I wasn’t searching through a dusty attic, looking for a treasure map, but that’s exactly what I found when I stumbled upon my grandmother’s 100-year-old leather journal. As I opened the book, I heard my grandmother’s voice coming from the yellowed, fragile pages.
“You do not enter the Silence,” Hazel scribbled in her journal. “The Silence is in you. It is the center where God is conscious of Himself in you. God lives and moves and must be given expression through you.”
Hazel Annette McGregor Daish, born in 1895, was raised Episcopalian. As a young adult, Hazel heard a still, small voice within her encouraging her to explore alternatives. She soon discovered a new, “strange” way of thinking called Unity. She heard Charles Fillmore give talks at a humble building at 9th and Tracy in Kansas City, Missouri, and found them “intriguing, logical, helpful, and mostly inspiring.” She also listened to Unity radio broadcasts—Dr. Ernest Wilson was one of her favorites.
“The Who can be changed,” she wrote, “the What never does. As we pass from glory to glory [her way to describe reincarnation], the Personal searches for the peace-bestowing Impersonal, which has its home in the heart of God.” She called the body, or personal self, “the Who of us,” and the unseen mind or spirit, the impersonal, “the What of us.”
At a young age, Hazel eloped with a charming musician. When he divorced her for another woman after 25 years of marriage, she began to realize how strong and Spirit-directed she had become. The Divine had been leading her on a path that would bring her peace, insight, and courage. When I heard this part of her story, I learned to have faith in divine outcomes, believe in spiritual healing, and flow with life’s twists and turns.
I, too, married young, and when my charming, musician husband wanted to pursue another woman, I found the courage to say goodbye. The still, small voice within asked me to trust—just as Grandma had taught me. After my divorce, I found a letter my grandmother had written to my mother when I became engaged, sharing her concerns about my marriage at such a young age. I now see my divorce as a cosmic two-by-four message to my soul, exactly what I needed to lead me into living a full, rich, and rewarding life, believing in myself, and discovering my spunk. Sadly, Grandma died unexpectedly of a heart attack three hours before I walked down the aisle and never got to see me grow into the confident, independent woman I later became.
In her journal, Hazel spoke about the “screen” between the human and the spiritual parts of us being so thin that we receive only flashes of our divinity now and then. “Then the flash passes and ‘nonrecognition’ surrounds us again,” she warned. But as we practice the presence of Spirit more and more, “the disquieting questions of the how and why of life cease, leaving us to feel happiness and success in leading a worthy life.”
Grandma Daish loved visiting Unity Village (which she called “the farm”), despite the long trip from Kansas City with no car. She loved wandering the beautiful grounds and eating at the Inn. I feel flashes of that peace she spoke of when I smell the fragrance of the Rose Garden or watch the dancing fountains at the Village, my grandmother’s presence almost tangible beside me.
I am exceedingly grateful for the spiritual foundation Hazel gave me. She passed on her beliefs and modeled her actions to my mother, who passed them to me; I passed them to my children, and now I get to watch my children pass the Unity teachings to my own grandchildren.
In those inevitable times of challenge, Grandma’s journal reminds me to seek the peace of surrender and loosen my grip on control. These principles are solid, timeless. It brings me great comfort to read Grandma’s thoughts and know her love is still with me, manifesting through me.