I originally wrote these comments on the first anniversary of 9/11, but they are just as appropriate today.
One would think that after a year like the one we have just experienced, the world would be clamoring for what we have to offer.
After much reflection, I have an idea as to why: They don’t want what we are offering. They want what we want. What we are offering, for the most part, are words, ideas, hopes and visions. What they want – and we want – is love.
For many years as a Baha’i, I operated under the assumption that love is something that a Community develops as a by-product of doing lots of stuff together. I now believe that love has to be the primary focus of all of our activities.
It is the goal.
It is the means and
it is the end.
The things that we do along the way are just the window dressing.
All of the arguments, all of the hurt feelings, all of the offenses given and taken, have only been possible because we mistakenly believed that what we did was more important than the people we did it with. We were wrong.
Unless and until the believers really come to realize they are one spiritual family, knit together by a bond more lasting than mere physical ties can ever be, they will not be able to create that warm community atmosphere which alone can attract the hearts of humanity, frozen for lack of real love and feeling. (From a letter dated 5 May 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)
The Evanston TLC Committee
One of my best experiences as a Baha’i was serving on the TLC committee of Evanston IL. Forty years ago, Elvia Ramirez, Morris Taylor, and some others, whose names I’m sorry to say I can’t remember, met once a month to think of ways to shower Tender Loving Care on every member of the community.
We went through the entire community list every month, asking who might need rides to Feast, who might need a visit, who was sick, etc. We sent hand-made birthday cards to everyone whose birthday was that month.
We weren’t perfect. I’m sure we missed some important connections. The point is, we tried. We had no other goal than to try to make people feel loved and welcome. And we were united in our efforts.
This is what people want – whether it is dressed up in the language of Ruhi or Study Circles or devotions, or just offered with no structure whatsoever – they want connection and to feel loved.
If you have stories of things that you or your community are doing to make connections and spread love, share them with me, and I’ll pass them along in a future newsletter.
You are loved
Next week I’ll tell you about our improved You are loved medallions. I’m closing out the earlier editions at an insanely low price. They are thin enough to mail to whomever you love. Think about who all that might be, and I’ll tell you more next week.