Tuesdays With Marie

Over the last twenty plus years, I’ve had the honor of giving Reiki treatments to many people. The clients I’ve worked with, and continue to work with, mostly are religiously unaffiliated. In their own way, they seek a connection with the Great Mystery.

I first met Marie at a Unity Church service where she religiously attended weekly services. Marie contacted me a year after we first met to request a Reiki treatment with the hopes that Reiki would alleviate the daily arthritis pain she experienced.

I had remembered Marie because of her strong bear hug that morphed into a chiropractic adjustment! Despite her less than 5 foot tall stature, she’d throw her whole self into a hug. Once you were locked into a wide-opened embrace, she’d deliver a big-hearted squeeze.

Every Tuesday afternoon, over a ten year span, Marie received a Reiki treatment. In time, our relationship evolved from client – to friend – to family. Marie was the embodiment of a spiritually-minded seeker. She had an insatiable curiosity, kept an open heart, stretched beyond the church tenets of her upbringing and maintained a dedicated practice.

A committed daily spiritual practice

Reiki appointments were only scheduled in the afternoons, never in the morning. Mornings were reserved for God. Marie’s steadiness of devotion was admirable and included daily devotional readings from the Daily Word, the Science of Mind magazine, Sathya Sai Baba teachings and other inspirational readings.

A candle would be lit as she’d offered prayerful intentions. Next she’d sit back in her recliner for a period of silent meditation. To ensure an uninterrupted one-on-one time with God, she’d turn off her phone. This was the routine that sustained Marie for many years.

A desire for God

Marie was in her early seventies when I first met her. Arthritis and her weight slowed her down considerably. Marie appeared as a slow-moving, overweight, sweet elderly woman. However, her true persona was revealed when she told me her life-time role model was Amelia Earhart. Like Amelia, Marie had a desire to soar beyond limitations.

Although flying freely wasn’t realized in the sky, whenever she sat behind the wheel of her car she felt free and drove as fast as she dared. Acceleration began with pedal to the metal and from there, she’d happily drive around town with the radio blasting a Karen Drucker CD or a recent sermon from the Unity Church. Despite the evidence of fresh scratches and dents on her car, she didn’t think twice about slowing down or relinquishing her right to drive.

She drove as she lived. Fiercely independent, doing things her way and that’s how she liked it! As a child, she was an outdoors girl. Once outside, Marie had no problem losing her socks and shoes and played barefoot. Irregardless of scraped knees, bruised legs, banged up elbows, Marie enjoyed the freedom of running around outdoors, not at all wary of getting dirty much to the chagrin of her mother.

Marie liked to recount when she was 4 years old, a self-described chubby little girl with dimples in the folds of her skin, she’d run into the middle of the street, put her hands up in the air and try to touch God. After telling me this, she’d laugh a big hearty laugh that contained equal measures of mischievousness and delight. Her laugh led me to believe Marie still had the pure heart of a child who longed to touch God.

Unitive consciousness

Marie was an inter-spiritual seeker long before I ever heard of inter- spirituality. Spiritual paths of interest spanned between Christianity, Hinduism, Metaphysics and Unity teachings. Her understanding was all paths connected back to One Source.

Marie belonged to several spiritually-minded groups. She attended a weekly meditation circle, joined a spiritual book club that selected metaphysical books to read and met with a monthly group of Sathya Sai Baba devotees. Her favorite events were Sai Baba community events because of the immense pleasure she took watching the children run freely around the room.

A desire to study the Bible led her to join a weekly Bible Study group. The women in the group were professed “born again Christians.” Marie remained silent about her various spiritual interests; however, she reassured me she fit in because she loved Jesus.

She told me, more than once, one of her favorite gospel stories was the parable Jesus told about the good shepherd. The shepherd who knew the location of every sheep in his flock. If any became lost, the shepherd would find the missing sheep to bring back to the fold.

Marie’s Shepherd was Jesus and an unwavering trust in Him to find her no matter where she wandered off.

A Seismic Shift

In her early eighties, Marie had a stroke. From that point on, she was no longer able to maintain the daily spiritual practices that long had upheld her. No longer able to sit calmly in meditation, focus on reading or comprehend fully the way she once did, she became very frightened.

In the last few months of Marie’s life, words were harder to retrieve, it became difficult to recall what she believed. To lighten her distress, we’d make a game out of trying to figure out what word she was searching for. One time Marie was trying to describe to me what she believed in. She just couldn’t recall the word Unity and so invented her own word…she was a “Unatic.” This sounded so close to the word “lunatic” we both just laughed.

Like most of us, Marie sometimes failed to see the Divine Light within her own self. Many times the Light appeared on full luminescent display in her twinkling eyes. Once in a blue moon, she’d acknowledge she carried “a bright light.” Marie recognized this truth when she wasn’t “hee-hawing around” another one of Marie’s unique expressions.

Marie believed she was a Divine expression of God. When she was unable to remember this, her friends from her spiritual communities reminded her. Her favorite phrase spoken with absolute certainty and adamant conviction was, “All is well and all is in Divine Order.” A supportive offering to others that eventually would comfort her when she’d recite this to herself.

Lost and Found

Without nourishing daily spiritual routines, Marie felt adrift and lost. She had an image of a copy of Glenda Green’s painting The Lamb & The Lion. Marie liked to say she wanted to be held by Jesus just like the lamb depicted in His arms.

Her longing for God was fulfilled on the day she died. I believe Jesus, the Good Shepherd, found her, called her by name and led her home. Marie’s memory inspires me to stay committed to my own practice, and engage full-throttle with life by continuing to learn. After all, the sky’s the limit.

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Mary Ellen Lucas

Mary Ellen Lucas is an Interfaith / Interspiritual minister. She desires to be a grounded presence with an open, compassionate…

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