Monday, June 7, 2010


I don't know what came over me, really. It has been a tiring time, as of late, what with getting ready to try and sell the house. Perhaps I'll use that as an excuse, but I know it doesn't excuse anything. All I can do is just hang my head and offer a puppy dog look of being ashamed (while trying to hide a bit of a smirk).

I can't believe I did it, but I did. I confess, although I know that we should not be confessing our sins (yeah, yeah, we should bring ourselves to account each day, instead, thanks), I am actually guilty of doing this. I opened up Ocean (I can't believe I'm actually writing this in public, on the internet for all to see) and typed in (I hope you're sitting down) the singular word "bubble".

I'm not sure what I expected, or even why I was doing it, but that word seems to have been used twice in the Writings (that is only including the 3 Central Figures, not the Universal House of Justice). "Bubble"? Well, why not? (And look, I've just used the word "I" eighteen times since the start of this article. Sheesh.)

So what are those two quotes? Well, they're both from 'Abdu'l-Baha, and are as follows:

1.  O my Lord, verily, the sins are bubbling foam and Thy mercy is a full ocean.

and 2.  Indeed Thou hast assisted Thy servants in the past, and they were the weakest of Thy creatures, the lowliest of Thy servants and the most insignificant of those who lived upon the earth; but through Thy sanction and potency they took precedence over the most glorious of Thy people and the most noble of Thy mankind. Whereas formerly they were as moths, they became royal falcons and whereas before they were as bubbles they became seas.

I was going to only include the last little bit of the second quote, but decided that it really needed to be in context of the full quote. And I know, the first one used "bubbling", not "bubble", but you settle for what comes up. Right?

As usual, when writing an article of this nature, I have no idea where I'm going with it. It all starts with a randomly weird idea, a quick check in the Writings, and where the wind blows from there on to the end.

What is a bubble? It is a spherical body of liquid with a gaseous centre (hey, that could go into It is quite fragile, impermanent, and moves wherever the wind blows (to use a phrase from above). It truly has very little substance.

Why would the Master compare the sins to bubbling foam? Perhaps that is the most apt description of their beauty and evanescent nature. "Wait", I hear you cry, "what do you mean by beauty?"

Let's face it, sin wouldn't be a temptation if it wasn't fun. If we truly understood the dangerous nature of sin (a movement against the laws of God), and the destruction that it can cause, we wouldn't do it, now, would we? So there has to be an appealing sense of beauty about it. But, like all beauty of this world, it is only temporary. It is as foam when compared the true beauty of the spirit, or the mercy of God, which really is like the ocean.

Also, the bubbly foam may be fun to play with, but compared to the joy of swimming in the ocean? Come on, you have to be very shallow minded to even notice the foam at that point.

I remember my son (4 years old at the time) and I going down to the ocean one morning and there was a pile of foam that had just washed ashore. He glanced at it, but ran straight past and dove into a huge wave, screaming for joy as the wave carried him up and down. After body surfing for an hour or two that little pile of foam was very much forgotten. I only remembered it now when trying to call up the image of oceanic foam in my mind. Isn't that how we should treat sin? A mere glance, if even that, and then on to the good stuff?

So what about that second quote?

It seems to speak of the power and mercy of God. Those servants 'Abdu'l-Baha  mentions were like the lowest of the low, and God raised them up. More to the point, He took the illiterate fishermen and made them the saints of the Christian dispensation. He took utter barbarians and raised them to the heights of spirituality through the power of Muhammad's light. You see? There is hope for me yet.

Ordinary people have been transformed from the quivering moth of the night to the mightiest of birds, that royal falcon. Individual souls, who were like no more than a mere bubble in history, ready to pop and disappear at the slightest touch, became those seas that provided sustenance for generations, through their wisdom and example. Whether we are speaking of the great Rabbis, or the Saints, or the Imams, or any of the mighty teachers from any other faith, they really were just ordinary people at the beginning. Through their faith, humility and dedication (I'm sure there are other attributes that were necessary, but this is a start), and by the power of God, they were raised up to be more than they could have ever dreamed.

Now I have to ask myself: Do I want to be a mere bubble disappearing so soon? Vanishing at a touch? Or do I want to become a mighty sea, offering up whatever I can in the path of my Creator?

You know, I'd settle for being just a puddle.

Hmm. I wonder what would happen if I looked up "puddle" in the Writings?

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mead, I loved this post in particular, among your writings. I must give you one thought, though, so far as your "I don't know why I did it" bit and that is this:
    God loves laughter.
    This was clearly something that needed to be written, and yet it started with something so simple, sort of random, and probably springing, I would think, from a bit of a silly mood.
    So, there's my take. :-)