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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude 7+

"I have heard thy cries and am conscious of thy tears. Remember that God is faithful and do not doubt this. Be patient, even though great calamities come upon thee. Fear not! Be firm in the path of the Lord, as a mountain unmoved, unchanging in thy steadfastness. God has made afflictions as a morning shower to His green pastures and as a wick for His lamp, whereby earth and heaven are illumined." -Baha'u'llah
I love this quote. I found it years ago and wrote it into the front of my prayer book, and I find myself flipping to it every now and then when I am struggling with something, or just need to remind myself that hard times are a blessing in disguise. 
This last week there have been many blessings that were not in disguise: 
1. I got to speak to one of my best friends back on Prince Edward Island. It had been a while since I last heard her voice, and catching up with her on the phone made me more than happy. The magnitude of my happiness was evident by the fact that I spent the following hour wandering around the house singing at the top of my lungs. :-) 
2. I had a creamy chai tea with one of my girlfriends on Friday afternoon. It was raining outside. We sat at the bar and caught up on each other's news. The place was bustling with people enjoying time with friends or reading the paper or a book instead of the usual tapping away at keyboards that is the norm Monday through Thursday. I love sipping tea on cool fall days in the company of a good friend, and the fact that I had an entire weekend ahead of me made it even better. 
3. I attended a devotional gathering Friday night with a few friends. It may sound tame, but there are few things I would rather do on a Friday night than get together with friends and read inspiring quotes from various religious and spiritual traditions, and then discuss them. It's like all the thoughts and concerns of the week fall away, and all that is left is the joy of being alive and connected to other human beings. After the devotional we all bundled up and wandered over to a local Thai restaurant where we sipped Thai iced tea and enjoyed full plates of steaming hot curry, sticky rice, and coconut soup. It was a great night of spiritual and physical nourishment, and excellent company. 
4. Saturday was the birth of Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Baha'i faith. My community celebrated it at the home of a couple who love breakfast, so they invited us all over for a huge buffet breakfast followed by a lovely program of readings, prayers and music. My mom and I went together, which is something that I will not get to do always, so I am trying to enjoy sharing experiences like this with her as much as I can while I am here. 
5. Saturday afternoon I went to spend some time with my dear friends Jairo and Leanna, and their gorgeous (almost two year old) son Teo. Teo is one of the most musically inclined children I know, and as soon as I arrived he set me up with a miniature piano, handed his mother a trumpet, and settled down with his drum. The three of us jammed and danced for a long time, and the joy that our session brought to Teo filled the room with laughter. 
6. Sunday I spent most of the day at home hanging out, but in the afternoon my good friends Azadeh and Nabil came over and picked me up and we headed to their favourite coffee shop for hot drinks, a long chat about service, and a debate about whether where we live in the world really determines how happy we are (Azadeh said no. Nabil and said that it did. I said that I thought it could in certain circumstances). As the golden light of late afternoon and early evening filtered in the huge windows over us, our table, our white ceramic cups, Nabil's latest electronic device, and Azadeh's current book, I felt deeply content, and grateful for the long, lazy day of laughter, good conversation, and hot tea. 
7. Today I had to meet my mother down town to give her a ride to an appointment. I got there early, so I wandered into yet another coffee shop to wait. Sitting there sipping my hot chocolate, writing in my journal and people watching as every fashion statement, height, age and ethnic background walked in and out of the coffee shop, I felt grateful to live in a world that has so much diversity, and excitement for the day ahead -- the job application I am working on. The meeting I have on Wednesday in the Bay area. The women's devotional gathering that we will be having at our house this Wednesday evening. Another day on the farm on Thursday, my Ruhi study on Thursday afternoon and another devotional gathering on Friday. 
It is evening now. I made a big salad for dinner to go with my mother's salmon loaf and Persian rice. The lettuce in my salad is from the farm I volunteer on. I planted it with a group of kids who came to the farm on a field trip. It is incredibly beautiful. There is something deeply fulfilling about making a salad with lettuce that I planted with children and watched grow over the last few weeks. Each head looks like a blossoming flower. As I type this I am sipping chamomile lavender tea. I am looking forward to saying some prayers. To a good book. To drifting to sleep with the sound of my father composing a beautiful piece of music in the background. 
And you, friends? What are you feeling grateful for today?

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