never say never. especially in the ashram. hear me out. i walk into the kitchen ready to do some dishroom seva. who do i see? barbara. all decked out in her corporate 'uniform' baking away. happy contentment is all over her face. i say, hey, barbara, are you going to abicek? by the way, i love, love abicek. four thirty in the morning. in the temple. watching a galaxy of sari clad radiant yoginis orchestrating a ritual bath for the enlivened image of bade baba. in exquisite silence and stillness. we participants chant vedic hymns and then we eat special sweets and sacred water that blends coconut milk and rose water. all done before dawn breaks. all right, where am i? o yes, i want to find a ride. and i know barbara doesn't miss an abicek. she says, all right, i'll pick you up four twenty. i pause for a momen, don't know what to say. i really want to be in the ashram by four so i can get a nice seat up front. okay, i do understand that the grace of a saint is not diminished by one row or two. but i just like to sit a little closer to where the action is. i don't want to sound ungrateful and i hesitate to abuse barbara's kindness. so i swallow my unmet expectation and say, all right. then something overcomes me from within and i hear myself bursting out, sure, and who knows, you might be so inspired to come at three thirty. not missing a beat, barbara says, with all the courage of her conviction, NEVER. i say, well, well, well, never say never, you're in the ashram. really. grace works in creative, out-of-the-box ways.
that was a couple of weeks ago. last night, before going to bed, i had a hunch to check my emergency cell. that's right. i don't really pick up calls on an emergency cell. it's one of the many things hwubby has to put up with me. anyway, there's a new message from barbara. it goes like this. listen, suk wah, i am invited to dress bade baba, they have to dress me in sari, so i have to come to pick you up three thirty. i laugh in awe as i say, thank you, bade baba. i really believe it's my prayer answered. and the truth is that there's enough grace to go around answering evryone's prayers. we just have to have the clarity and courage to see them as smart and right on expressions of grace. seriously how else can you get a girl to get up at two forty five willingly with a smile. try this. you'll be all decked out in a glamorous sari, dripping with jewels, clothe bade baba in spectacular garments and garlands and fresh flowers.