Happiness in service and friendship

Today I had an unexpected flood of happiness flow through me. A flood of one kind was averted and replaced by a flood of another kind. As the Hanna tropical storm was blasting over Northern Virginia and the rain was washing everything on its way, Justin had the good intuition to check if the basement was in good shape, just seconds before it would have been flooded by the water covering the foundation of the back yard stairs. We worked in tandem, using buckets to take the water out and cleaning all the leaves that were preventing the water from being flushed down the drain. We were wet as kittens but we felt happy. I was truly immersed in a very palpable happiness, so much so that when I was done working, I stretched my hands to the heavens and in the midst of the torrential rain voiced the short obligatory prayer:

I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

I am starting to realize and experience that there is no better way of averting the flood of selfish thoughts than the opportunity to work in service to another human being.

Verily, I pray to God to aid thy children in the service of the Word of God, the furtherance of His Covenant and the spread of His fragrances, for this is the great happiness of this life and that to come.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v2, p. 265)

And in the afternoon, I had another pleasant experience, of meeting wonderful people at Dessi’s birthday party — she should truly be proud with how wonderful her friends are, which should not be surprising of course since she herself is wonderful.  There was a lovely young family uniting Albanian, American and Persian heritage, and an Illinois young woman who had passionately argued with her catholic priest at the age of 7, in her ambition to become a priest as a prerequisite for becoming a Pope! It was fascinating to observe once again how many things unite us — not only our faith but also our experiences. How, while way back in Bulgaria I would have never considered an Albanian as a particularly close to my culture, here in the U.S., blessed as I have been to be enlightened by the Baha’i Faith, now I can consider a young Albanian man as a virtual cousin.
Life can be so fascinating. The world can be so amazing. All it takes is to open one’s eyes and take a deep breath to notice the present moment. Finding peace in every step, as Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us, is all it takes. And then, all of a sudden, you start noticing the little joys of life — the buckets full of rain water, the hard work done next to a loved one, the deep connection felt in a talk with a new friend. And before you know it, these little joys truly grow — just as my beautiful Juliet who tomorrow turns 3!

One Response to “Happiness in service and friendship

  • Dear Mitko, Happy to hear that things are going well. I really liked the phrase you used:

    “Justin had the good intuition to check if the basement was in good shape”

    I think we need to work to follow intuition– not blindly but realizing that the Baha’i Writings do say that it is a power that we can turn to. This particular quote from ‘Abdu’l-Baha is quite nice (it is a pilgrims note from the book Memories of ‘Abdu’l-Baha)

    ‘’Abdu’l-Bahá smiled at me and said: “You have intuition. You must follow it always, because when you follow it, it increases and becomes more clear. Only a few have this gift. It is like the tinkling of bells, a sixth sense, like the voice of God speaking. The more one follows intuition, the more it increases.”‘

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