A few years ago Swami Kriyananda asked us if we could spend more time in India to help with Ananda’s work there. We replied, “Yes, Swamiji. During the past year we’ve been training others in many of our responsibilities. Now we can be gone, and everything will continue to run smoothly.”
Swamiji smiled and said, “Good. We should all live our lives in such a way that we are ready to leave this world at a moment’s notice.”
His words brought to mind a very powerful and poignant experience in my life. It took place on June 28, 1976—eleven days after the birth of our son. As I adjusted to the new responsibilities of motherhood, our home had become a bit neglected. On the morning of June 28, we had a scheduled checkup for our son. I decided it would be nice to tidy up before I left.
When it came time to leave, I realized that I hadn’t yet attended to the meditation room. Not wanting to leave our sacred objects there in a dusty space, I quickly put them all in a box and placed it by the entry of the room.
I remember standing at the door of our home before I left, happy at how sparkling everything looked, and smiling at all our beautiful houseplants. That was the last time I ever saw any of it again.
Before I returned home a forest fire struck our community, burning our home to the ground along with twenty-two of the twenty-three other houses. Jyotish had stayed in the community that day, and although he tried to save our home from the fire, the only thing he was able to rescue was the box of holy items from our altar.
I’ve been forever grateful for my last loving farewell to our home and belongings. From that experience I realized that I should treasure each moment as a unique opportunity that may never come again. Here are other thoughts I took away that might be helpful to you:
- Do your best in all things, so that you can live in freedom without misgivings or regrets.
- Remember to let your dear ones know that you love them. Life is unpredictable, and we never know when the present moment will be our last opportunity to tell them.
- Most importantly, live so that if God suddenly calls you home, you can say goodbye to this world and reply, “I am ready, Lord. Let’s begin this journey together.”
With joy in God,