by Celia Hales
It was July of 1981. I had finished a disappointing year as a lecturer in library science at a university in North Carolina. I did not yet know the right direction for the rest of my life. And I had not found in my readings a faith that could see me through. Then my copy of A Course in Miracles arrived in the mail. Once I read those volumes, nothing was ever the same again.
In the spring of 1981, Psychology Today carried a feature about A Course in Miracles. William Thetford and Helen Schucman were still maintaining their privacy as the individuals chosen to bring forth the Course, but Bill was tentatively beginning to speak out. After reading the article, I immediately ordered the volumes. They arrived very shortly, and then, inexplicably, so did a letter from a friend in another city.
“Be sure to order A Course in Miracles!” Mike insisted, and then told me how.
When I wrote back that I already had them in hand, he was astounded. “How did you learn of them at the same time I did?” he asked in wonder.
“Celestial timing,” I thought. Mike and I had been seekers for some time, reading Ruth Montgomery and Jane Roberts, early writers of what would become known as New Age.
I devoured A Course in Miracles, all three volumes, in less than a week. Repeatedly throughout the reading, I would have a question arise in my mind, only to have it answered in the next paragraph. One sentence followed smoothly into the next, and then one paragraph just as smoothly into the one after it. The writing was more fascinating and more real than anything I had ever found.
One pivotal day during the week I took a walk in the backyard. The sun was blazing. Very suddenly, I felt as though the sun’s rays were coming down directly on my head. I was terrified, and I ran to the house and the phone to call an old friend who had once told me how much prayer meant to him.
I told Bob what had happened in the backyard. He listened respectfully, but he did not know that I was experiencing those Great Rays about which the Course speaks so eloquently. (T322)
Desperate for help, I called Bob several more times in the course of a day.
“This is the Awakening,” he concluded. “I’m not sure you will know what that means.”
I did know what it meant.
As it turned out, I was one of those called upon to change my life situation almost immediately. (M26) I felt led to go to Texas, where I quickly secured a position in a public library. For six months I walked around in a daze. I was tuned into another reality, and, as the Course warns about the partially innocent, quite foolish at times. (T38) But in the midst of it all, I knew intimately the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.” (WB270) Then this particular dream passed, and I left Texas to return to North Carolina.
I was blessed to continue to know happy dreams, as my study of the Course continued, but the Awakening did not last. I have concluded that I was not saintly enough. More charitably, the Course maintains that revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us, but to get there the means are needed. (T16)
When I wed my husband Paul in 1986, the Course emerged as a tremendous asset to our new marriage. From the Course: Our minds hold only two orders of thought– love and a call for love. (T295) Attack and anger are never justified. (T638) I have not always been able to live up to these lofty ideals, but they have been the bedrock on which our marriage has rested.
“You are reading your ‘happiness’ book,” Paul observed one day early on.
I sat comfortably and contentedly reading the Course.
“Yes,” I replied. “It is that.”
I have found it a lot easier to share my life when I have stayed close to my reading.
Five years ago Paul and I made the transition into an early retirement. We partially remodeled our house in Minnesota, to ready it for the market, and we completely remodeled our new house in Mississippi. There was a lot of stress, and in the midst of this busy life, I did not stay close to the Course. Finally I returned to it, clinging to its many reassurances as I had done before in happier times. Life gradually returned to normal. Now we live peacefully, the stress blissfully gone.
Before 1981, I knew something about guidance from the Holy Spirit, but the Course has taught me much more. Most days, I follow the prompting that it describes so well. When I do, I know joy. As time has passed, this joy has increasingly become a bedrock and beyond anything that I could imagine. A Course in Miracles has been my lodestone, my godsend.