Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Why do I write this blog?

I recently received this comment on one of my articles:
"...Some of my other favorite blogs have disappeared. What keeps you going? What makes you want to keep doing this? What does it mean to you, in itself, and in relation to Baha’u’llah’s purposes?"
What great questions.

Thank you for asking this. It has gotten me thinking for a number of days now about why I do this, and how I continue to do it after so long.

Well, the short answer is that I love to blather on, and what better thing to blab on about? My question is, why are you reading this?

But no, the longer answer is, I think, a bit better.

As you may know, it all began with a story, about how I began my first children's class lo those many years ago. The question was asked at a conference, and when I recalled how I started my first one, I actually laughed out loud. This inspired me to write the story down, and that led to another story, and another, and so on. But then, as I was writing these down, it occurred to me that I could also write a bit about the Writings, and some of the precious gems I saw within them. Of course, as I was writing all this, it also occurred to me that I could write a little bit about my own experience both as a tutor and serving in various capacities in the Faith.

Well, one thing led to another, one idea to another, and here we are today.

But even this doesn't really describe it all that well to me.

What is it that actually keeps me going, and wanting to do this? I think it's the Writings themselves.

I remember years ago sitting with a group and we had decided to study something from the World Centre before beginning our meeting. Probably a Ridvan message, or somesuch. Anyways, as many are wont to do, we went around in a circle and read a paragraph at a time, and when we got to the end, the chairperson said, "Okay, we've done our study." And I was sitting there thinking, "No, we read it. Now we need to study what we read."

I've seen the same thing time and again with the practice in Ruhi Book 1, Unit 2: Study a prayer with a friend. So often, upon questioning people about their study, I learn that what they did was pray with a friend. I mean, this is a good thing, don't get me wrong, but it's not a study. Both have their purpose, and they are very different purposes.

Of course, when talking about this with people, it turns out that a lot of us have no idea what it means to actually study something. To me, the most important definition in the dictionary in this context is to "investigate and analyse (a subject or situation) in detail". It is so strikingly similar to when Baha'u'llah tells us to peruse the Writings. This doesn't mean to glance over; it means to study in depth, with careful attention to detail.

Ok. So what better way to help show others what this means than to do it oneself? And this, dear Reader, is why I love to write about my small analyses of the Writings. These blog entries are just a few samplings of some of the many gems I have found. And of course, when you find a gem, you want to share it with the world. Here, I have that opportunity.

I also have the experience of studying literature, among other things, at university. So it was just natural for me to look at, say, the Tablet of Ahmad and ask how the first few sentences foreshadow the rest of the Tablet. This led me to notice that the verbs in the beginning, "proclaiming", "calling", "informing", and "guiding", lead us ever closer to that Source of sources. A proclamation is done over a great distance. You call to someone down the road. You inform someone standing next to you. And guidance is from within. Then I noticed that the Tablet can be divided into four sections by using Ahmad's name as a dividing line, and that the four sections mirror these four verbs.

How could I not be excited by noticing such things? And how could I not want to share such a finding?

Of course, the overarching thing in all of this for me is not such pedantic findings, but their application in our daily life.

Using the above example, it just makes sense that we would proclaim to the world all that we discover in the Writings. The call then goes out to those whose attention is captured by such things. This leads us to informing them of the source of our findings, which can lead to them taking in the guidance found in the Writings.

No matter where we look in the Writings, we will see patterns similar to this, whether in the way in which 'Abdu'l-Baha draws our attention to spreading the teachings in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, or the highly systematic manner in which Baha'u'llah unfolds the truth of the Bab's Cause to His uncle in the Kitab-i-Iqan. Paths upon paths. And if this path works on the micro-level, we can be guaranteed that it will also work on the macro-level.

I find it all so exciting, and so applicable, that I cannot just sit back and hope that others discover these things, too. No. I have to share it. I have actually learned to presume that others will not see the Writings in the same way that I do, and that my small contribution will actually help others. I mean, the same is most definitely true in the reverse. I treasure all the conversations I have with others in which they explain to me what they have found in the Writings. Remember, what is obvious to you is a shocking discovery to others.

So, yes. I write this blog in the hopes of sharing a bit of my enthusiasm for the Writings, and helping others see a little bit of what I have discovered in them, and pray that it inspires them to share their own discoveries, too.

Remember, none of us are experts on the Writings. We are all studying them together. I mean, I'm a fashion designer and jeweler by trade, so if I can find some of these gems, surely you can, too.

4 comments:

  1. I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

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  2. it is for many years that I am following your blog but never commented it. your blog is great. help me understand the faith better and deeper. It's some kind of online reflection for me (beside individual and cluster reflection!). So continue please.

    one believer from Iran

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much for your kind words, and your extreme steadfastness. Know that you, and all the believers in Iran are the inspiration for so many of us around the world.

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    2. I wish one day we can see each other, I will tell you some interesting story about what your blog have done and how precious it is :)
      Again thanks for everything Mead

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