Dear fellow wanderers on the path,
Have you ever wondered why, if every heart has been prepared to recognize truth and accept the Blessed Beauty, that there isn’t more of a rush to enter this garden of delight available to all humankind? Even though I have some idea of the wonder of God’s timing in all things, I have become discouraged off and on. Until now. Here’s my story.
When I graduated from high school, I lived in a small sundown town in Michigan. In case that term is unfamiliar, a sundown town is one in which people of various skin colors, religions, and ethnicities were not only unwelcome — they weren’t allowed to stay within the borders of the town after the sun set. I don’t know for certain if this “law” was written, but it was internalized and enforced. The attitudes that this kind of thinking lent to my experiences there meant that, as soon as I graduated, I would return only to visit my parents. I didn’t keep up relationships with 99.9% of my classmates.
This feeling of separation extended to most of my college classmates and 100% of my grade school buddies. Not because of closed attitudes, but because I was constantly moving. Staying in touch via the mail system – you know, before email – was slow. And my address would change at least once a year.
Fast forward to Facebook. As my fiftieth high school reunion approached, I began to see friend requests from my long-ago buddies. Suddenly, about 500 people from grade school, high school, and college were in touch and reading posts about the Faith. When anyone expressed an interest in what they read, I sent out “The Bahá’í Faith: A Tiny Introduction” or “A Tiny Book of Prayers.” People do love getting mail these days, in spite of the ease of communication of email.
Suddenly, my teaching opportunities grew exponentially. I was not only communicating via mail and email, but I discovered that one of my grade school classmates lived only a few miles away, and we were able to meet up for a masked encounter and had a real heart to heart about the present climate of fear and hope for the future (the day after the most recent election). We didn’t talk about politics, but the ability of every heart to discern truth.
Recently, a musical college buddy got in touch. He had known me from the time I became a Bahá’í and remembered our conversations. He is passionate about all things spiritual, which is probably why I gave him a copy of “The Hidden Words” during one of the reunions of a singing group we were both in during college. Cliff composes pieces for this group to sing when we get together. He recently came across the book and decided that he would write a piece for the choir for our next reunion based on a Hidden Word.
Slowly, slowly – in God’s time – old friends are seeing and hearing this Message. I realized that my discouragement of the slowness of people’s awakenings over time was rooted in at least two things. The first was my experience in El Salvador in the early 70s when teaching trips would bring in whole groups of people overnight with very simple talks and slide shows that mentioned Bahá’u’lláh’s name and showed the beauty of our diverse human family. The second was my realization that, if all 500-ish of my classmates were immediately interested in the Faith, I would have a hard time meeting all their individual needs and answering all the questions that could arise at once, even if I had the ability to connect them with people closer to home to support their journey.
All things in God’s time, I have come to realize. My little prayers to find people who can see and accept the new day in which we live are coming to fruition little by little in a way that I can actually handle. God is good.
Love from your fellow wanderer,
P.S. Sometimes, if the time is right, even Baby Yoda joins in on a Zoom meeting with old buddies.