My son grew up in an Ananda community and respected the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. But when “Randy” was able to move out on his own, he wanted to experience a different life. He went to the ski slopes in the winter and to Hollywood in the summer.
I knew his life direction would be greatly influenced by the woman he married. So for years I prayed that Randy’s future wife would be spiritually minded and that her path would be compatible with the teachings of Ananda.
At one point, Randy was feeling down and out because of a lost relationship. To encourage him, I told him about the prayer I had been doing to draw to him the right spouse.
“Stop praying like that!” he said, in a way that brooked no contradiction. “I don’t want you to interfere with my karma! Just send me light.”
I was a little annoyed at not being able to pray directly for something so important. But if I went against his expressed wish, it could create spiritual static in my prayer and disharmony in our relationship.
The brightest and happiest picture I had of him had been taken at the Self-Realization Temple in Hollywood. No coincidence, I thought. I put a framed copy on my altar with these words in front of it: Father, I place my son’s hand firmly in Thine for Thy keeping.
This was quite neutral, as he had requested, but happened to be an adaptation from the Ananda Wedding Ceremony, spoken or sung on behalf of the bride’s father after he walks his daughter down the aisle to meet her husband-to-be. In this way I honored my son’s instruction, but also kept a fragment of my prayer for a spiritually minded wife.
I also made up new words for one of Swami Kriyananda’s melodies and sang it often: Birds fly high up in the sky, as my thoughts for my son Randy. In his heart and in his home, live only Light and Beauty.
A couple of years went by in this way. He was now living in Los Angeles year-round. Eventually he found a girlfriend he deeply loved. He invited me to meet her, and we had a great time taking in all the sights.
The Ananda Center was not far from where they lived and, as it happened, Swami Kriyananda was speaking, so we all went to hear him.
Sitting with my son and his girlfriend, listening to Swamiji speak, I couldn’t hold back the tears of gratitude. I noticed she was crying too.
“Oh dear,” I thought, “she is so empathic she is reflecting my feelings!”
After the service ended, I asked her, “Why were you crying?”
“I love Swamiji so much. I want to live at Ananda, but I don’t know how that can ever happen,” she said.
My jaw dropped in disbelief. Somehow I managed to stammer out, “Where did you come from?!” Then we fell into each other’s arms, laughing.
God answered my un-prayed prayer. She and my son now live together in an Ananda community.