“Look not at your own capacities, for the divine bestowal can transform a drop into an ocean; it can make a tiny seed a lofty tree. Verily, divine bestowals are like the sea, and we are the fishes of that sea. The fishes must not look at themselves; they must behold the ocean, which is vast and wonderful.”
“O Lord, my God! Give me Thy grace to serve Thy loved ones, strengthen me in my servitude to Thee, illumine my brow with the light of adoration in Thy court of holiness, and of prayer to Thy kingdom of grandeur. Help me to be selfless at the heavenly entrance of Thy gate, and aid me to be detached from all things within Thy holy precincts. Lord! Give me to drink from the chalice of selflessness; with its robe clothe me, and in its ocean immerse me. Make me as dust in the pathway of Thy loved ones, and grant that I may offer up my soul for the earth ennobled by the footsteps of Thy chosen ones in Thy path, O Lord of Glory in the Highest.”
anjali pala/left (eliot, usa): I spent this fasting weekend at the Green Acre Baha’i School, breathing in wide gulps of bracing New England air and taking time for quiet reflection, study, laughter, and prayer. I am ready to return to New York and all that it holds for me.
shahriar erfanian/right (vancouver, canada): Praying for spiritual growth and steadfastness. Grateful for everything in my life. Hopeful that my 1.5-year-old son won’t try to force-feed me pretzels for the remainder of the fast.
“…all songs are from the King, and every melody from Him.”
“Verily, I say, fasting is the supreme remedy and the most great healing for the disease of self and passion.”
anjali pala/left (brooklyn, ny, usa): My nights this week have been spent trekking to all corners of the city, accompanying a friend as she plays a series of concerts in New York. This time with her has been a reminder of how marvellous the gift of creation is, and how privileged and powerful we are in our ability to bring yet more beauty into this world. We’ve been out until the wee hours, which has resulted in bleary-eyed mornings and a relentless yearning for caffeine throughout the day, but I wouldn’t trade this week for anything.
ashley southall/right (sandy, bedfordshire, uk): In the words of Florence and the Machine – “it’s always darkest before the dawn”(!). This year something happened in my medical life that rather crushed me. But as with all tests, there is a reason for which I must search. Hopefully within this little piece of coal under pressure is a diamond. It has certainly helped me realise how rich my life is with family and friends and for this I will be eternally grateful. The Fast could not have come at a better time.
“Make me ready, in all circumstances, O my Lord, to serve Thee and to set myself towards the adored sanctuary of Thy Revelation and of Thy Beauty. If it be Thy pleasure, make me to grow as a tender herb in the meadows of Thy grace, that the gentle winds of Thy will may stir me up and bend me into conformity with Thy pleasure, in such wise that my movement and my stillness may be wholly directed by Thee.”
amy: obviously my moaning did some good, as it finally stopped raining here and I managed to even stumble upon some flowers and grass (GRASS!) struggling to make an appearance through the heavy coating of dead leaves.
late this afternoon, shamim and I took a long walk in central park, waiting for the sun to set and to join friends for dinner. those are ducks, not shamim and I. just in case anyone was wondering.
leila: i have been reading “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville. reading his glowing words about the potential of the american system, it is hard to restrain one’s own enthusiasm: “The free institutions which the inhabitants of the United States possess, and the political rights of which they make so much use, remind every citizen, and in a thousand ways, that he lives in society … by dint of working for the good of one’s fellow citizens, the habit and the taste for serving them are at length acquired.”
again and again my thoughts turn to this backbone of social structure: service.