(This early memoir/vignette, written in 1975 when I lived in Venice, California, expresses my spiritual search as a young woman.
I was not yet a Meher Baba devotee. Yet even as a young woman, I feel that I sensed the connection of unity within all the different faiths, drawing me to explore different spiritual and religious centers.
I was searching for a sense of belonging and so was my Catholic friend. We were both on a journey. In my early life there were outsider ties between my wanderings and the mysteries of the Catholic faith that still intrigue me.)
Strangely, these old time, other worldly values, while lacking modern glitter or sophistication, could stun the beholder with their everlasting lavish purity.
The combination of gold and marble statues, the Christmas scene in which the younger priest was given the sculpture of the Christ child to place in the wooden crib; all these added elements of light to the ancient faith.
Strong men, bowing before the crucifix, falling on their knees, to what? To God in prayer.
Education in the secular sense teaches a lot. Yet, even in the large cathedral, the intimate experience of such traces was deeply touching.
It was her only tradition, and not even stemming from her own faith. She usually observed with remoteness, even coldness, the ceremony and the congregation’s responses.
Maybe this time, since she had hastily invited a half-serious Catholic neighbor, her feelings experienced a new dimension. Her friend and neighbor Cecelia was somewhat of a wandering Italian midwesterner, and an eternal student.
“Going to school helps me express the saner aspects of my life,” she said, then added, “I went to the opening of the Women’s Center, did you? I didn’t see you there.”
“No, the weather was bad and we couldn’t get a ride.”
“A woman there kept following me around telling me to put out my cigarette,” said Cecilia.