As the first day on this sacred ground was setting up for the intimate lighting of dusk, my father, accompanied by Bonni, decided to venture to Mass at a primitive chapel on the farm. Those around us said it would be unwise to go via wheelchair, as the terrain was a bit rugged. They were also concerned about my father being able to handle the trail, but he was a determined pilgrim. My mother and I stayed back, and unfortunately she used the time to try to plant seeds of doubt about the apparitions.
Much later, off in the distance we could see those returning from the service with lit candles. There were groups in harmonized song, and groups in solemn prayer, each adding to the reverence that had already wrapped itself around me. My father and Bonni were deeply touched by the gathering of so many faithful from all over the world. They talked about the soul stirring service, and the numbers of fervent believers in the field surrounding the chapel. But, the procession of song and prayer coming back through the wooded areas ~ left a blessed etching within them. Although my father was tired, I knew he offered up each strained step, as a gift to his Divine Mother.
Upon awakening the next day, we were torn on how to spend the day before Mother Mary’s visitation. Bonni and my mother wanted to venture to Stone MountainPark, and my father and I favored massaging our spirits once again with the mystical presence we encountered on the farm. Bonni had been to Stone Mountain before, and assured us that it would truly enhance the energies we connected with the day before ~ with the park’s breathtaking natural beauty. So, we decided to spend the day in a space that nature tended to with remarkable care.
We enjoyed the grounds with its streams, embracing trees and covered bridges, but the true allure was the mammoth 825 foot stone. As we climbed higher and higher on the cable car, I felt dizzy with a sense of freedom, and as we navigated the surface of this mountainous stone, we felt as though we were exploring the moon. Atlanta in the distance appeared to be OZ ~ astounding!
The memories of Stone Mountain were filed away the morning of October thirteenth, as the anticipation of this unworldly day had us all in a quiet state of wonderment. Knowing that they expected over one hundred thousand people from all over the country and the world, we headed towards the farm around seven that morning. Our half hour drive breezed by quickly for the first fifteen minutes, and at that point we hit the wall of pilgrims. Most of the next forty five minutes we stood still, or moved inches. At this pace we were hanging onto the hope of actually being there for the apparition at noon.
My father sat in the back of the van with me. In his hands were his well worn rosary beads, and with his head down, his lips indicated his earnest praying. It was eight o’clock, when a policeman knocked on our window and directed us to a road that detoured this traffic. A unified sigh of relief filled the van, and by eight thirty we were in the field pulling into our parking spot. The heavy fog that morning painted a mysterious scene, and the people of all ages and cultures that walked through and out of this smoky soup ~ seemed as though they were being birthed by a heavenly cloud.
We picked our spot under a small tree near the worn grass roadway that all the pilgrims used to enter the expansive field surrounding the farm house. Although it was cool now, I did not do well exposed to the heat for any length of time. So, if need be we were close to our van. News crews from every major television network and cable station were in a fenced off area behind us, as well as an extensive number of tour busses. But, there was a reverence from all people, and there was little noise besides the hum of the busses pulling into there area.
Our hearts had never been so surrounded by, or intertwined with, the mass of impassioned love beating hearts that were gathering that morning ~ all devoted to this cherished and Beloved Universal Mother. Tears rolled down our faces as people passed on stretchers, wheelchairs, crutches, canes, guide dogs and with many deformities. Their were groups passing singing and praying in a variety of languages ~ speaking again to our interconnections. As the fog lifted we were in awe of the sea of faithful that had already filled the field, and in the other direction an endless flow streaming in from the parking area.