A new spirit
- Category: Alison Marshall's Column
- Created: Thursday, 26 October 2006 17:36
- Published: Thursday, 26 October 2006 17:36
- Hits: 4425
It's been a month and a half now since we learned about Mark having cancer. This past week, Mark has shifted into a home, where he will get the ongoing palliative care that he needs. This time has been a roller coaster ride. It's been very emotional and busy. I've struggled to get my work done. It's weird how life on the 'outside' goes on and doesn't take into account the fact that someone is dying.
I keep thinking about Baha'u'llah's statement in Gleanings (below) that when a believer dies, they leave a spirit behind that leavens the world. I think the spirit of Mark is already having this effect.
Mark was married three times, each time to a Baha'i. Two of his wives, for their part, have each been married a few times to Baha'is (and still are). One of them was once married to my brother, and they had a son. The result is that, around Mark, is a large extended family that reaches right into the New Zealand Baha'i community, and that family includes Baha'is who are members of the community and those, like myself and Mark, who are not.
Already walls between people are breaking down. People who have not seen each other in years have come together, putting aside the past, and finding a common bond in their love for Mark and for the Faith. Bonds between people have been re-established in a way that was once thought unimaginable. It's the beginning of a spiritual change and healing.
In this midst of all this, I happened upon the article on Baha'is Online, "At life's end, people need to tell their stories". The breakout says:
"The religious conversation in this country has become so polarized and so damaging that I sometimes wonder if we will ever be able to hear the real questions that people are asking. When one is faced with the end of life, they're not thinking about gay marriage, tax cuts for the wealthy or the morality of abortion. Instead, they talk about their families, wondering how their loved ones will deal with their death. They tell the stories that mean the most to them. And they talk about how hard it is to say goodbye."
The same applies here. I need only change a few words: "The religious conversation in the Baha'i community has become so polarized and so damaging that I sometimes wonder if we will ever be able to hear the real questions that people are asking. When one is faced with the end of life, they're not thinking about whether the House is infallible, whether women should be on the House, or whether a person can be a Baha'i without being a member of the community. Instead they talk about their families, wondering how their loved ones will deal with their death. They tell the stories that mean the most to them. And they talk about how hard it is to say goodbye."
I pray to Baha'u'llah that Mark's spirit will infuse a new spirit into the community on his death, so that people will stop letting differences that don't matter get in the way of our common love for Baha'u'llah.
"Thou hast, moreover, asked Me concerning the state of the soul after its separation from the body. Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will, assuredly, return and be gathered to the glory of the Beloved. By the righteousness of God! It shall attain a station such as no pen can depict, or tongue describe. The soul that hath remained faithful to the Cause of God, and stood unwaveringly firm in His Path shall, after his ascension, be possessed of such power that all the worlds which the Almighty hath created can benefit through him. Such a soul provides, at the bidding of the Ideal King and Divine Educator, the pure leaven that leavens the world of being, and furnishes the power through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest. Consider how meal needs leaven to be leavened with. Those souls that are the symbols of detachment are the leaven of the world. Meditate on this, and be of the thankful."
Baha'u'llah: Gleanings LXXXII
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