40 Years in Retrospect . . . The life of Miracle Distribution Center – Part IV
by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Center, throughout the next several issues we will be sharing its journey with you. Even though the Center was founded by Beverly and Richard Hutchinson, it has developed a life of its own. These articles will share the Center’s birth, growth, life and purpose as it continues to evolve and support students of A Course in Miracles.
“We will not let the beliefs of the world tell us that what God would have us do is impossible. Instead, we will try to recognize that only what God would have us do is possible.” (W-45.4:5)
The Course spends a great deal of time inviting us to withdraw our belief in what the world shows us, and to instead allow God’s Voice to guide and direct our lives. This certainly makes sense considering that for most of us, trusting in the world is a teeter-totter ride at best. Of course, the world and our ego want us to believe that God can’t be trusted, or at least that He isn’t too terribly interested in our lives. The world can be a shining example of failure and despair, if we let it be.
A Course in Miracles says, “There is no limit to the power of a Son of God, but he can limit the expression of his power as much as he chooses.” (T-4.IV.8:2) In this same passage Jesus goes on to say, “Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do. Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal.”
These passages highlight the way we at Miracle Distribution Center (MDC) have made our “divine decisions.” We do our best to release the strength of God into everything we think and do. If we are making a decision from fear or lack, we realize we are Edging God Out (focusing on ego limits). It then becomes our choice: with God or without God. It is amazing how often we have tried to “run our own show,” only to find that when we let God in, the “show” not only runs more smoothly, but practically runs itself!
A good example of this is the name of this publication. For years we struggled over selecting a name — and I would venture to say the reason The Holy Encounter didn’t have an earlier birth was we didn’t know what to call it! We would sit and discuss it for hours. It is clear to me now that during all those discussions we were not inviting God in — we thought we could come up with the perfect name — it seemed a holy purpose, but we were leaving out our strength.
It wasn’t until one late night, when I couldn’t sleep, that I got up and prayed my eyes would be opened to the perfect name for our magazine. As I opened my Course, my eyes lit upon the section entitled “The Holy Encounter.” As I read those words, I knew this was the perfect name, since our goal for this publication was to remember our real purpose: joining together to heal the mistaken thought of separation between ourselves and God, and the way to do that is by healing the thought of separation between ourselves and our brothers. The first paragraph in that section again reminded me, “Ask and it shall be given you . . . If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light, and can therefore teach it to you.” (T-8.III.1:2) Yes, we had asked for a name, and all it finally took was a decision to listen and learn from the strength of God.
Many of the “decisions” at MDC don’t seem to occur in the traditional “decision making manner.” For example, we have been advised by those who “know” the way to “get the message out” to purchase advertising that target our “market,” to use other organizations’ mailing lists, and spend more money than we have in order to give people a reason to support our organization through calculated donation appeals and the erroneous belief there is some need to get the Course’s message out, above any other. (The Course may certainly be our way, but it is not the only way).
All of these approaches just haven’t felt “right” for us, even though they may be the sound, worldly approaches. The decisions we make at the Center are effortless, not because they are always easy, but because they are made “by releasing the strength of God” into them.
Let me go back in our history, to March 1987, to share an example. We wanted to premiere The Story of A Course in Miracles. This would be the first public showing of the 2-1/2 hour documentary film made by a producer from the BBC. Remember, this was before the ease of the internet to share this type of film, so we needed to rent a projector unit and a screen large enough for 500 people to view. The cost of the equipment rental alone was prohibitive. The decision did not seem easy, but the answer did,
“…[release] the strength of God into everything you think and do. Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal. Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them. Judge how well you have done this by your own feelings, for this is the one right use of judgment.” (T-4.IV.8:3)
After prayerful discussion, we went ahead and rented the necessary equipment. Exactly one week before the showing, when the rental payment was due, we received a letter and donation from a woman who had received counseling and support from MDC during a very difficult time in her life. Her financial gift was the exact amount needed for the equipment.
There really is only one decision we ever have to make at the Center: does this bring peace or conflict? When we choose peace, we invite the strength of God into our minds and actions, and our decisions are apparent. When we get caught up in conflict and confusion, however, we split our minds. The way to get back on track is to stop in the mist of the confusion and turmoil and reflect on this: “Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought, and what you have not thought that God would have you think. Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone accordingly, and then change your mind to think with God’s. This may seem hard to do, but it is much easier than trying to think against it.” (T-4.IV.2:4)
Deciding with God is not so impossible — it is actually the only thing that is possible and inevitable!
Read the previous installment: Part III: “Partners on the Path”
Next issue’s installment: Part V: “Vocation of the Center”