Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Singular Moment

I was recently asked to complete the following sentence: I will never forget the time I...

What do you say to a question like that? How many are the moments in our life that we will "never forget"?

Well, as I thought about that, a story came unbidden to mind and I thought I would share it with you, dear Reader.

It was a few years ago, and I was at a youth conference in Vancouver. After the conference, I had been asked to go north with a group of youth, as their chaperone. We were to drive up to Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories. It was quite a long drive; something like 30 hours. We did it pretty much straight through by switching off drivers and having people sleep in the back. Oh, and I think there were 5 of us in the car, so it was pretty tight.

Anyways, on the way there we stopped at Alexandra Falls, and that is the when the moment occurred that I will never forget.

We all got out of the car and walked down the path. As we aproached the falls, I walked fairly close to the edge. There was no railing or anything around there, which is unusual to someone like me, who is used to tourist areas like Niagara Falls, where it is practically impossible to get close to the water. (Something about the fear of lawsuits from idiots who go out of their way to try and disprove Darwinism, as they have already had children.)

I walked along the edge of the river at the top of the falls, and then saw a rock slide leading down to the bottom.

Quite naturally I wanted to see the falls from the bottom, so I sat on my right heel and extended my left leg out in front of me, as a brake, and proceeded to slide down the rocks on my right foot. At the bottom, it was very lush and beautiful. That was something that had stuck me about the whole area: the beauty of the plants.

I walked around the edge of the water, enjoying the mist that was tossed up into the air. The sound of the rushing water provided a meditative background of noise that was at once both pleasantly relaxing and exciting.

I knelt over the water and washed my hands and face, taking the opportunity to say my obligatory prayers in that wonderful setting. When I was finished, it seemed that was not enough, and so I continued to say prayers, meditating on the service to the Faith that brought me to such a pristine place, grateful for this wonderful opportunity. I closed my eyes, allowing my other senses to really draw in the surroundings, and imprint them on my soul. After what seemed like an eternity, I opened my eyes again, ready to try and move back to the world from that wonderful spiritual state I had been allowed to glimpse.

Then I noticed it: a blueberry bush. Right where the falls hit, at their base on the shore, was a blueberry bush. There was something about that bush that caught my attention, besides the wonderful berries growing ripe on its branches. It seemed to me that it was there as a gift.

That was when I realized that that is exactly what it was. Those blueberries had been offered as a gift of thanks to the river, and to the waterfall. And they took root and grew, for all of us to enjoy.

After taking a handful, and enjoying a few at the moment, I said another prayer of thanks, carefully offering a few of the berries back to the land that had provided such beauty, both visually, audibly and in taste.

I carefully made my way back up to the top and offered one of my friends a few of those little treasures, explaining to her the significance of them.

That is a moment I shall never forget: that gift of nature, so precious, so rare, and so carefully given back.

"Thus have the showers of My bounty been poured down from the heaven of My loving-kindness, as a token of My grace; that ye may be of the thankful...."


  1. Hi,
    I stubbled across your blog today, and I really needed to. I had googled Baha'i and Bipolar several years ago and found nothing. I was struggling to "keep the faith" so to speak when my life was so tumultuous. No matter how many long healing prayers, I got ill, very ill, again and again. The last decade has been very very tough, but with the clarity of a proper diagnosis, and not just a growing suspicion,and the start of proper treatment, there's hope? I don't think I can survive another decade like the last one. So I wanted to say thanks for your blog and your honesty. It will help people like me who are marooned on the choppy seas of bipolar.

  2. There are so many testimonies of conversion and healing through the Baha'is group I witnessed when I lived in Chicago, I beg you tell me if you offer company or visits to people who like my friend with a problem of bipolarity, could receive. She lives in Boston, in complete solitude, only the nurse see her some days, his family very little and I live in Florida, I have no resources to travel. This situation is so sad that I turn to you, because the biggest problem is her depression and insecurity.

    1. Due to my living in Canada, I'm not sure I would be able to visit your friend in person. But I can certainly offer my time on the phone, or ask around if there is someone in Boston who can be of more assistance. Please e-mail me if this is something that would be of use.