It was 24 years ago that I a profound spiritual experience because of a situation where my perceived enemies were closing in on me, and I knew I needed to take action. I am changing the names of people to protect their identity.
I was separated from my boyfriend, Ralph. We still were seeing each other as friends, but we had no commitment to a long term relationship. I knew he was dating Marsha, who was married. Marsha told Ralph that her husband was okay with their relationship, including the fact that they planned on going on a camping trip together over the weekend.
Ralph was convinced that Marsha was telling the truth about her husband’s willingness to let her go on an overnight trip with him. His desires were clouding his judgment, I know. I knew that Marsha’s husband, Will, could not possibly be okay with this arrangement. But if I told Will what was happening, I was afraid that I would jeopardize my relationship with Ralph, who thought I was just jealous of Marsha.
The night before they were scheduled to go on the camping trip, I could not sleep. I was in agony. I was staying at a friend’s house because I was homeless. (That is another story!) Laying on my mat on the floor, I wept and cried out to Jesus and Yogananda for help.I had not surrendered my life to Jesus yet (I did so about 20 years later) and I was no longer committed to my former guru, Paramansa Yogananda. But I didn’t know who else to call upon.
I felt so scared and indecisive. I wanted to protect Will, Marsha’s husband. I wanted Ralph, to know what was really going on. I wanted to preserve Ralph’s and our relationship. I didn’t want to be a “tattle-tale.” I still had hope that we would get back together. I was desperate for that to happen.
As I begged for Jesus and Yogananda for help, at a certain point I felt a wonderful peace come over me. I knew it was Jesus. answering my prayer. I felt instantly at peace. I felt a love and acceptance i had never experienced. I knew I would do the right thing even though I wasn’t sure in the moment what it was. I fell asleep right away.
The next day, I called my dear friend Mike Happyplant to ask for his advice. He knew Will and Marsha. I was relieved when I heard him say, “Of course you need to tell Will. He would never want this to happen.” I was also somewhat surprised at his adamant response, because so many spiritual people didn’t seem so committed to integrity. I was very inspired by how he was clear that telling the truth was highly valuable to him. I believe that his encouragement changed the course of many people’s lives that day for the better.
Shored up by Mike’s advice and encouragement, I called Will and told him about what was happening with Marsha and Ralph. He had not heard about the camping trip, and definitely did not approve. He planned on confronting Marsha. Later that day, I was able to tell Ralph what I had done. I shared in a very creative, winsome way which I think was guided by the Holy Spirit, how I had blown the whistle on the whole situation. I felt shocked when Ralph did not explode. Instead, Ralph was grateful to me that I told him the truth because he did not want to be out of integrity. He realized how he had been in denial.
The combination of Mike’s advice and Jesus giving me peace gave me the capacity to do the right but difficult thing. Ralph and I are still friends to this day. I even had a long, hand-written letter-writing exchange with Marsha which resulted in us having a friendship. I considered her to be an enemy because she was lying to my friend and her husband, contributing to me feeling a lot of pain. She didn’t seem to care about how people were feeling. But once we had a peaceful dialogue, she realized the error of her ways and appreciated that I cared enough to reach out to her and share my truth. My practice of Non-violent Communication as taught by Marshall Rosenberg helped me this and all of the aspects of the situation that I have shared.
I am sending this article to Mike to remind him how valuable he was and still is to me. We never know how our words will affect someone. Encouraging someone to do the right but hard thing might be life-changing. Of course telling the truth in love is important. But withholding truth because of fear of what might happen to me, or that I might hurt someone’s feelings–is rarely the right thing to do. Reconciliation is always a good thing, so I am glad to have reconciled with Marsha and Ralph as well. God’s heart is always for reconciliation.