Thursday, February 28, 2008

On How Amazing: To see the depth of understanding about the unifying vision of the Baha'i Faith, its Administration, and pattern of life in Iceland

What a powerful and touching blog entry that will endear Iceland and its Baha'is to anyone. -gw

Fabienne got sick: as we were leaving, on the tube, on the aeroplane, and then exactly at the moment we walked through the door of the home we were staying on our first night. In, her usual way, Fabienne remained cheerful throughout, sitting on the plane with only her bright pink trakkies Granny bought her last week, a blanket and no t-shirt. As we landed in Iceland, she cheered so hard, that people laughed with pleasure. "Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland, Iceland!", she cried. It was surely one of the greatest greetings this country has ever received. As we found our bed and were preparing for sleep, she started to sob, "Can we go home now Mummy? Can we go back to our house?" I explained that we would sleep tonight and Baha'u'llah would be near us; we were sleeping after all under a rug made from Icelandic Wool, the width of the bed with the emblem of the Greatest Name on it. It was very powerful just sitting under it. And she then said "And Abdu´l Baha!" and then "Why we can´t see Abdu´l Baha?" "Because, Abdu´l Baha is in the Abha Kingdom, and that world holds this world so wherever we are, Abdu´l Baha is too." She seemed happy with this and fell asleep.

Dear Barbara and Svana. Barbara washed all our clothes immediately. It was a full load. That evening, they told me so many stories about the history of the Faith in Iceland. Barbara´s writing a book about it, which involves some travel to gather facts from other pioneers now living in Canada. She is a retired Massage therapist and Svana is a retired physiotherapist. Together they ran a clinic. Barbara taught Svana the Faith, and so they taught the Faith together too. Between them, they contain so much knowledge and insight it felt an incredible privilege to start our trip in their company. They were both very ordinary on the one hand but possessed a vigour and passion you rarely see. Svana told me that she will be 76 this year: I am extremely healthy she said swigging from her bottle of Cod Liver Oil. This is incredible and necessary for health: it keeps the eyes strong and clear, the muscles and bones healthy and immune system; I never get colds or influenza she said. Their hospitality was incredible. In one day, I felt as if we had been with them for a week. On my first night, almost immediately (that is after she had done my washing and fed me) Barbara produced a large A3 red newspaper cuttings book, with all the articles and news published in the Icelandic press in the 1970's and 1980's. It was amazing to see the depth of understanding the population held about the unifying vision of the Baha'i Faith, its Administration and the pattern of life being adopted by the Baha'is in Iceland. There was almost an assumption by the Press that this would be the majority Faith of the country in the near future. It was considered so newsworthy that the national papers were vying for exclusive coverage rights. The arrival of the Hands of the Cause, the Board Members and Pioneers was nearly always considered important news, so its all there, history recorded.

Barbara was originally a pioneer, she also pioneered to the Faroes. Barbara said "Svana is a swan, descended from the Vikings". Barbara explained that Svana was a very special person and told me many stories about what she achieved for the Faith: how she negotiated so simply and in such a friendly way with the Government Minister to secure the Temple Land for Iceland; how she taught the people the faith because they liked her so much; the dreams she had about Abdu´l Baha before she became a Baha´i and all the dreams she had after too; I began to realise that she is one of those special people, the Icelanders will ask to intercede on their behalf from the next world. She told me about the Viking prophecies of Mount Carmel, The Bab and Bahá'u'lláh, considered so powerful that the text of the prophecy "dares not mention his name". She went on to remind me that none of the prophets of old, nor the Bab would directly mention His name either, it was always "He whom God will make Manifest".

{Re-posted with permission}

{Photo: Icelandic Greenhouse, uploaded on May 19, 2005 by panic on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic}

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