My husband and I moved to Ananda in 1978, when I was 23. When we had only been here a couple of months, people thought we were ready to be voted in as village members. However, I was having a bad day (our school bus had gotten stuck in the mud before we headed off to work for the day).
When I grumbled to a friend at work, she said cheerfully, Oh, dont worry-it gets much worse than that! The roads were bad back then, like chunky peanut butter. I jokingly say thats when I learned to pray intensely many a night in the winter my prayer was, Dear God, help our van make it home tonight through this mud!
Anyway, I wasnt exactly cheered by her comment, so when they asked me that morning if I was ready to be voted in as an Ananda member, I said, I dont know. At the time, I was the nursery school teacher, and I cared for four darling little children four mornings a week; otherwise they were with their mothers. (I still remember fondly many of the things we did together, such as going for walks up to the dairy to see the baby goats and chickens.
On that day, the news came that Swamiji and others were arriving after having been out on tour. When Swamiji would return from a long trip, people would leave their jobs and walk out to greet him.
The roads were very muddy, too difficult for Swamis motor home to maneuver, so the meeting point was at the village entrance, just off the paved road. People came to my little school to tell me he was arriving, I proceeded to put boots and jackets on the four little ones, and we started to walk.
Its slow walking with two-year-olds, and many people greeted us as they walked past. Soon I began to see people returning because theyd already greeted Swami. They were heading back to work, yet I was only halfway there! After a while, there werent any people returning. The last person to pass said that Swami was waiting for us, because he heard we were coming. Finally we arrived at the motor home.
Swamiji and a few others were waiting, smiling. Swami gave me a gentle hug, and suddenly I felt enveloped in divine Peace, and I thought, Oh yes, this peace is why I moved here-that I may find this peace for myself.
I was moved to feel such a palpable peace, and to know that Swamiji had waited to greet me, even though he barely knew me since I was so new to the community. This brief event eliminated the negative feelings I was having earlier in the morning, and I felt very happy to stay at Ananda. Indeed, it was a wise choice, many blessings have come because of it.