The Lesson of the Rose

He asked, “What is your name”.

I answered, “Mitko”.

He said, “Let me guess… You are from Russia?”

I said, “No, but close enough — from Bulgaria. And what is your name?”

“Rafael,” he said, “from Mexico but grew up in this country since I was 12”.

He was sitting next to me on the bus, probably homeless, one of the people who always carry all their belongings in bags. He had reminded me that my bicycle’s light was on. I had forgotten to turn it off after the torrential rain made me reconsider biking back home and instead go on the bus. At the next bus stop I gingerly jumped out, turned off the back light and went back on the bus. Rafael then reminded me that not only the back light was on but the front one too. Another bus stop, another quick run to the bike rack in front of the bus to turn off the front light.

Back at the bus, I searched my backpack, found a card and gave it to Rafael:

He turned it back and read:

He looked at me and said “I like it. I will give it as a gift to my wife, her name is Rosa”.

I smiled and said, “Rafael, you have a kind heart and I thank you for your care. Not many people would have cared to let me know about the forgotten light”.

He smiled back and said “We are running out of money, you might be running out of battery. More importantly, we need to respect each other. We are all humans.”

I said “This is so true. And we are all members of one human family”.

He replied “Yes, indeed”

Then I pulled the second card and gave it to him:

He looked at it, turned it back and started reading out loud:

Adoration of One God and Reconciliation of all Major Religions — true, Rafael said.

Appreciation of the Diversity and Nobility of the Human Family — that is what I am talking about, he said…

…and Elimination of All Prejudice — he nodded.

Establishment of World Peace, Equality of Women and Men, and Universal Education — he kept on nodding.

Cooperation between Science and Religion in the Individual’s Search for Truth — always, he said, search for truth!

Spreading Hope, Joy, and a Positive Vision of Humanity’s Future — very nice, Rafael said, having read all of this so loud and clear that the people on the bus around us could hear it.

Then he asked, “So what religion are you?”

I replied, “The Baha’i Faith, this is what the Baha’is believe” giving him the card he had given me back, just as the bus reached its destination. Seconds later, busied with my bike, I lost my new friend, Rafael, to the crowd. But now he has a card to guide him on the search for truth.

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