Monday, November 27, 2006

Remembering Generosity and Gratitude at Thanksgiving

I was so thankful to end my 5 days in Tennessee at the Nashville Baha'i centre with the most lovely souls on the Day of the Covenant. I was touched by the diversity in the community (I had not seen a lot of diversity in the general community), the love and fellowship and the dedication to the Faith (seeing also how this was the second Baha'i centre they had built from scratch). It was magnificent and had already outgrown their needs and was soon to undergo the second stage of rebuilding to cater to the growth in the community.

The service was very prayerful and the music and voices were just out of this world. As I felt my spirit rise through the wonderful service, I felt myself further touched gently by the ray of sun shining through the top of the auditorium streaming right onto my face! How perfect indeed! The readings shared were so special and the thoughts shared by Jim Traub through story telling kept well to Abdul Baha's sense of joy and humor.

I was truly humbled by the story shared about how the Blessed Beauty, Abdul Baha and the other prisoners at the end of the day used to share about something amusing that happened that day so they could end their day in laughter. Imagine that--to find humor in the horrible dungeons and being in chains- how humbling indeed. Abdul Baha reminded us that laughter is spiritual relaxation. Happiness he said is a spiritual state of being, and has nothing to do with our material surroundings.

When Abdul Baha was out of prison even as an older man, he travelled to Europe and the United States. There many luncheons and dinners were organised for him to meet with the dignitaries and luminaries of society hoping they will see a glimpse of the greatness of who he was and the magnificence of the Faith. This was at a time when many other spiritual leaders from the East were visiting the US. At one luncheon when given an opportunity to speak to an audience who were expecting to be "preached" to even when they were not really interested, Abdul Baha instead chose to share the humorous stories shared in the East. This broke the ice at the luncheon, and the other guests begun to share stories that they were reminded of. There was just so much joy and happiness, that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Jim shared another interesting anaedote about how Abdul Baha was very popular with reporters as he always had interesting stories to share and was quite positive about the US. When speaking to reporters he said smilingly Americans were really OK ( as when asked "how are you" they always replied "Its A OK".) Abdul Baha also noted the spirit of enterprise of the Americans, and John pointed out how amazingly the first incorporated Local Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is was in a place in the US called "Enterprise".

Karen ended the program by sharing a story written by a Baha'i about Abdul Baha for Thanksgiving, which was indeed published by the local newspaper Portsmouth Herald. It was indeed a truly inspiring end to the program for the day. You can read the full article at

So once again, I was able to just walk in to the centre and feel so at home in Nashville, Tennesse. I did have an added advantage though as I was also able to connect up with friends (Ann Hall and her son Aaron, and many others- Jim, Parry, Juliet, Pam, Karen, etc) of a fellow Baha'i friend (Leong/Price Mei-Ling)who used to live in California, used to live in Nashville after she married Darwin and now lives in Sydney, Australia with Darwin and recently delivered a lovely baby girl, Raina. So grateful to be a part of this global community!!


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