Sunday, February 03, 2008

On How Special They Were: Their peers must have thought they were insane

In MyTen Cents, some extraordinary personal reflection. -gw

Yesterday I had a staff visit to the House of Abbud- one of the homes where Baha'u'llah and His family lived in Akka. ...The very first room I walked into upstairs had a large portrait of an event dated May 30, 1944, which commemorated the fist 50 years of the Baha'i Faith in the United States. As I gazed on the picture of those first Western believers, a huge banquet hall with what looked to be at least a thousand believers, I noticed a man in the very front who looked so familiar. It was my grandfather! I kept thinking, no way...maybe it just looks like him, and then I noticed a beautiful, radiant young woman sitting at the table who was most definitely my grandmother. Soft tears began rolling down my cheeks as I realized there was a picture of my grandparents in the house where Baha'u'llah revealed His most sacred book. And the fact that my grandmother was in it, too, meant so much to me. I don't know why, but seeing her really stirred me. Maybe it's because I never met her. Maybe it's because it's more expected to see my grandpa in these things due to his position of service in the Cause for several years, or maybe it's because I know she really is responsible for that side of my family embracing the Faith...I dont know, but seeing her was just so moving. ...

I kept thinking about how special they were - not just my grandparents but all of those early believers. Their peers must have thought they were insane. Following some "orientalist sect". But they were not dissuaded. Not afraid to be different. So firm and steadfast in belief.

It was (and is) such a reminder of why we're all here. How small and insignificant we all are, in a way. And how special and precious we all are, in another way.

A long time ago, a Southern belle, a Methodist Southern belle found her heart yearning for answers to questions that would not quiet or dissipate. She was a devout Christian but she had questions. One in particular gnawed at her. She asked her pastor for explanations, and he told her "Martha, if you had faith, you would already know." This answer did not satisfy her.

Then one day she met the a Baha'i, and, as Baha'is like to do, she was invited over to a fireside where she could sit and learn about this new, little-known religion. Once the speaker was done presenting his ideas, Martha still had a question. The same question that none had ever satisfactorily answered before. This was the make or break moment, she just knew it.

Every day on my way to work, I pass by this tree. And for some reason, whenever I stop to actually drink it in, the glory and beauty of where I work, but particularly, when I stare at this tree (which I am, for some reason, drawn to) I always think about the story of Adam and Eve, and what it really represents. Incidentally, my grandmother, Martha Hamilton, felt her own heart drawn to the story of Adam and Eve.

When she went to that first fireside, the first question she asked was, "If Adam and Eve were the first man and woman on earth, whose children did their children go out and marry? That has never made sense to me." The speaker responded, saying something along the lines of, "Martha, that's an excellent question. Let's find out more about the real meaning of the story of Adam and Eve together." He pulled out a book called "Some Answered Questions" and shared the following passage with her. The passage which would change her life, and consequently my own, forever.

{Text and photos re-posted with permission}

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