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When Elizabeth Cheney finally reached the end of her journey, further disaster awaited her. She had been given letters of introduction to various people political leaders, editors, and so on - who, it was hoped, might be of assistance to her. But, during the course of this delayed journey, there had been a revolution - and all of the men to whom Elizabeth carried her letters were either in prison or in exile or hiding. She met with nothing but shrugs and smiles and closed lips. No doors were open to her; she was blocked at every turn. So, once again, she retired to pray and to meditate.
Then, knowing that prayer must be followed by action, she went out to walk the streets, praying as she walked for guidance. Her steps were slow and hesitant in order that, when guidance came, she might not be distracted by her own haste. At last - still with no answer to her prayers that might guide her - she found herself away from the heart of the city and in a broad avenue lined with spacious lawns and gardens surrounding beautiful homes. Here her steps slowed and she became aware of her own sharpened attention as if the time had come for her to listen carefully. And finally her steps stopped completely. There was no further urge to go on.
She stood quite still and looked around her. She was standing beside a tall wrought-iron fence, and beyond the fence, beyond a low hedge, there was a man, kneeling beside a bed of flowers. Elizabeth - not knowing what else to do - stood quietly and watched him. She saw him start, as he realized he was being watched, then he stood up, dusted his knees and walked toward her. And in her halting Spanish Elizabeth heard herself mentioning the name of one of the men to whom she'd been given a letter. The man showed great surprise, but Elizabeth went on talking, telling him why she had come - giving him the Message. Finally, bowing and smiting he left her - and Elizabeth waited. In a few moments the man returned to open the gates and usher her into the house, where the man to whom her letter was addressed was in careful hiding and was waiting to receive her. This was the turning point for Elizabeth - from then on her way was easier and her teaching successful.
Told to me by Elizabeth Cheney
during the 1944 Convention at Wilmette.
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