My Journey To Faith – How I Became a Bahá’í
My name is Margaret Grant and I became a member of the Bahá’í Faith when I was aged 20 in 1965. I’m now 66 and still learning and growing spiritually – but what a journey!
I was born of parents who had ceased attending church, but they nevertheless maintained a basic belief in Christianity. My father, James Hufton, known as Jim, was a member of the Church of England and my mother, Ada, a Methodist. They were rather disenchanted with ‘churchianity’ because there was a lot of trouble in the family when my aunt married a Roman Catholic. Our roots were working class, but my parents determined to climb out of the poverty trap and make something of their lives, and to own their own house and business. My father was an engineer and for the majority of his working life worked for Mono Pumps in Audenshaw, near Manchester. He became manager of the rubber shop in his fifties and designed the first water pump for developing countries that could not be dismantled by thieves. He also designed the first drill that could find its way around hard rock strata for drilling oil and gas. My mother was always very creative and, in her thirties, studied to become a hairdresser, eventually running her own business.
As a child I was sent to Sunday school and then, as a young teenager, to church and confirmation class. I confess that by that age I was more interested in the choirboys than the content of the sermon. However, being frequently asked to read the lesson was good for my self-confidence and I always read with passion and sincerity.
My real spiritual education in those early years came from my father. Every evening, as he tucked me into bed, we would pray together and discuss the whys and wherefores of existence. We always prayed for other races and religions. His was a broad vision of humanity and, being exposed to such, made narrowness of thought quite alien to me.
I always slept with the curtains open so that as I was dropping off to sleep I could see the sky. I was an only child and used the long summer evenings to read or meditate alone, for I was always sent to bed at 7.30. I often made pictures in the clouds as others do with the flames of a fire. One evening I thought I saw the face of God looking at me. It was such a beautiful, compassionate expression, full of love and understanding. The God of Sunday school seemed frightening and stern, yet this face was wonderful. Many years later I recognised the same face when I saw a photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá smiling. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the son of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í religion; known for his compassion to humanity and knighted in recognition of his services to peace after the First World War. He is an exemplar and role model in the Bahá’í religion.
When I was nine I was given a Bible for my birthday and resolved to read it from cover to cover. It only took me several months because I skip read the fighting and wars sections in the Old Testament. The sections depicting conflict seemed pretty pointless and far from the spiritual teachings of Christ as I knew them, but I homed in on the spiritual verities, thirsty for knowledge.
I was a very shy little girl, brought up to be seen and not heard, a person who did not have an opinion worth listening to. But I knew I had one wonderful gift from my Creator – I could improvise dance from inspirational music. I enjoyed going into churches alone and having conversations with God. On one such occasion when I was 11, I promised God that I would serve Him by dancing to the best of my ability. My dancing would be a form of worship.
Throughout my later career as a drama teacher I was to use creative dance and inspirational music to awaken spirituality in young hearts and expose them to altruistic themes of thinking, such as their own inner nobility, the brotherhood of mankind, the harmony of science and religion, the equality of man and woman and the prophecies in all faiths that promise a future age of world peace. But as yet I had not yet found the fount of my inspiration. I was searching. I was restless in my soul. I wanted answers to questions, which my vicar could not supply me with.
I was 13. I remember my confirmation evening very clearly. As I went up to receive the bread and wine of my first communion, a beautiful voice spoke in my head and said, ‘There is much more for you to learn and you will not learn it in the confines of the church’. I felt quite uncomfortable as the bishop blessed me. I had this great urge to bless him, as though I recognised the true place of the female in the spiritual realm. I vowed to God that I would do all in my path to discover His Truth. I knew that what the churchmen had told me in confirmation classes was only part of the greater picture. I begged God to lead me to a much fuller understanding. My confirmation was, therefore, not a pledge to Christianity but the beginning of a process in me that some people will recognise as the ‘Valley of Search’.
When I was sixteen I explored evangelical Christianity and recognised its irrelevance to me. I already felt ‘saved’ by Jesus. I did not feel the need for an emotional public demonstration of something which had been in my heart since I could understand the prayers I said every evening. I was beginning to think for myself and ask God all those awkward questions such as – why do we exist? Why do we suffer? Why are there so many different religions? I was in desperate need of clarity of vision, purpose and focus.
It was 1963 and I was seventeen. It was the first time I had ever been away from my parents. I spent three weeks in Paris and Clermont Ferrand, visiting my French penfriend and her relatives. I visited Notre Dame Cathedral. It was Easter time and the archbishop was receiving people for blessing. One vivid picture sticks in my mind – that of a street beggar with his feet wrapped in sacking, kneeling and kissing the bejewelled finger of the archbishop. I felt sick to my very core. I could feel Christ’s disappointment with the human race. I could not wait to get out of the Cathedral.
I went along with my penfriend’s family on Easter Sunday to their Roman Catholic Church. The service was in Latin with which I was familiar, and I joined in the mass with gusto to the disgust and horror of my host family. After all I was a ‘heretic from the Church of England.’ I should not have been worshipping God in their church!
I firmly believed that God did not care which label or belief system one held. He was without prejudice and would always listen to prayer. I believe it was because I had experienced this narrow-mindedness that fate allowed me a very strange encounter on the ferry home from Calais to Dover.
I was getting very confident about opening my mouth in French and, when a petite Belgian lady struck up a motherly conversation with me, I was very flattered. She told me she was on her way to the Royal Albert Hall in London to a very special congress, a big international Bahá’í Congress, where representatives of all the nations would elect the nine members of its first international governing body. How historic that occasion was I had no way of knowing, but when she mentioned that the Bahá’í Faith was a religion, I ran away from her, not literally of course, but I feigned the need for a cup of tea and failed to return to sit next to her. I had decided that I wanted to close my heart to organised religion with its factions and ‘We are the only true faith’ pose. If God had any sense he wouldn’t be sitting me next to religious narrow-minded bigots. In reality how prejudiced I was. But God did not give up on me.
My second foray abroad was a three month student visit to North America two years later. It was the summer of 1965 and I had my twentieth birthday there. I prayed at the graveside of John F. Kennedy, witnessed a Ku Klux Clan charade in Cleveland, where I was staying with friends, and prayed fervently that one of my best friends would not be drafted to Vietnam. My one brush with religion was to go to a service where Jesus was marketed in the same way we market detergent – a very distasteful experience.
I reached then the end of my tether. If there was a God, why did he allow wars, social injustice and religious bigotry? Perhaps He wasn’t in charge after all? I prayed constantly and fervently for God to show me a sign of His existence. He had to help me make sense of the chaos that we humans had created. I gave Him an ultimatum. He/She must have been smiling at my arrogance, but also realised my agony of heart and soul searching. I told Him he’d better get to work in my life or be responsible for my total loss of faith. It was crunch time! He came up with the goods.
I was boarding a plane to fly back to Gatwick. I was choosing where to sit. I saw a young Eastern looking gentleman sitting with a vacant seat next to him. I found myself wanting to avoid him. Horrified at my own racial prejudice and mindful of my high and mighty judgment of the racial injustices in American society, I took up the challenge and went to sit by him. I was followed by a blonde haired, young Englishman, who had insisted on carrying my bags from the airport lounge.
I sat for seven hours between these two young gentlemen; Riaz Khadem, a very charming young man who believed in a Creator – and Peter, a scientist and an avowed atheist. Our seven hour journey across the Atlantic literally flew. Riaz was the first sorted, sensible young human being I had ever met. We had a lot of beliefs and opinions in common, but wisely he never mentioned that he was a follower of any particular religion. I remember feeling a sense of loss when we lost each other coming through customs at Gatwick. But he systematically searched the train headed for Victoria Station and found Peter and me again.
I didn’t usually accept invitations from young men I did not know, but when Riaz Khadem invited Peter and me to Oxford the next weekend, I accepted with total trust.
It was a wonderful weekend and one that was to change my life forever. I was boarded with a lady in her fifties called Marion Hofman. We sat at her fireside and I noticed a strange sign above her mantelshelf and asked her about it. It was then that I heard for the first time that the Bahá’í Faith stood for the unity of all religions and peoples. It was in that sitting room in Oxford that I began to suspect that my quest was over.
We sat in her sitting room and read beautiful prayers from a red bound book. She seemed to approve of my reading aloud and I felt appreciated as a human being. God had given me a second opportunity to learn about the Bahá’í Faith and this time I was willing to listen and learn without prejudice. It was now up to me to learn the true value of the spiritual treasure I had found.
Marion had such quiet command of her spirituality, it was so firmly grounded and, new and brief as our relationship was, she confided in me of how she missed her dear David. Her husband, David Hofman, had been the first B.B.C. television news presenter when television was in its infancy, just before the Second World War. He had been an actor, but had subsequently set up the George Ronald Publishing Company with Marion when they had settled in Oxford. The mixture of pride and longing in her eyes was so touching as she told me of how he had been called to serve at the World Centre of the Bahá’í Faith in Haifa, Israel.
She had stayed on in Oxford to bring up her two children and run the publishing company. David had been elected to serve just before the Bahá’í World Congress in the Royal Albert Hall two years previously! Subsequently he was re-elected at five year intervals until he retired in his eighties, to travel the world as a teacher of the Bahá’í Faith.
During that first, wonderful weekend in Oxford, Riaz took us to where the great grandson of Bahá’u’lláh, Shoghi Effendi, had had his rooms at Balliol College. I could, as yet, not really appreciate the reverence with which Riaz spoke of Shoghi Effendi. Nor could I yet appreciate that Riaz was the son of the Hand of the Cause, Mr. Khadem. However, later that day, as we walked in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace, I asked more direct questions about the teachings of the Faith and began to identify myself as a Bahá’í; for the Bahá’í principles were all I had ever believed in and it seemed such a relief to find I was not isolated, but linked in mind and spirit to many others. Perhaps I was not quite so peculiar after all!
I returned to London and attended regular fireside open discussions at 27 Rutland Gate. Jeanette Robbin, a young American, was serving at the National Bahá’í Centre there and became my spiritual ‘nursemaid’. At first I was offered simple books of explanation about the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, who claimed He was the Promised One foretold by all the other religions and whose mission was to clarify to mankind God’s purpose for us here on earth. But I knew that to truly recognise Bahá’u’lláh I had to read His writings for myself.
We are so fortunate in having access to hundreds of volumes written by Bahá’u’lláh, during His 40 years of incarceration in the nineteenth century. Many have been translated by Shoghi Effendi, His great-grandson. I found in those writings the authority of God – a prescription for personal and collective noble living – a clear vision of the goals of international welfare and civilisation – an understanding of the progress of the soul and life after death. I found in His interpretation of religious history the process of how the jigsaw of God’s purpose for man can be put together.
I declared my faith in Bahá’u’lláh as the Messenger of God for this day and age on November 28th 1965 at the National Bahá’í Centre in Rutland Gate London – the anniversary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921.
I was unable to attend many Bahá’í meetings the following year as I had many evening rehearsals at drama school. I was told that I was the ninth member of the LSA of Westminster, but I only managed to attend two meetings. I had been studying drama for two years at the New College of Speech and Drama in Golders Green. The building of the drama school was the beautiful Ivy House, once owned by the ballerina Anna Pavlova, and it was there that I learned and honed my skills as a drama teacher and choreographer.
However, becoming a Bahá’í gave me a lot more self-confidence. Bahá’ís really listen to people and have a process of consultation, which is non-confrontational, where even the children’s opinions are valued. The timid Margaret Hufton began to emerge from her shell. For the first time in my life, participating in the firesides at Rutland Gate made me feel valued as a human being. My opinions mattered.
The result was that in my third and final year at drama school and to my utter amazement, I followed Helen Mirren’s accolade of walking away with the Acting Prize for best actress.
In the summer of 1967 I moved back to my parents’ home in Haughton Green near Manchester to take up my first teaching post in English and Drama at Egerton Park County Secondary School in Denton. (Interestingly this became the venue of a Thomas Breakwell Bahá’í Sunday School, long after I had left for another posting. I would like to think that the then headmaster, Norman Williams, a great enthusiast of the Esperanto movement, had been somewhat impressed with some of the Bahá’í teachings, which I had introduced through morning assembly and into the scripts of some of my plays.)
In 1968 I staged a drama club at the school and it was the Bahá’í teachings which inspired me to write the play ‘Just Imagine’, where two prisoners, confined together as a psychologist’s experiment, dream about the development of a peaceful, just, world civilisation. The drama group did me proud and we walked away with first prize at a local drama festival, where a journalist described the play as ‘…startling, moving and beautiful’.
I began to attend Bahá’í meetings in earnest. My parents had been fully consulted about my becoming Bahá’í, but held deep reservations about its perhaps being a ‘hippie’ cult. So when I met Connie Grant, a Bahá’í from Manchester, I was sure that she and her husband Gordon would be able to allay their fears, being the same generation as my parents. Little was I to know that I would fall head over heels in love with their elder son, Gordon, as yet showing little interest in the Faith, but on our first date cementing a life-long friendship of candour and trust.
We were married in 1969 shortly after Gordon’s graduation and we were blessed that conducting our wedding was Adib Taherzadeh, then a National Assembly member and family friend of the Grants. (Their home in Chorlton frequently hosted National assembly meetings in those days.)
Three months prior to our wedding, Gordon junior had decided to embrace the Bahá’í Faith and so began our life of service to this precious Cause. My parents also began to study the Faith and they too became Bahá’ís in 1971, declaring their faith in Bahá’u’lláh on the commemoration of Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday, November 12th.
Living not far from the Manchester Bahá’í Centre in Fallowfield was such a privilege. We had so many visits from Hands of the Cause and I remember William Sears signing his book God Loves Laughter for my father and giving him the most amazing bear hug and almost crushing Bill’s spectacles, which he often kept in his breast pocket and frequently had to replace, because of his habit of hugging people in this way.
During those early years of our marriage Gordon and I became friendly with a consultant psychiatrist called Heshmat Ta’eed. He and his family had been the first Bahá’ís in Laos. He was getting good results from some of his patients at Billinge Hospital, near Wigan, by encouraging them to be God-reliant instead of self-reliant.
Heshmat was quite determined that we young people would begin to teach the Bahá’í Faith publicly. He never consulted anyone. He usually told you what was going to happen and what you were going to do, but for some reason you could never take offence. One evening he rang me and said, “Margaret, you are Buddhist. I have arranged a world religion day in Hindley and I cannot find a Buddhist to read in the service, so you are my Buddhist.’ So began my appreciation of the unity of all religions, as I began to learn about the teachings of all the major faiths.
On another occasion he rang me to say that I was giving a talk on the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith to a women’s institute. It was my first public talk, other than assembly at school, and I was terrified. Being in a play with a script you have learned by heart in front of an audience is one thing; being the mouthpiece of God’s message was an entirely different responsibility. Dr. Ta’eed said I would be fine and, if I could not answer the ladies’ questions, then I would be helped by the Holy Concourse on High. He was right. The speech I had prepared was fine, but some of the questions I had to field were for a very experienced Bahá’í and not for a novice like myself. I need not have worried. I prayed and the answers just seemed to come from nowhere. When I got home and checked my answers against the Holy writings I discovered I had answered correctly; no small miracle to my mind.
I am forever pondering how on earth I would have survived life thus far without the Faith. Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s example have given me self confidence, structure and stability in my life, through extraordinary testing periods. The competitive culture at school and drama school left me feeling inadequate and lacking in confidence. It was only in the arena of Bahá’í firesides that I had the first taste of the heady sensation that someone actually cared what I thought, and I blossomed as a result. The Faith gave backbone to my character and stood me in excellent stead in the field of teaching English and Drama. I knew what it felt like to be excruciatingly shy and my task was to give young people the respect they deserved so that they too could blossom and grow.
Tests to make you grow
There have been times of fierce physical and emotional pain, stress and anxiety, all eased and comforted with the beautiful prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh and the support of the Bahá’í community. It has been wonderful to have, alongside me, a Bahá’í life partner in Gordon and we have always been careful to nurture each other spiritually, despite having precious little time for each other, when we were both working full time.
When my career in teaching was cut short by debilitating back pain and M.E., part of my life’s purpose was lost, but being a Bahá’í is always there for you as something to aim for, even when you can only lie in bed and think. What you think is who you are and you create it. With the help of the Faith you can recreate yourself.
I am still a creature of bad habit and at times get despondent, but I’ve taught myself to reach into that part of me that Bahá’u’lláh has helped me to discover as my ‘noble self’. I would much rather live with that personality than my lower self. (I suppose my personality goes in cycles. I grow a thick skin of lower self, and when it gets too uncomfortably tight for me, I shed it like the adder and for a while I am reborn again). My aim is to be able to transform with the process daily, instead of my spiritual progress being rather like the swings of dieting and then putting on weight.
I was not sure if I would be bedridden or not for the rest of my life, but I was confident that I would be able to use that period fruitfully. I had always wanted to write a novel and Gordon brought back from the University Library anything he could find on the Romano Druid history of Anglesey.
I was certain that a Druid priestess had lived on the site of our house on Mynydd Llwydiarth (Purple Mountain). I also knew that the Druids had been almost wiped out in a battle on the Menai Straits over 2000 years ago, and that during the aftermath was a time of adjustment when the Romans ruled. I was fascinated by the concept of the two cultures having to co-exist, rather like the English and Welsh have to co-exist in Wales today. I decided to write a novel about the dissolution of prejudice, a love story in an historical context.
Bahá’u’lláh says, ‘The inspiration received through meditation is of a nature that one cannot measure or determine. God can inspire into our minds things which we have no previous knowledge of, if He desires to do so.’ During ten long years of writing the novel, that quotation proved to be correct so many times.
The history books were fine on vague outline, but especially vague about the period in which I had set the novel. But I had a richer resource to delve into. It is as though there is a universal library of things past present and future and during meditation, if He so wills it, God gives you access. It is one of the unity verities where we are all linked, a collective universal consciousness where we all unite. As I would sit writing I would hear information and see information of which I had no prior knowledge. I learned to trust my instincts and to differentiate between what was imaginary and what was reality.
The main character in the novel is a young novice druid priestess, trained by a skilled and wise grandmother. Many of the wisdoms which the old lady imparts are ancient Druid teachings and also spiritual verities which are echoed in all faiths.
I really did enjoy presenting those spiritual verities in the format of an entertaining novel. My only wish now is that I could get it published. So many writers’ agents I approached wrote back to say that it was well written, but none agreed to take me on.
Perhaps now it is time to try again and see if I can self publish Where Rowans Intertwine for people to download to their I-pads and Kindles? Maybe my second novel, Light Work, will have in it more overt references to the Faith and definitely characters who are Bahá’ís.
Fortunately through a regime of prayer, meditation, reiki healing, medical herbalism, yoga, pilates and salsa dancing I have regained my health to an extent and now concentrate what little life I have left on earth to helping others with the healing and dying process. It was on pilgrimage that I was to discover a new focus for that role.
On our third attempt, in October 2009, after two cancellations due to lack of finance and ill health, Gordon and I finally managed our Bahá’í pilgrimage. Despite many Bahá’ís eulogising about the experience of pilgrimage, I really tried not to become too excited about the experience and just go with the flow of things. I remember Frank Worsley from Stockport, coming back from pilgrimage feeling really disappointed that he did not feel anything momentous at the Holy Shrines and I thought to myself, ’If you do not expect anything, then everything is a delightful bonus’. Multiply ‘amazing’ by 19!
The love radiating from the Bahá’í World Centre was palpable and the organisation of so many pilgrims wonderful to behold. The terraces of course were finished, but the Shrine of the Báb was covered in scaffolding as the new tiles were being added to the roof. However, it did not take away the dignity and sense of awe we pilgrims had.
The physical experience of being there amongst so many international pilgrims; the tender care of our group guide, Cindy, who told us the historical stories with such reverence and love; the grandeur and beauty of the whole mountain and of sites at Bahji and around Acca were all awe-inspiring, but it is the spiritual experiences which took me by surprise and touched me so profoundly.
The first one happened when we approached the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahji, for the very first time. I was so very emotionally overcome with utter humility. The fact that Bahá’u’lláh had chosen little me to be one of His followers seemed incredible and as I bowed before His shrine I wept tears of gratitude. My heart filled with love for Him.
I had to laugh at myself of course, because the nit-picking part of me was wittering on about the need to make the Shrine simpler and less cluttered with objects of adoration. I gave myself a slap on the wrist.
The second experience happened as the whole body of pilgrims were circumambulating the Shrine of the Báb. My parents had never been really well enough to tackle the pilgrimage journey before they passed away, and so I felt it appropriate to fancy that they might accompany us in spirit during our once in a life time journey.
As we were silently ushered along the winding gravel paths, towards the Shrine, I suddenly felt the spirit of my father to my right and the spirit of my mother to my left. I was utterly enclosed and protected by their love.
I already knew what tasks my father had been allotted in the realm beyond. He frequently accompanied souls who had died in warfare and took them to the light. He had communicated this to me during one of our meditation sessions long ago, but I had never asked my mother what her main tasks involved, so I silently asked her now, out of deep curiosity. ‘I’m sweetening the dreams of African orphans,’ she replied. I was totally taken aback. I had never considered that such a spiritual task might be allotted to someone in the Abha kingdom. It was entirely appropriate, of course, because she always had such a connection and appeal to little children.
The third ‘happening’ was again a big surprise. Long ago when we had been courting and about to set off to meet the Ta’eeds, I was meeting Gordon in Manchester to get a lift. I crossed the road very carelessly and was thrown up in the air by a car. In the moment before I hit the ground, I was held suspended in the protective arms of this beautiful lady, who smiled at me. She momentarily took my soul from my body, before she gently allowed me back into my body to face the pain of my injury.
Her face was etched into my mind. Was she my guardian angel? Who was she? I spent many an hour pouring over old family photos searching for her identity. Maybe she was my aunt who died before I was born? Maybe she was my Gran Hufton who had died when I was 12. No she wasn’t. Her radiant face did not match any of the photos. For forty years I wondered who she was.
It was on pilgrimage, searching through a room in one of Bahá’u’lláh’s residences, that I suddenly stood riveted to the spot. There was a photograph of this beautiful young lady on the wall. It was my ‘guardian angel’ who had seemingly prevented my going underneath the wheels of the car. There was no name underneath the photograph, so I had to ask a guide who she was. It was May Maxwell in her early twenties, mother of Ruhiyyih Khanum!
I had seen photos of her in books before, but as a more mature woman. (I hope if I ever get to be a guardian angel I will appear in the bloom of my youth too.)
The fourth ‘happening’ was during a visit to the archives building on our penultimate day. I had been a little disappointed that so far I had not received any guidance as to where to focus my waning energy in service to Bahá’u’lláh. I was waiting for some sort of challenge….maybe a word of advice from a member of the House of Justice. I knew that I must not prompt it myself, or shape it myself.
We were about to be shown the precious pictures of Bahá’u’lláh and our group was waiting in an orderly queue to be presented to the pictures. My back was hurting terribly, so I knelt down a few yards away from the picture of Bahá’u’lláh and relaxed, happy to be last in the queue.
Then I began to hear the voice of Bahá’u’lláh. He had only ever ‘spoken’ to me once before and that was in a healing dream after I miscarried our first child. In those days, after enveloping me in the most amazing feeling of love and well- being He had presented me with vision of a beautiful ocean of the most exquisite turquoise and His voice had commanded me, ‘Teach! Teach my children!’.
Now I was wondering if he were going to reiterate the same command and ask me to concentrate on children’s classes, especially as the Universal House of Justice were focussing on that.
He began by asking me a question. ‘Why did I not summon Him to help whenever I was healing people?’ I felt chidden for a moment and then I realised it was because I felt a little intimidated by the image I had created for myself of Bahá’u’lláh. I found thinking of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá a little easier. He answered my thoughts by stating that He was totally approachable, had been in the human realm just like myself and discovered its pains, degradations and limitations.
He told me that when it was my turn to die, it would be His hand which would guide me and draw me to Him with His love. Then He gave me my task. I was to concentrate on helping the dying. I could do this though prayer, reiki healing, absent healing and visiting.
Thank you Bahá’u’lláh. At last I think I know how to shape the latter days of my life.
My faith has given me such a profound raison d’etre. I suppose having the wonderful bounty of being a Bahá’í teacher both in secondary and primary schools has been my contribution to society, for I have been both directly and indirectly allowed to open the minds of children to healthy ways of thinking. I have been able to remind them of their inner nobility, their responsibilities as world citizens, warn them of the dangers of prejudice and awaken them to self appreciation and respect for others.
The Bahá’í goals and principles set a very clear benchmark in this world of conflicting morals and opinions and I feel privileged to have had those teachings as tools for my trade.
Teaching English and Drama has been a wonderful opportunity for exploring spiritual values with pupils from ages 3 – 16 and I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of writing plays and choreographing dance dramas with great spiritual themes. It is a very precious bounty to see children awakening to their spiritual selves and feeling at one with the universe, experiencing one’s part in the whole. The Faith has been such a fountain of inspiration to me.
I suppose the most effective way I have been able to serve the faith is in the pastoral sense. People have brought to me their personal problems and Bahá’u’lláh’s remedies have worked in their lives. It has been a bounty to be a ‘hollow reed’ for that person and help them to discover new attitudes. I’ve also enjoyed working as a reiki healer and a counsellor, but have never done it professionally. I now do it to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, or in the case of Bahá’ís they can donate to the Bahá’í fund in exchange for my services.
I suppose people may remember me way back as an organiser. I am one of those irritating people with an eye for detail, so have often been the key person in the organisation of an event, who makes sure everything gets done. Sadly, my energy for that sort of thing is fast disappearing as I grow older. I am so grateful now to have my new focus, my new goals and challenges, with less demanding administrative roles. I am still a ‘nit picker’ and make an effort to provide a calm sanctuary from the busy world here in our new Lincolnshire home. Perhaps you will visit for one of our meditation evenings or some healing.
Deepest love to all the Bahá’í Community and appreciation for how you have all helped shaped my life.
Lincolnshire, March 2012