A unity in diversity of actions is called for, a condition in which different individuals will concentrate on different activities, appreciating the salutary effect of the aggregate on the growth and development of the Faith, because each person cannot do everything and all persons cannot do the same thing. (The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 80)
I live in a tiny cluster, maybe 25 Baha’is on paper, mostly inactive. It used to be a very active cluster when we all had kids at home, but they grew up and most of them left the Faith. Those left behind couldn’t deal with the change in the direction the teaching work took, once we formalized clusters and started the community building process.
I was one of the first group of tutors in Canada to be trained and stayed current with the letters of the House of Justice and tried valiantly to bring the rest of the community along. When they wouldn’t, I started taking on jobs that weren’t mine to do and burned out.
I too, have become mostly inactive, but definitely not apathetic. I still say my prayers, read the Writings, Fast, donate to the Fund, take care of my obligations to the Right of God – all the basics. I just don’t have the bandwidth to participate in study circles or devotional gatherings anymore. I want to say “as a result”, our cluster is not even at milestone one, but I realize it’s not my fault. I can’t make it happen all by myself. That’s why I love this quote so much.
It reminds me I can’t do everything. I tried! In order to get to milestone one, we need a diversity of actions, with different individuals concentrating on different activities. Until we have this, no real progress can be made. Please God, hasten the day!
Knowing that one person can’t do everything, I can relax, trust that God loves me and I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Letting Go of Criticizing Others
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Every aspect of a person’s life is an element of his or her service to Bahá’u’lláh: the love and respect one has for one’s parents, the pursuit of one’s education, the nurturing of good health, the acquiring of a trade or profession, one’s behaviour towards others and the upholding of a high moral standard, one’s marriage and the bringing up of one’s children; one’s activities in teaching the Faith and the building up the strength of the Baha’i community . . . and, not least, to take time each day to read the Writings and say the Obligatory Prayer, which are the source of growing spiritual strength, understanding, and attachment to God. (Universal House of Justice, to the European Baha’i youth Council, 7 December 1992)
Where has this quote been all my Baha’i life? I realized when reading it, how narrow was my understanding of service. I used to think that service was just participating in the core activities and raising up the community building process within our clusters. I can see how I would get that impression because study of the Ruhi curriculum teaches us that this is what means to walk a path of service, and when the Statistics Officer contacts me to see what I’ve been doing, these are the only things they want to track. Living in an inactive cluster and being an introvert, happier teaching and serving in an online environment, I have beaten myself up mercilessly for not being a good Baha’i, because I’m not currently serving in my cluster the way I think I “should”. So I was very grateful to find this quote today!
I relate better to bullet points, which I can use as a checklist, so let’s take these one at a time:
- the love and respect one has for one’s parents
- the pursuit of one’s education
- the nurturing of good health
- the acquiring of a trade or profession
- one’s behaviour towards others
- the upholding of a high moral standard
- one’s marriage
- the bringing up of one’s children
- one’s activities in teaching the Faith
- building up the strength of the Baha’i community
- reading the Writings
- saying the Obligatory Prayer
Were any of these a surprise to you? I was certainly surprised that they are all aspects of service. I was happy to see that nurturing good health is also part of service, because of course, we can’t serve when we aren’t healthy. I love belonging to such a compassionate religion and am grateful for the House of Justice elaborating on this issue!
Knowing that service is much broader than just “walking a path”, I can relax and I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Learning How to Be Happy
Help Keep This Site Alive
Another loyal reader comments:
I just copied the part about having to prioritize, as I have dozens of Rabbits running around here ….
`Abdu’l-Bahá said: If you are faced with the most important task,you must let go of the important one!
Have added your site to my Favourit-List to go back to later. ….
A loyal reader wrote:
Thank you for this inspiring article, Susan. It spoke directly to some of the thoughts I was having today around our family Ayyam-i-Ha celebration. We have chose to attend a small children’s party on Saturday and to have our parents over for a dinner afterward. Nothing fancy. The focus is on hospitality and love. We’ll also bring a bag of goodies to the local food bank and thrift store. Happy Ayyam-i-Ha to you too!! 🙂
So simple, how quickly we can lose focus to try and please everyone all the time. One thing at a time, slow and steady will get you to the end of the race first.Thanks Susan for the great advise we all forget in these trying times.