Lately, I have been afraid to write about things that are really important, about things that matter for the reason that I am afraid not to give justice to it or diminish its value. I wanted the words to be perfect and the intended message extremely loud and clear. I have been so used to writing about myself, my feelings, my thoughts with nary an intention but self expression. Writing , with the goal of reaching out to people and communicating an urgent message that impacts their lives is to say the least, difficult , scary and intimidating. But at some point in time, I have to gather my nervous guts into doing it.
On March 30, I will be flying to Bangkok to a seminar on “Involvement in the Life of Society” as a Philippine external affairs delegate for the Bahai Philippines Community. The seminar has been called upon by no less than the Universal House of Justice.
I have been involved with the community for a little less than 2 years. Sometime ago when I declared myself as Bahai, I knew it was not a decision I made just because I wanted a unified marriage and family life. I was leaving behind a whole set of beliefs and a way of life I have been passionately involved in for all of my life until that moment. I was terrified. I remembered crying a lot about it. It was then, according to my God-given logic and intellect, an obvious path to be taken. Someday, I said, my heart will follow.
The other day, the Las Pinas Bahai Community celebrated NAW RUZ. It signifies the end of fasting and the start of the Bahai New Year on March 20, 2012. Hosted by the Reyhanis, our resident Persian Family, we were treated to exquisite Persian dinner and dessert. Pizza and cake, however, were made available for those with western tastes. The occasion, as other Bahai holidays, was marked with chants, prayers, readings from the writings and a brief talk and reflection.
In a country where Christian traditions and celebrations are deeply felt across an entire nation, maintaining the festivity of the event for me is a challenge to the community. Still, the simple celebration in comparison reverberates with a subtle sense of simple joy and peace to everyone present. At least from my end, that is how I felt. I am happy I am able to complete the required 19 days of fasting from sunrise to sunset. It was my first year and I am thankful to my husband for his support and faith in me.
Fasting, similar to the Christian’s holy week commemoration, is an opportunity to cleanse one’s body and soul to prepare for the coming New Year.
Words, sometimes, are like hidden tools more potent in creating understanding and empathy amongst readers. I have always been a very social person but I do not wish to be in dichotomy any further and be a dual person. I remain who I am as before being Bahai. Although I hope, now, I’m just a bit more of a better person with a conscious effort to be a contributing individual to the betterment of society. But all such goals are realized only through prayers and so I end with this prayer.
O Thou most glorious Lord! Make this little maidservant of Thine blessed and happy; cause her to be cherished at the threshold of Thy oneness, and let her drink deep from the cup of Thy love so that she may be filled with rapture and ecstasy and diffuse sweet-scented fragrance. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful, and Thou art the All-Knowing, the All- Seeing.
- Abdul- Baha