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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.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trust. A.k.a. realizing I am not in control, nor am I meant to be

"Glory be Thee, O my God! But for the tribulations which are sustained in Thy path, how could Thy true lovers be recognized; and were it not for the trials which are borne for love of Thee, how could the station of such as yearn for Thee be revealed? Thy might beareth me witness! The companions of all who adore Thee are the tears they shed, and the comforters of such as seek Thee are the groans they utter, and the food of them who haste to meet Thee is the fragments of their broken hearts." -Baha'u'llah
 I do not usually write on Thursdays, but tonight I feel the need to write, so here I am. I went downtown this morning to walk the dog I am currently taking care of. Last night I did not sleep more than two hours. My mind was racing, my legs would not stay still, and by the time my body and mind were tired enough to sleep a snow plow had arrived to dig the entire parking lot outside out from under the thick layer of snow that blanketed it last night, shining its lights in my window and revving its engine as it worked its way across the lot. 
 After walking Chloe this morning my body was ordering me to go home and sleep, so I obeyed, managing to get two solid hours of sleep in before I had to bundle up and head back out into the swirling ice crystals and wind to walk to the University for a meeting, and then back downtown to walk the dog again. This evening I was supposed to be attending a birthday celebration for a close friend downtown. I was not only looking forward to some down time with people I love, I was also hoping to catch a ride home so I did not have to do more walking in the swirling ice. Unfortunately the birthday was canceled, so I found myself downtown at the end of another long day feeling completely wrung out and without the energy to trek all the way home again. I am nearing the end of 19 days of the Baha'i Fast, which I find to be physically very exhausting, and all the extra walking in combination with not eating is tough some days. I decided to stay put and grab some Thai food and then go sit a Timothy's coffee shop and enjoy a good cup of Lady Baker's Tea before I began my long walk home. Sitting on the couch in Timothy's I felt like curling up and going to sleep right there -- telling the guy manning the cash register to lock me in for the night. Instead I immersed myself in my book, sipped my cream earl grey tea, rested, and enjoyed some awesome French tunes that were playing in the background. 
 Walking home tonight was tough. The wind was blowing pretty hard, and tiny ice crystals kept flying at my eyes, blurring my sight and making me wish I had worn goggles. It was a long walk, and when I reached home I felt as if my legs would not carry me one step further. But of course they managed to get me upstairs and into my bed. While I was walking home tonight a number of quotes kept coming to mind. One was from Baha'u'llah's Fire Tablet: "Thou wast created to bear and endure, O patience of the worlds." Of course my never-ending job search and physically exhausting walk home tonight are nothing in comparison with the life of imprisonment and abuse that Baha'u'llah led. Another quote that came to mind tonight was this one, from Abdu'l-Baha:
“The Chairman [Mountfort Mills] … mentioned his recent trip to Haifa and brought vividly before the minds of the friends pictures of his experiences there, particularly of the Master himself. He mentioned the recent illness of His Holiness Abdu’l-Bahá and how, when the pilgrims, their hearts touched, expressed t...heir hope to Him that He would be careful of His health, He said:

‘With one prayer I could have health the remainder of my life, but it is necessary for me to suffer to show to others that these things can be borne and overcome. I must first undergo all hardships. Then you will be able to undergo them. I must experience every difficulty that I may teach you to do likewise. I must be an example that you may learn to do the same, resisting all difficulties, that firmness and steadfastness may be shown. Strength will be given to sustain work for God if the purpose is to aid Him.’ (
Extract from “Minutes of the Thirteenth Annual Mashrequ’l Azkar … April 26-28, 1921”).

We all have challenges in life, and the biggest challenge for me is to see them as blessings while they are happening. While I was walking home tonight wishing that I had a car, I started thinking about this, and reminding myself that I was exactly where God wants me to be in that moment, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Yes, trudging through the snow was exhausting and in ways unpleasant, but this experience, and many more like it recently are also forcing me to grow in new directions.

A good friend of mine asked me today what my plan is now. I sat and thought about that for a few minutes. Indeed. What is my plan? My answer is that my plan is to keep trying my hardest, being grateful for the moments of challenge and hardship, and leaving the rest to God. Presuming to be the planner of my life is very palatable, but it is not how life works, and I need to keep reminding myself of this fact. My sole responsibility is to do my best to serve, and put my life in His hands. If I really am doing this, things happen--quite magically. I have experienced it before. But it does require a certain degree in renunciation and courage to truly, truly let go of what I think should be happening.

It is late now. Tomorrow I will be up again before sunrise, embarking on another day of fasting. It is amazing to me how fast this period of Fasting has passed. five more days before the Baha'i New Year. Spring is right around the corner! 

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