THAT UNFORGETTABLE SMILE
Jane B. Haynes
I can see that picture today, so clearly it remains in my consciousness. The Eternal Christ, in His home in the West that He had said He never really leaves, with His three devoted ones standing near. After a time Baba was ready to leave.
We got in the cars: I was to help Ruthie; Baba had said we were not to embrace Him. The cars started out Baba's gate to the Briarcliffe road. Mrs. Houston, who had seen to all the delicious food, was waiting silently there in her car to say goodbye. Baba let her embrace Him. We went on towards Wilmington.
About five miles out of Myrtle beach, Frank Eaton, caretaker at the Center, was driving: he suddenly reached over and switched on the radio. As he did so, we heard the strains of Baba's song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." I guess each of us wept a little with joy at this farewell song that we knew Baba played for us. (Indeed, after our return, Elizabeth told me that as they drove along, Baba had suddenly gestured to her: Turn on the radio, Elizabeth and the passengers in the God-Man's car heard His favorite spiritual.
We reached the airport. It was some time before the plane; a chair was brought for Baba as we entered. I was walking with Ruthie she walked well in those days, albeit with a cane; we saw Him seated on the far side with lovers already gathered around Him. Ruth said to me, "I have to go inside first." My heart sank, as I wanted to try to get near, but of course I took her.
When we emerged from the restroom, we approached the crowd. We saw Baba gesture to Eruch: Bring a chair for Ruth. He did so; and Baba gestured with both hands: Make a path clear the way. A parting of the circle, and now Ruth was seated directly in front of the Beloved and I, by His grace, at her side, on the floor.
Baba gestured to me: Isn't the floor cold? It was concrete. I said, No, Baba, it is all right, and I thanked Him inwardly with all my heart for letting me see His face closely maybe for the last time.
We sat in complete silence, drinking in His Presence. Love flowed as in a clear lake still and deep. Even the passersby stopped at the three corners of the room stood still, watching in wonderment.
As I fastened my gaze on Baba, Eruch came to Him in answer to Baba's beckoning hand. Eruch leaned over. Baba made an electric-quick turn to the right in profile, looking up at Eruch intensely. As He did so, it seemed to be not Baba but my father, John Barry. The sudden turn, the quick movement, the glance, even His features were for one instant my dad. It was not my imagination or an illusion. Baba for that split second showed me my father, even in His expression.
Then He turned back towards us, and His beautiful face was Meher Baba's once more. He looked intently, almost fiercely at me. My heart leapt up and started maybe even to be a little afraid. Don't worry, it's all right with a sweet tender gesture of His right hand, Baba dispelled the small fear and smiled that unforgettable Smile.
LETTERS OF LOVE, pp. 62-63
1997 © EliNor Publications