On a flight back from visiting our daughter’s family in Phoenix, I sat next a man who knew a man who arranges the affairs of His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama, here in the U.S.. Bingo!, I presumed. I was given 2 numbers to reach him, and called to inquire about the possibility of H.H.t.D.L. visiting Edenlight. His succinct response was; “It’s not going to happen.” Wrong bingo card.
I asked him why not, and he gave me a list of reasons, such as; Your head is in the clouds. The Dalai Lama is not metaphysical. He is a scientist. He then told me of all the wonderful things he has personally done in third world countries to raise the standard of living. I understand he is rather wealthy, and has indeed done good works here in the Third Dimension.
I then asked; What should I do?
Go serve soup for a couple of weeks. Go to Saint Anthony’s Dining Room. He couldn’t realize that this suggestion actually appealed to me. I had simply never done it, and have since realized one can offer that form of service almost anywhere, the need is so great. Leaving our own self centered plight long enough to do so is the common challenge.
But I went to Glide instead; a dozen times over a month, and served under the supervision of Jonathan, which is also my middle name. I learned to do anything in the dining room (not the kitchen), and could just show up and go to work. The only sacrifice involved was the 30 mile drive down over the Golden Gate Bridge, through the City to Ellis and O’Farrell. And then find a parking place where I wouldn’t get a ticket. Never got one. For me it was quite an emergence from my garden hermitage.
The real point of all this, is when first walking into the basement of Glide Memorial Church, godchild of the Reverend Cecil Williams, a world class human rights and compassion activist, I could feel that I was in a Christ based church where the work of God was actually being carried out. I know Robin Williams was, and Oprah Winfrey IS on the donor list.They serve massive amounts of real food to real people who need it.
The experience of that service was (is) priceless. The reaction of the evening meal guests, who all had to line up out in the street and get a free ticket, ran the gamut -or gauntlet- from proud shame to humble guileless thanks. All walks of life were there, from the well dressed to the matted and threadbare. There were loud meltdowns which Jonathan handled with deft compassion.. Most of my co-workers were there for community service hours, or programs of public assistance which required them to volunteer.
A few weeks ago I did let the gentlemen who sent me on this education know that I had followed his advice (several years ago now), but haven’t heard back.
All is well.