I thought I had my future all figured out. As a teenager, I’d planned a solo trip to Europe, expecting to audition for and be accepted into a major European ballet company. Any of them would do. I hadn’t known how to set up an audition, so I’d just gone without any prior contact with the companies.
Arriving in my first city, where I didn’t speak the language, I found a tiny room at an old hotel. The next morning I awoke very early to a major reality check. How was I going to find the ballet company? Would they let me take class? Would I be good enough?
It dawned on me that I probably couldn’t make all this happen on my own, so I did what I’d always done in times of need: I reached out to God in prayer. I’d learned in the Christian Science Sunday School that God is my Father and Mother—a reliable and trustworthy guide in any situation.
It dawned on me that I probably couldn’t make all this happen on my own.
My prayer was very simple: “Please help me. I don’t know what I’m doing.” The answer that came was, “Read the Lesson” (meaning the Christian Science Bible Lesson found in the Christian Science Quarterly). I’ll never forget sitting on my tiny bed in that windowless, ugly room and reading healing passages from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy—multiple times. By the third reading I began to feel confident that God was indeed in this strange new place and that He was guiding me.
I left my room and went out to the tram stop in front of the hotel. As I stood there with all the commuters, I was quiet and expectant. I noticed a tall girl nearby reading a letter that looked like it was in English. I went over and asked her if she spoke English. She smiled and said yes, she was American. It turned out that she was a member of the very ballet company I was trying to find, and she said she’d be happy to take me there and ask the director if I could take class. You can imagine my delight and awe at this clear evidence of God’s presence and guidance. Everyone in the company treated me graciously, and I had a wonderful class. But they also explained that there were no jobs available at that time. I went on to audition for other companies in other cities—always with the same intuitive feeling of being led by God, step by step.
Although I had gone to Europe for the sole purpose of getting a job with a major ballet company, in the end, that didn’t happen. What did happen was that my forced isolation and the difficulties I faced in auditioning pushed me closer and closer to the source of my very being—my Father-Mother God. I came to know God as my traveling companion, my best friend, and my reliable guide. I learned to lean on Him for everything and to trust Him more than I ever had. It was as if I had gone to Europe knowing God existed and loving that fact, and I left Europe having discovered that it was also the other way around: that God knew I existed and was loving me, consistently and in just the right ways.
I came to know God as my traveling companion, my best friend, and my reliable guide.
While I didn’t get what I thought I wanted on that trip, I did get what I needed. I had lessons to learn about humility and about putting all my trust in God—lessons that have stayed with me and continue to bless me. I think that my solitude, along with my lack of planning and my willingness to turn to God for guidance, acted as an invitation. It was an invitation to discover more about the true, spiritual source of my security, my joy, and my confidence—and to realize that I could never be separated from that divine source, never be anything less than God’s own beautiful expression.
Near the end of my trip, I was also able to share Christian Science with others who were in need of comfort and guidance. And when I returned home, I began getting professional jobs in ballet companies. In fact, I felt grateful I hadn’t stayed in Europe, as coming home opened the door to so many other, unexpected blessings.
This was long before Google Maps. But I found that God was, in fact, my infallible source of direction that would always give me the “right intuition” and guide me “safely home” (see Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 152).