i love autumn. i’m not a big fan of daylight saving time, but I do love autumn. there’s something about this time of year that appeals to me. day in and day out, as the sun sets earlier and the day grows shorter, as the wind chills and the earth cools, as the trees lose their leaves and as the sky shifts from brilliant blue to murky grey, I feel like the world around me is speaking, telling me stories of the circles in life, the grand, ever-present and all-encompassing circles of birth and death, of rebirth and renewal. as God’s Manifestation returns to earth from age to age to educate humanity, so does His grace return each year to replenish and renew His creation. Autumn gives me a feeling of gratitude for the things I have that keep me warm and dry, the friends who bless me with the gift of their presence, and the joy of closeness to the ones I love. it reminds me that I am part of this creation, that I too have a time of plenty and a time of waste – life has its ups and downs, and you can never be “on” all the time. sometimes fields will be planted and sometimes they will lie fallow. you know, like that song they wrote back in the sixties. or was it someone else who wrote that…
being a Baha’i is such a beautiful, beautiful thing. harrowingly difficult at times, and challenging, to be sure. challenging because we are called to be the quickeners of mankind, pillars of strength around which a shattered, crumbling humanity is destined to seek shelter and solace. difficult because we must set aside our own ego, our own self, and seek the improvement of the life and condition of all. tests and difficulties come at us from all sides sometimes, and they seem designed to make us as uncomfortable as possible. sometimes I wonder: when will it all stop? sometimes I get tired and discouraged, and I want to slip quietly into my bed, sleep it off and wake up in spring when things are better and there’s more light. yeah, sometimes it’s harsh. but those are the breaks for everybody – all are tested, and only so much as their capacity allows. we are all meant to grow, that’s why we have tests. “The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks). when we hear this we don’t mind any more that the tests will never stop. we don’t mind that this life will be nothing but a continuing cycle of crisis and victory, of triumph and setback. when we hear this we know that there is a plan. the more we exert ourselves, the further ahead we get.
sometimes wack stuff happens at work and I get all pissed off. I don’t always show it because I like to present a smiling face to the world; I like to shine light in people’s lives, not drag them down (it doesn’t always work). sometimes wack stuff happens with friends and family too, like they don’t react the way you want them to or someone’s foot gets stepped on and there’s amends to be made. sometimes things just go royally wrong and nothing is going the way you want it to. and I get mad frustrated and cheesed off and it can stress me right out. that’s just the way it is. Right now I’m frustrated because my boss lost her job last week – restructuring was the reason given – and I’m disappointed because I felt like we were a good team together, and I had grown to respect her, enjoy her company, and, in some ways, look up to her. I’m frustrated that I have to step out of my comfort zone and start finding new ways to adapt to this new situation.
but that’s what happens, and that’s the way it is. trials and troubles, they come and go. I may be disappointed, but overreacting and holding grudges won’t help, right? it’s not about that. it’s about building unity and growing spiritually. it’s about welcoming tests, about turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones to growth. 99% of the time, we look back on big tests and say: damn, I sure did grow because of that. we say: I’m a much stronger/smarter/better person because I went through those difficulties and survived, and learned how to deal with them better the next time they came around.
gotta see it like that right? shine the light, don’t sit around and curse the darkness. so a big thank you to God for all the tests, cos they’ve brought me to where I am today. I wouldn’t know a lot of what I know now if I hadn’t gone through them. kudos, thanks and praise. peace out.