I can’t remember the exact date, but it was about August 1981 that I became a Bahá’í. To others my story is fairly ordinary, but to me it was little short of a miracle! Although I tended to believe that there must be a higher intelligence, I was not committed to any form of organised religion, and my life had very much followed a very material and selfish path, to my own detriment and to the detriment of others. My drinking and gambling habits had already destroyed my first marriage after seventeen years and five children, and my second marriage was rapidly heading in the same direction and disaster was looming financially.
We had moved from Boston, Lincolnshire to Northampton, and I had taken employment as a bus driver, when one day during my break I found myself on my hands and knees in All Saints Church in the town centre, imploring God’s help. A few weeks later my wife brought me a book from the library called The Earth is but One Country, believing it to be science fiction as it had a picture of the Earth taken from space on the jacket. I read and studied the book and I was excited, overjoyed, and very impatient to discover more about the wonders of this ‘faith for today’. I made contact with the local Bahá’ís who were mainly Iranian, and started going to firesides. I was the only contact at the time and so they used to ask Betty Denny to travel every Wednesday from Irthlingborough, near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, so that we could meet up and talk about the Faith. I was very soon convinced that for the first time in my life I should make a commitment to the wonderful, incredible discovery I had made and, seven weeks from my first fireside, full of doubts as to my ability to live in the way the Bahá’í Faith required, I ‘declared’. There was such love and warmth and many tears and I will never forget that evening, even if the actual date eludes me.
Well, here I am some years on, still struggling to live the life. There have been many tests and it hasn’t always been easy, but what happiness, what joy, what wonder! How can I ever repay Bahá’u’lláh? Of course I never can! From a position of despair to one of hope, my life – and consequently my family’s life – has improved beyond all recognition. I’ve even completed two London marathons, running with “BAHÁ’Í” on my vest. Life is very full and rewarding. It’s just great to be a Bahá’í.
That first part of my Bahá’í story was completed in November 1991 so here I am 23 years later updating it.
So much has happened in my Bahá’í life since then; I could write volumes but suffice to say that finding the Faith way back in 1981 started me on a wonderful, eventful journey and I am so grateful to be able to help in some small way to bring about God’s purpose for His creation, to unite the human race, establish world peace and create God’s Kingdom on Earth. It’s happening slowly and painfully. When I was a child, it was unusual to see anyone from a different part of the world, but today the interaction within the human race globally is huge – we are one! I now have friends from Iran, Jamaica, India, Somalia, Poland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, America, Ireland, Peru, Columbia, Ghana, Pakistan, among others.
Two of my daughters are Bahá’ís. Hayley and her husband Kai Rahmanian live in Leeds, while Charlotte (Charlie) and her husband Alex Leith live in Buckinghamshire. They served together at the Bahá’í World Centre for two years, and twice during that time my wife and I were able to visit them for a fortnight, staying just around the corner from the Shrine of the Báb. We were able to see the Bahá’í World Centre through the rear window of their apartment. Visiting the Shrines of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, and Acre (Akka), left me with life-changing, beautiful memories. My grandson Ethan was born in the Rambam Hospital in Haifa during the time Charlotte and Alex were there.
There have been many tests, some of which I have failed miserably. I hope I can do better in the future, but overall, all I can say is “thank you Bahá’u’lláh for so much”… what else is there?
Northampton, (updated) November 2014