on the wall of Rev. John White. A lot of years ago now, John called me when I was at a very low point. I had worked with John at a little church at services, he had been the one to speak at my ordination. I did not know he knew my phone number. I had started to grow. I had started to understand things in a broader perspective than some in my community and there was a backlash I did not understand. I had thought Spiritualists were all one big happy family. It never occurred to me that jealousy and egos would be part of the experience. I just returned to my home from a 2 week retreat and found that there had been discussions about me in my absence. I was hurt and confused and crying. My phone rang and it was John. “Honey, Honey? are you alright?” What? John White is calling? Asking if I am alright? I told him I did not understand what was going on. He said he really didn’t either, but knew he had to call me. He said that sometimes people don’t see the big picture and he wanted me to go and register at Church of the Living Spirit so he could take care of me. He actually said, “take care of you.” I did. I was able to join circles and practice. I was a regular guest at John’s house, I was able to attend and assist his circles and workshops. He shared his poetry, his love for healing, and for continually learning and expanding. He taught me by being my friend. I realize now how much his friendship gave a safety net. The safety was that I could be me and be comfortable enough to learn and practice and grow in a way that was good for me. He encouraged me to take classes. He loved the work of Simon James and Brian Robertson and would ask me questions about my classes with them. He supported my ideas like having several mediums give demonstration on one evening to showcase and teach an audience about different types of mediumship. We would go to events and social occasions at Lily Dale and he would tell me to listen, to learn through listening. He introduced me to my first drip coffee enhanced with shots of espresso. AND he always knew JUST when to call. If I was in complete anxiety sitting in the dentist chair, he would call. He would call when he was going off the grid to his silent retreat and let me know he was going silent. He asked me to make his meditations digital so he would be able to share them online. That is a project we did not get completed before he died. I am working on still making that happen for him.

So many of the people that helped me get to where I am have passed. There is a bizarre feeling with that, not only of gratitude and a little sadness, but the feeling that now it is time for me to move things forward. Perhaps that is the only way to truly honor all those in our lives that have helped us (both on purpose and inadvertently). For me it is to be to be fully me, and to keep learning, and to keep helping other people learn. It is to keep healing and in the healing keep expanding.