Friday, November 2, 2012

My Journey to Your Love

I cautiously put our picture in a frame.

You put a beautiful ring on my finger. I look at it with disbelief, and wonder if I'm in a dream, if such happiness can be mine.

Convinced long ago that happiness, joy and love was not to be mine.  Always watched others' happiness. My own had never been more than a few fleeting moments.  In my loneliness, I lived with a heart broken and a soul bereft of joy.

You entered my world with zeal, life and promise of love everlasting, and I wondered if I should believe.  You warmed my soul with the kindness of your words, and I wondered if I should believe.  You touched my heart with your expressions of love, and I wondered if I should believe.

I wondered if I was going to wake up from this lovely dream. I wondered, I wondered, I wondered.

Slowly, with the passing of each day, your love permeated my being, my heart grew closer to yours, my soul bonded with yours, and my being was immersed in yours. Slowly, You became my heart, you became my love, you became my happiness.  And I believed.

I know now that I am the recipient of a great gift, the gift of your love. Your sweet, patient, giving love is my reason to live.

And to you, my sweet, I promise my everlasting love.

                                                           Dedicated to Steve

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Trip to Australia

The night before my departure to Australia, it started to snow. It was one of those Colorado snow storms that makes life miserable at least for me.

I got home at 8:00 PM and started to call cab and shuttle services to see if I could get a ride to the airport in the morning at about 10:00 AM. The shuttle services would not make reservations for the morning due to the weather. I found one cab-company that made reservations for the next morning.

That night I was in such a bad mood. I had been planning the trip to Australia for a few months. Now that I was about to leave, we had a major snow storm. I was wondering if I would make it to the airport on time, if the weather would cause delays, and if I could make my connecting flights. During the night, I woke up several times and saw that the snow was coming down. Each time, I went back to bed cursing the universe, angry at God.

I have been mad at God for a while. I remember the week that I started to feel mad at him, her or it. It was a week of realizations. That week, I realized that I had been defeated in accomplishing many of the things that truly mattered to me in life. After years of struggle, I saw that my efforts had produced no results. I felt abandoned by God. I had always thought that if you want something in life and work towards it, you can achieve it. I had been proven wrong. It was then that I started to feel angry at God for not helping me despite all the good that I had done for others. I had taken care of people even when I felt that I couldn’t take care of myself. I thought that God would give me what I wanted, because I had given so much to others. But that wasn’t how things were. In a way, I lost faith and hope. Sometimes what is ordained by God is contrary to one’s desires. I am trying to accept that. I’m still redefining my life and trying to make sense of it. My life’s journey has been unusual. Spiritually and mentally, I have evolved throughout the years. I have come to question and disvalue so much of what I believed to be right. In some ways, my life has severely gone wrong, and I don’t know how to fix it; I don’t know how to live it. I am in a constant state of conflict with myself. There are moments that I find peace with it all and feel content. At times, I feel a sense of detachment from all that pertains to life. There is freedom in living with detachment. There is value in that. At those times, I feel calm and at peace. Ten years from now, all will have to be different. Maybe then I will see the reasons behind my state of being today. Maybe then I will see the growth that life experiences will have instilled in my soul.

I mostly measure personal success in life by character development, insight acquired, wisdom, patience and understanding gained, service provided and love given. So, I haven’t been totally unsuccessful in life. I am fully aware that what I think of God has to be entirely inaccurate. It is the product of my thoughts and imaginations as I do believe God, the Supreme Being, to be far greater than the human comprehension. I am this insignificant creature in God’s infinite universe. In the grand scheme of things, my needs, my wants and desires are not important. My whole earthly existence is no more than a fleeting moment in the infinity that lays before and beyond us. Nevertheless, like everyone else, I am wrapped up in my own little life, and what I perceive to be reality. On the day of my travel, I was entirely wrapped up in my problems. I was scared of the foot of snow that was in front of the door of my house and wanted to crawl back into my warm bed like a little girl.

My Cab got stuck in the snow in my complex. The cab driver and I dragged my stuff to the cab through 15 inches of snow. The main roads had been cleaned. The cab driver drove very slowly to the airport keep saying, “This way I’m safe, my passenger is safe and my family will get to see me tonight.” I kept thinking, “This way your passenger will miss her flight.” I could not convince him to drive more than 40 miles per hour on a toll road with practically no traffic and no snow. I had the urge to sit behind the steering wheel and drive myself.

When I got to the airport, I found that my flight had been delayed by 1.5 hours due to inclement weather. Now I’m thinking, “I’m going to miss my connecting flight in Salt Lake City.” I sat at the airport trying not to stress too much. When I got on the plane, there were technical difficulties, so we waited 30 extra minutes before the plane took off. At that point, I was upset. My life had been so stressful lately, and this vacation was causing me more stress. By then, I was pretty sure that I would not make my connecting flight and therefore, I would miss my flight to Australia. As I was sitting in my seat, I started to cry. After a while, I felt more relaxed and kept telling myself, “In the scheme of things this is nothing, don’t be so upset. Change your thoughts; change your perspective.” I mentally prepared myself for missing my flight to Sydney and spending the night at LA airport.

The plane landed in Salt Lake City when my flight to LA was boarding. I barely made the flight running through the airport like a crazy woman. Once I made my connection, I kept thanking God for helping me that day. I was utterly grateful. So, when an obese woman sat next to me and took half of my seat, I reminded myself how grateful I was to be on that flight. Thirty minutes earlier if someone would tell me the only way I could be on this flight was to stand in the isle the entire time, I would have happily accepted the offer. So 10 minutes later when the same woman started eating her double cheese burger with a ton of onions while talking to me, I was still grateful. In fact, the entire journey, I thanked God so many times for making all my connections. My mood had changed, and I was happy.

I got to Sydney at 6:00 AM. When I was picked up by Mehran at the airport, I was surprised that he went to the passenger side of his car. I thought for a second, “Does he want me to drive?” Then I remembered that in Australia, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, and people drive in the left hand lane. For the first week of my stay there, every time I was a passenger in a car, at every turn, I wanted to scream, “Stop, you’re turning into the wrong lane. You’re gonna kill us.” There were other differences that I noticed. In a lot of places, the sign for “Exit” was “Way Out”, “Yield” was “Give Way”. The word for “Receipt” was “Docket”, “Rental Car” was “Hired Car”. I asked someone why they say “Hired” and not “Rental”. She said, “Hired is short term, and Rental is long term”.

Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities that I have seen. It is hilly with a lot of vegetation and flowers. It has many beautiful beaches and harbors. The streets are narrow, hilly and full of shops. It has a lot of life with a great public transportation system. It is similar to European cities.

I was able to see the Fireworks burst over the Sydney Harbor from the famous Sydney Bridge on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, we went to the Bondi beach. It was crowded. So many people were in the water. The temperature was about 75 degrees. December, January and February are summer months in that part of the world. I saw many of the famous places in Sydney such as the Sydney Opera House. A friend of mine that I grew up with, and I had not seen since I was 16 years old lives in Sydney. I had lunch with her and her husband at her house one day. It was interesting to see how we have changed through the years.

The main reason for my trip to Australia was to attend the wedding of my relatives’ daughter. Mahta and her husband, Mehran, moved to Australia about 17 years ago. Their daughter, Shayda, was a little girl at the time, and now she was getting married.

On the days preceding the wedding, I witnessed beautiful expressions of love between Shayda and her fiancĂ©, Alex. Mahta and Mehran are great parents and have always had a strong bond between themselves and their children. The love and gentleness that was manifested among them was lovely to see. I thought to myself, “This is how it is when things go right.” The end result of their marriage is two children who have grown up to be wonderful adults.

On the wedding day, the bride shinned in her youthful beauty, and the groom looked handsome. I felt joy watching their loving interactions as they said their vows and dedicated their lives to each other. The Baha’i wedding prayers recited were beautiful. During the ceremony, the bride was tearful. The groom held her hand tightly, looking at her attentively. In those moments, I was filled with a strong feeling that something right and in accordance to the will of God was taking place that day and at those moments. In a world full of broken relationships and disconnections, it was great to see this coming together of two people. Love and affection permeated the place. I knew with certainty that the bond of their marriage was going to be everlasting. I wanted to watch their harmonious interactions. My soul needed to experience something so pure and beautiful.

Later in the evening, parents and family members talked and expressed their love for the bride and groom. Mahta, mother of the bride, got up to read what she had written for her daughter, Shayda. With poise and a calm voice, she read what could be described as a love letter. She would look up and smile at Shayda as she read. When she was finished, I wished I could hear what she had just read again. All the love shared and expressed that day had a healing effect on me.

My trip to Australia was relaxing. It allowed me to escape the stresses in my life that had seemed endless for such a long time. Life has been easier for me since I have been back. Finally, some of the stresses in my life have subsided, and I am much more at peace.

An excerpt from one of the Baha’i marriage prayers:

… Wherefore, wed Thou in the heaven of Thy mercy these two birds of the nest of Thy love, and make them the means of attracting perpetual grace; that from the union of these two seas of love a wave of tenderness may surge and cast the pearls of pure and goodly issue on the shore of life …

Friday, February 10, 2012

Education Under Fire

This website is about the plight of Baha'i students in Iran. They are banned from pursuing a formal education.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amazing Letter Written By a Former Slave to His Former Master

I was touched by this letter that was written by a former slave to his former master. It says all that needs to be said wonderfully.