Sometimes this is about me, and sometimes it is about things I see.
Sometimes the things I see pertain to me.
The 114 pounds of this slender frame can’t hold you all up indefinitely.
The standards that were set have slipped down
And this saddens me infinitely.
We are made for better things than this, my loves.
We are supposed to be spiritually distinct.
I don’t appreciate being yelled at. I don’t appreciate being taken for granted.
I don’t want to be the one to tell everyone to be quiet, or help clean.
It is not my responsibility to remind you of what you should be already doing.
I don’t do these things for you to think better of me, dear youth.
This is my service to God. I do this out of love,
but when you don’t understand the extent or source of that love,
I no longer know what to say.
It is ok if not everyone is the best of friends.
We don’t have to be pals to be in service to the Cause.
I can’t always include everyone, no matter how hard I try.
We have to learn how to be ok with that.
Some bonds are forged over coffee,
but most of them are formed through service.
It is easy to forget what caused us to become so close in the first place.
Don’t minimize that.
I will not let the standards become lower.
We have come too far, with too much hard work, to let it come to that.
Will we become like the society around us?
We are Baha’i youth. Lets figure out how to act that way.
“Rejecting the low sights of mediocrity, let them [Bahá’í youth] scale the ascending heights of excellence in all they aspire to do. May they resolve to elevate the very atmosphere in which they move, whether it be in the school rooms or halls of higher learning, in their work, their recreation, their Bahá’í activity or social service.”
-The Universal House of Justice
What a wonderful poem, Sholeh. It brings me to the verge of tears, because I can see every nuance of the issue. I know full well how difficult this can be.
One of the hardest things in this Faith is figuring out when to say something and when not to say something when our behavior drops below the standard. The balance between upholding Baha’i standards and Shoghi Effendi’s counsel that we, as individuals, must act with, “love, unity, forgiveness and a sin-coverying eye,” is so very difficult to strike. And, while Baha’u’llah told us to, “Take thyself to account each day,” He didn’t tell us to take each other to account.
I don’t mean to say that we should never say anything. I only mean to point out how difficult it is to find the right balance. It helps to remember that, when we do have something to say, we say it to our friends, and not about them. And, always, we speak with love in our hearts and unity and justice on our minds. Best to do this one-on-one; face-to-face. And, having said our piece, we let go of any further responsibility, because, at that point, the responsibility is no longer ours.
We have a tendency to easily recall the first part of Arabic Hidden Word #2, but the last part is the most important part:
“Ponder this in thy heart how it behoveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving kindness. Set it then before thine eyes..”
Upholding Baha’i standards is hard, and the hardest part is figuring out how to help our friends to uphold those standards without falling short of those same standards in the process.
It is an interesting struggle, for sure. Part of the issue is that we are often afraid to bring these things out to the open. My worry is not so much individual behavior (because that is not my place to even look at, and I KNOW I’m far from perfect). It is what happens when there is a group mentality and everyone follows the “pack”. People are afraid to speak up when they see that something is not right in the group setting.
All I can do from my end is deal with my own struggles, and be honest with my friends when I see something that is just NOT cool. There is that fine line there, of course. But when you start feeling as though you cannot speak up in a group of people that are your dear friends and fellow servants of the Cause…well, it causes a lot of pain.
We’re all struggling to find the balance here, but there are sometimes certain assumptions made about my role/capabilities and this is when it becomes something I need to address…it is also hard when one wears a lot of different “hats”.
On one hand, the youth never fail to impress me with their service and dedication. On the other, I would hate to see the Chicago youth turn into just another group of young people, when they’ve got so much potential.
I spoke about this with my wife, Beth, and she immediately thought of the quote below from `Abdu’l-Baha. I’m not sure if you’ll find it helpful, but I’ve found Beth’s instincts to be rather sound.
Hope this helps.
Thank you! That is a wonderful quote. 🙂
*takes a bow*
thank you! 🙂
I love you Sholeh!
nice… thanks for sharing this.
patience, perseverance and constancy… simple, but not easy.
never give up.
hey, that’s a really beautiful post. it’s beautiful to see how much you genuinely care about this Faith.
after becoming Baha’i, i went through a period where i was really angry with my Baha’i peers. i was totally in love with this Faith and its teachings, and really upset at the complacency and low standards that i saw sometimes. it is one of my faults that i can be really critical, and i was really critical at that point in my life.
i was also really critical of myself, and as upset as i was with others, i was equally upset with myself. i think that being critical of others and being critical of yourself can go hand in hand sometimes.
i’ve had some pretty heavy issues w/ depression, and a lot of it has had to do with my critical attitude. i’ve worked a lot at changing the way i think so i’m not so critical all the time, w/ myself and w/ others.
it’s really hard sometimes when you care about something so much, and others don’t seem to, especially this Cause, because it is so unimaginably important. that’s something that really gets to me sometimes. but usually there’s nothing you can say. if someone doesn’t get it, there’s nothing you can say or do to make them get it. a part of me wishes there was.
anyway, i just wanted to say “right on” i totally agree with what you’re saying in this post.