in this day every one must be tested

Quote

In this day every one must be tested, as the time of the ‘chosen ones’ to prove their worth is indeed very short. The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The ‘first fruits’ must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are acceptable as first fruits, and all who fail to attain to the standard through the tests, are relegated to the ‘many who are called.’

The more one is severed from the world, from desires, from human affairs, and conditions, the more impervious does one become to the tests of God. Tests are a means by which a soul is measured as to its fitness, and proven out by its own acts. God knows its fitness beforehand, and also its unpreparedness, but man, with an ego, would not believe himself unfit unless proof were given him. Consequently his susceptibility to evil is proven to him when he falls into the tests, and the tests are continued until the soul realizes its own unfitness, then remorse and regret tend to root out the weakness.

The same test comes again in greater degree, until it is shown that a former weakness has become a strength, and the power to overcome evil has been established.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quoted from Star of the West, 24 June 1915, p. 45

busy day

hello. today’s a busy day! I’m working at home this morning, developing websites. (woohoo!) after lunch, I’ll head off to Thetford Mines for a meeting with the regional coordinator for the CAP program (which I’m working on); I might also stop by to say hello to some people in Thetford Mines, if there’s time. Later tonight I’ll be off to Montreal, as Ruhi book 6 starts this weekend!

wow. and I haven’t gone crazy yet? I must be adjusting to this lifestyle. as usual, I just have to be careful that I don’t suffer a nervous breakdown.

I think it helps to express the things I feel, you know. It lets off steam. If I didn’t admit it when I was feeling bad, I’d still feel bad. If I just put it out there in the open like that, then at least it’s out of me, it’s just this normal feeling that people feel and it’s not this thing I keep hidden inside me that stresses me out even though I don’t want to say it stresses me out. It’s a feeling, people feel them all the time.

sometimes you can’t help but feel sad. and what I need to know right now, what I need to learn and really accept, is that feeling sad is all right, and so is feeling angry, and feeling scared, and feeling annoyed, and feeling in love, and feeling whatever else. they’re just feelings. they pass, and feeling them and talking about them helps them pass easier.

not often you see a guy talking about these things huh?

oh by the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m downloading someone’s website with FTP, and it’s taking a while. that’s why I’m sitting here typing this. otherwise I would be working on something terribly important. I guess that’s a pretty poor excuse. oh well. I’d rejoin something terribly sarcastic but I am typing this for polite company 😉

step forward

A while ago, in october, I posted here about a problem I have with bottling up my feelings. I’ve been thinking about that again and I feel like sharing some stuff here, just to get it out. When I had the accident with my car just before the new year, the only injury I had — apart from a cut lip — was to my pride. I was sitting high and mighty on my accident-free driving record for a long time, and all of a sudden, I got knocked off. And it wasn’t just my pride, either. To be blunt, I was disappointed because all of a sudden, I wasn’t perfect. Somehow I have this thing inside me that says, “Be perfect, or else you’re not worth anything.” I know that nobody can be perfect. Ask anyone and they’ll admit that no one can ever hope to be perfect. So how logical is it to be disappointed in oneself for not being perfect? And likewise, how logical is it to criticize someone else for not being perfect? I think the two go together, because I see both behaviours within me. I often have judgemental feelings about others (thankfully, I mostly avoid expressing them), and about myself. I judge everybody and hang them too. Even now, I’m judging myself. See how pervasive it is? Wow.

How do I accept my imperfections? How can it be okay to be any less than what you’re expected to be? And who’s expecting me to be anything anyway? I only have to report to God. And God loves me, no matter how imperfect I am. God loves addicts, robbers, traitors and killers, why not me? It doesn’t matter how far I’ve fallen short of His standard. He created me because He loves me and He will always love me. God loves all of humanity unconditionally. Why do I say this? Because that’s what He told me.

“O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Words)

Even the paragraph I just wrote is an incomplete argument. But God loves me anyway. 😉 If you really want to know more, send me feedback and let’s talk.

This is the blessing that’s bestowed upon pioneers. As soon as one test is on the wane, a new one comes to take its place. In fact, the proof that God loves me is that He sends me so many tests. If He were to spare me all of the tests and tribulations, how would I ever get off my butt and become a better person?

But back to imperfections. I often do things that I feel ashamed of — ashamed because I know I could do better, but I’m afraid to take that step, I don’t want to step outside of what’s comfortable for me. I’m surrounded by people who have problems, who hurt, who need love, friendship, fellowship, and encouragement. And how many times have I taken the step outside my own “safety bubble”, held out my hand, introduced myself, and shown that sort of love and fellowship? Not many. I can’t think of one off the top of my head. I feel bad about that, because I know I could and should do better. I so desperately want to be that kind of person, and I get frustrated because I’m scared to take that step, I’m scared of being rejected, I’m scared of looking like a fool. That fear burns me like a deathless fire, and I know the only way out of it is to ask God for assistance and jump in. I get so frustrated, because I’m afraid. I can’t accept that fear. I hate it.

Sometimes I do insensitive things, too. Sometimes, whether I’m wrapped up in my own thoughts, nervous, pressed for time, distracted, or trying to handle too many things at one time, I do rude things, like show up late for a meeting or an appointment, forget to do things I said I would do, say something harsh or inappropriate, or whatever. And that’s not the worst of it. I feel like I’ve broken people’s trust lately. That bothers me, again, because I know I could do better. I know if I put my mind to it I could make the effort to be sensitive and respectful. I get frustrated because it seems that I only think of myself sometimes, that I’m self-centred. That hurts, to realize how self-centred you are. Sure, there are times when I’m not so self-centred. Still, when I am, it discourages me. I feel like I should be doing so much better, like this other person here or that person there. There are so many people, Bahá’ís or not, who are such shining examples of selflessness… so inspiring, and yet frustrating, because they’re at point A, I’m at point B, and I deeply want to be where they are.

sigh. I guess it’s like trying to get 250 HP out of a 108 HP engine. I’m not a fatalist, I’m an optimist. So I do believe that eventually, with effort, faith, reflection and prayer I can get there. There must be some way to accept myself as I am and still work towards something better. We must always keep in mind two things: We should never be satisfied with our present spiritual condition, and God has created us noble and worthy of His favour. It’s hard to explain. Even though we should never be satisfied with ourselves, we should remember that God has endowed us with nobility, and He loves us no matter where we’re at. And even though we need to accept and love ourselves, we should realize that there is always a higher station, a higher level of purity and awareness, to which we can climb.

more later, probably. I hope all of you are having a good week. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not check out the photo album I uploaded to care2? There’s photos of the Bahá’í winter school, my visit to Ottawa, and pictures of my newborn niece Zea 🙂 go see!

’twas brillig

my it certainly is brillig today. I’m keeping myself busy at work, and I’m waiting for a call from my insurance agent so I can make a clear decision about taking my courtesy car in. hopefully they’ll pay the drop-off fee.

I still have yet to get my photos developed from the holidays, because I keep leaving the film somewhere and forgetting it. bummer.

speaking of bummers, man, I gotta get some rest. This is all part of the benefits of tests, really, they force you to learn how to live properly. in my case, I tend to push myself past my limits, or ignore my limits completely. and the result is that I fall apart and get sick and otherwise run myself into the ground.

more news as it comes in. I plan to rest tonight, if I can.

wish me luck

well, tomorrow I have to set off for Victoriaville to start work the day after. the guy at the garage said the car’s not going to be ready as scheduled because the inspector has to come in and take a look at it to — what else — inspect the damage. hopefully I can finagle a way into getting it back without them trying to total it. three thousand for new airbags… grumble grumble.

wait a sec, no grumbling. no use in it. you can grumble and cry, or you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going with life until you reach your goals. well, not to say that it isn’t okay to grumble every now and then. oh well, let’s just write that one off.

not the car, the paragraph.

smashy smashy

well, my car is in a garage in Hull after having had a bang-up. I rear-ended another car after trying to brake downhill on an icy road after a bunch of freezing rain fell. no one was seriously hurt. still, it’s not real cool to be in this guy‘s shoes.

I got a lot of support from the Bahá’í community afterwards. they were all sending their sympathies and best wishes and their gratitude that I was all right. I had several people telling me that the accident may actually have been a blessing in disguise — perhaps it kept something even worse from happening to me. that’s a nice thought. it wasn’t my first thought when I had the accident, but after reflecting on it, I’d lean more in that direction myself.

I tried to post earlier today, but I had some computer mess-ups and mistakenly erased it. I was kicking myself, too, because I wrote something pretty good that I felt like sharing. the inspiration is gone now, though. bummer. oh well, it’ll come back. And I’ll post more later. for now, be content in knowing that everything is just hunki dori. peace out.