Geography of friendship

This morning’s NPR piece on the geography of friendship inspired a welcome recollection of the wonderful old friendships I still hold dear to my heart and miss, but it was also a fitting metaphor for the spiritual friendships which I am forging in ways that are unexplainable to me. For I have no idea why certain friends persist on being friends when others have long ago left me.  Either way, I am grateful for them all.

Tonight’s Prayer Station was visited by Milli, my latina teaching partner whose presence always makes me feel at home at my own home, and Wil, a gentleman whom I met at the Arlington County Fair, at the Arlington Baha’i booth. He had been introduced to the Baha’i Faith in 1968 and attended firesides in Wilmette, IL. He admitted of having difficulty praying. I told him that I did not growing up with the practice of praying either but I invited him to conduct a scientific experiment of reading each day a prayer from the prayer book I gave him and observe what happens. I also invited him to the big event dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of the Baha’is of Iran. While he seems to enjoy visiting the Universalist Unitarian Church, he indicated good interest in attending my prayer meeting on alternate Mondays. He himself marveled how he passed by the Arlington Baha’i booth many times in previous years but never connected with the Baha’is then, besides even if he had been invited to an event then, he would have probably found it difficult to attend as he does not have a car but today, the Prayer Station being held only a few blocks away from his house, there was no reason to postpone anymore finishing what he started in 1968. God is patient!

Help them through Thy strengthening grace, I beseech Thee, O my God, to suffer patiently in their love for Thee, and unveil to their eyes what Thou hast decreed for them behind the Tabernacle of Thine unfailing protection, so that they may rush forward to meet what is preordained for them in Thy path, and may vie in hasting after tribulation in their love towards Thee.
(Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 158)

3 Responses to “Geography of friendship

  • It’s of course an interesting question you raise about why some people stay in our lives and others leave or are left behind. I wholly subscribe to the maxim that people enter our lives “for a reason, a season or a lifetime”.

    Moreover, I recall somewhere in Gleanings Baha’u’llah explaining that relationships with individuals who were particularly helpful in our spiritual growth will persist beyond death. I interpret this to include even those for whom the encounter was momentary or even negative. For example, one of my most spiritually beneficial relationships was one which ended quite dramatically in fire and brimstone, but it was that process of pain that helped me to evolve. Thus, I would not be surprised if she and I encounter each other again in whatever lies beyond the grave.

  • Well said, my Belgian friend. We did pray for all 4000 of you last night.

  • Thank you! 😀

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