Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to fully draw on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith. (From a letter dated 8 May 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, in Living the Life, p. 19)
I love this quote and was happy to read it today because it reminds me of the importance of developing deep friendships with other Bahá’ís, that goes well beyond our joint service to the Cause. Growing up I learned how to silence myself and distance myself from others so I wouldn’t “tell the family secret” by mistake. I know how to be a really great listener and how to help people hear their own truth. I’m an expert at deflecting attention away from myself to keep other people talking about their own lives. I didn’t even know how hurtful this was both to myself and others until recently. It’s hurtful to myself because when I was finally wanting to open up and get some support from others, they could’t hear me because I’d broken the unwritten contract that says all communication was about them. It was hurtful to others, because they made me their god and didn’t allow them to develop their virtues of compassion, love, strength and consolation.
When I first became a Baha’i, I was hungry for this kind of friendship described in the quote, but there didn’t seem to be a time or place. Feasts and Holy Days had their prescribed agendas and then we went home. I had to go outside to find love and strength and harmony, often from paid therapists. I loved when the House of Justice started encouraging us to study prayers together and make home visits, because these activities opened up a space for real heart-to-heart conversations. I’m so happy that the community building process is all about building relationships and creating the kinds of communities where we will be able to turn to each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need, more and more often, and where children and junior youth will learn how to do this and feel the benefits of it, from a very early age.
Learning how to give and receive love in concrete ways, 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 Learning How to Be Happy