Fascinating finds on the campus of Unity Village
Myrtle’s Favorite Spot
AROUND THE VILLAGE
My mother called me in tears recently as she gave me the
news no one wants to hear: My father’s lymphoma had
returned. I was angry, confused, and heartbroken, crying
on the phone with my mom for a few minutes.
After I hung up, I dealt with the situation in the only
way I know how. I got up from my desk, took a walk, and
started to pray. My stubborn, angry steps and my pleading,
begging prayers unconsciously took me to one of the most
underrated places at Unity Village—Myrtle Fillmore Grove.
Little is known about the origin of this peaceful spot
made up of 14 catalpa trees about 100 yards northeast
of the Activities Center. According to an undated and
anonymous note in the Unity Archives (the only real
mention of the grove anywhere), “There is no written or
printed evidence, but it is assumed that Rick Fillmore
built the grove in memory of his mother, Myrtle Fillmore,
because it was her favorite place for meditation.” The grove
was planted sometime in the 1930s.
Last year, the grove received a facelift. Workers poured
a new concrete walkway and installed five benches and 12
inscribed boulders. The improvements were initiated by a
gift from a Unity friend who loves to meditate there. The
donation kicked off a plan to improve the grove, and other
donations soon followed. Now that the facelift is complete,
Myrtle Fillmore Grove will be rededicated at a ceremony
during the upcoming Fillmore Festival, August 16–19.
When I stepped into the grove after the phone call with
my mother, a strange stillness and quiet feeling came over
me. I started to read the inscriptions on the boulders,
stopping short as I read, “I just want to come in and have a
visit with you.” For a half a second, I actually felt as though
someone wanted to come sit down with me to talk.
Before I knew it, I was sitting on one of the benches,
crying and praying. I was still sad, my emotions raw, but
my prayer had changed. I was no longer pleading with
a God “up there,” I was praying in the affirmative. I was
talking out loud to someone, or Spirit, or my father—I
don’t really know who or what. All I remember was
saying, “God will heal you,” and “You are healed,” over
and over again.
A week later my mother called again with amazing news:
My father’s cancer is treatable. The worst-case scenario is
that it becomes a chronic illness he will deal with for the
rest of his life, and the best-case scenario is that he beats
cancer again. I don’t know if it was Myrtle who wanted to
“come in and have a visit” with me and pray as she so often
used to do with people, or if it was some other presence,
but I do know I was not alone that day.
Next time you are at the Village, take a little time to
visit Myrtle Fillmore Grove and invite Spirit to come in
and visit with you as well.
DAVID PENNER IS THE SENIOR COPY EDITOR
AND PROOFREADER FOR UNITY WORLD
HEADQUARTERS. PRIOR TO COMING TO UNITY,
HE SPENT FIVE AND A HALF YEARS AS THE
EDITOR OF THE LEXINGTON CLIPPER-HERALD
IN LEXINGTON, NEBRASKA.
MY PRAYER HAD CHANGED.
I WAS NO LONGER PLEADING
WITH A GOD “UP THERE,”
I WAS PRAYING IN