A cold January evening found us disembarking in New York City. The family got smaller by half its members when Lera and Grisha dropped a bomb and announced in Italy, they were going to Denmark, where Grisha's uncle lived. The relatives in New York met and took us in, helping for the first few months in America. I still felt terribly out of place. I studied English and tried to see my way if not to happiness, then to some kind of contentment! I went out with guys, but nothing good came out of it. I asked God to help me find something other than tawdry relationships. The months flew by, I watched TV, prayed and bickered with my mother. One time I saw a table with church brochures on the street in front of the New Yorker Hotel. A man started to talk with me, but because I could hardly understand him, I just smiled ruefully and walked away.
A few months later I felt more confident. What's more, I had some work done on my teeth and now, even though I was not aware of that, I began to smile freely, letting my spirit shine through. A young man came to my door, selling funny clip-on toys. When he heard my accent, he asked where I was from. I invited him in. He started to tell me about his church and ask questions about my spiritual life. He was the first person ever to do so. All I could think of was: "This is what I was waiting for!"
I went to the Unification Church's Sunday Service, then to the Witnessing Video Center. The band played there most nights and I felt like this was a familiar environment. That was soon after the Madison Square Garden Blessing of Marriage Ceremony, and I saw a lot of radiant hope in my hosts, who were willing to share this hope and their friendship with me. When I worked at the theater, I always felt self-conscious and inadequate among the actors. Now I was welcomed and encouraged. Even my broken English was declared to be "very good!".
I couldn't even think of telling parents about my new pursuits. I secretly went to a two-day workshop, stayed for seven days and never left after that. My poor mother and father went through hell, hearing all the rumors about the Unification Church. They thought, they lost me forever! I tried to introduce them to various church members, who spoke Russian, but all was in vain. All that talk about God didn't make any sense to them. The fact that I was happy and fulfilled, for the first time in my life, didn't seem to matter: the poison they were taught their whole life prevented them from accepting my faith.
The conventional wisdom would've predicted a sound failure of my current absorption. My mother repeated it often enough over the coming years: "You'll have nothing, you'll die in the ditch! They are just using all of you, you idiots!" And its true, most of the Unification Church members remain poor, although my future husband was able to make good living. But what I learned early in life was still true for me then: "One does not live by bread alone". When I and my husband started family, the parents came to live with us. Dad and mom helped raise their grandchildren and supported our family for many years. Those were the happiest years in their lives. It took a long time, but I came to realize: the causes and the leaders didn't make one happy. Unlike Heavenly Father, they are bound to disappoint. Each person needs to learn to emit a sort of a gravitational pull, like planets and stars do, like God does, to keep and take responsibility for those in their sphere of influence. The happiness arises from an assurance, you are there for each other no matter what! The greatest joy, though, comes when we realize, the trials and destinies of each little person and a family somehow matter and are close to the loving Heart of God.