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32

 

VI    YOU HAVE ALWAYS
  Photo of Laura Delavigne
   BEEN MY NEIGHBOR
 
An Interview with Laura Delavigne
 
On December 16, 1978, Laura met with Kathleen O'Quinn in her home for tea. Her story was edited from that conversation for The Awakener Magazine. She died on January 2, 1979.
 
      My search for God? Well, yes, that's the story! It begins back, really, I think I was very young. I just felt that there was something more than the church could give. It just set me to thinking that God is God of all people; therefore, why should there be all these divisions? There should be something all one and universal . . . it must be somewhere and I don’t know where to look for it,
 

but I'm sure I'll find it, somehow, somewhere. It seemed to be the thought that I had to have something that was really all inclusive and it took me many, many years to find something like that.

 

I had always gone to church, more or less, and had a feeling for religion and for God. My search went on many years and from time to time I would read something, perhaps hear a lecture where I could feel that I had gained something, a little light perhaps. But I had that dissatisfied feeling within me for all those years. I lived outwardly, like everybody else, enjoying myself and after ten years or more I found suddenly, really by accident (apparently) just the very thing — that it was all there — in Sufism.

 

I went to Detroit when I was first married and not knowing anyone at all would go to lectures a lot. There was a lecture hall that often had different groups coming in from to time. I was going by a door that was partly opened. This woman came to the door and she said: "Would you like to come in?" I said: "Oh, no, I am just going by." At her urging I went in. She was either talking or reading from something that sounded wonderful to me. I thought that, "Oh, this sounds just wonderful . . . just what I've been looking for." At the end she asked me to come back the next week, which I did. I was just so interested. The woman said to me: "You know, our leader is coming back from York -- he's been to Boston and he's coming here. Would you like to join the group?" And I said, "Oh, I feel that I know so little." She asked me if I was interested, to which I replied, "Oh, so much, so very much." She urged me, "Will you come? That's all that’s necessary." So, that was 1926, when Inayat Khan was returning to the little group he had left in Detroit. I attended the series of lectures and took my husband, Lee, to the first one. Lee happened to be sitting on the aisle seat when Inayat Khan, dressed in his black robe, went past him up to the platform. My husband looked up and caught his eye and it made a deep impression. He said afterwards, "I thought it was Jesus Christ." You know, to his dying day I know he kept that deep, deep impression of him.

 

Well, then they had the initiation service and I was initiated by him, in a group of about ten or twelve. That was the beginning of my studies in Sufism, which were really wonderful. It was just everything that I wanted . . . In fact the first book that I opened of Inayat Khan's and the first sentence I read, I thought “This is all familiar -- I've always known this and I've loved every step of the way." I had an interview with Inayat Khan

 

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