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Friends foster spiritual peace.

Byline: FROM HEART TO HEART By Ginny Nilsen For The Register-Guard

I have just witnessed what can happen when members of our local interfaith community rally around someone in need who is open to a deeper understanding of God, her relationship to divine life and her purpose for being.

My 93-year-old mother came to live with me in May. She could not walk freely, nor hear out of one ear, nor read or watch television. So having books, poetry or the newspaper read to her, or sharing music and meaningful conversation, was precious to her throughout the day.

Not only were some of her daily paid caregivers active in our interfaith community, but other friends of varying faith traditions came by, all but one day of her time here, to share spiritual ideas as well as prayers, readings, chants and songs of universal truths.

My mother had been active in her church in years past, taught adult Sunday School, read and researched constantly to educate herself and was accepting of all spiritual beliefs and practices. However, it was always interesting to me that she would never go beyond some sort of invisible line in talking about any defined explanation or description of God, one's relationship with spiritual reality and eternal life, or why our life can be fearless and free here and now.

With all the love and joy she was surrounded with from the interfaith community, I noticed new receptivity to varied descriptions of an ever-present, eternal and all-powerful cause and creator. I saw a lessening of fear and theory-based limitations. After just two weeks here, she gave up choices she had made for decades that had resulted in distressing symptoms.

I believe that these interfaith friends brought to her consciousness what Einstein called "the illimitable spirit." Many of her prayers were answered and prayers for her were actualized. She heard ideas from Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Quaker, Reiki, Christian Science, Course in Miracles, Life of Learning, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, Protestant Christian and Roman Catholic teachings. I had never seen her so spiritually receptive and peaceful.

My mom was bright, compassionate and fun; a positive thinker and seeker before blindness, deafness and frailness tempted her with deep sadness, depression, confusion and frustration. While in Eugene, she grew beyond even her earlier grace, and became so lovely and lovable to me in the fullest sense of being.

I cannot say I know all of the revelations she had while communing with the interfaith family, but I believe that she received satisfying answers and comfort. I feel such joy for this loving preparation for her continuing brave and progressive path, even though, to human sense, she has passed on. My deepest thanks to those in our interfaith community who share their generosity and unconditional love, as well as discerning what is needed at just the right time. I trust you all feel the gratitude and love my mother felt for you and I am deeply thankful for your selfless giving as well as your fidelity to the infinite and your own spiritual path.

Ginny Nilsen helps coordinate this column and serves on the planning committee for the Interfaith Prayer Services held on the 11th of each month. This column is coordinated by Two Rivers Interfaith Ministries, a network of more than 35 religious traditions in the Eugene-Springfield area. For more information, visit www.interfaith or call 344-5693.
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Oct 29, 2005
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