Beautiful strangers

On my flight back from Chicago where I attended the 4th Baha’i Choir Music Festival, I sat between two beautiful ladies, one in her 30s, the other in her 20s, and had fascinating talks with both of them.

On my left side was a young mother of three girls who was curious about the book I was reading, “Between Two Worlds” by Roxana Saberi. We ended up talking about how we cannot judge people by their appearance, about Bulgaria and the Baha’i Faith of which she had never heard before.

On my right side was a very intelligent and attractive recent college graduate who was named by her mother after an opera character, had majored in economics and philosophy, was peacefully reading Hemingway and had beautiful eyes and brows reminding me of Brooke Shields.

As I was leaving the airplane, and earlier as I was looking at the audience during the concert at the Baha’i House of Worship, I marveled at the beauty of the strangers in front of me.  It only takes a peaceful heart and an open mind to realize how beautiful the world is, and the people who cross our path. And that there are no strangers, only potential friends:

Wherefore, O ye beloved of the Lord, bestir yourselves, do all in your power to be as one, to live in peace, each with the others: for ye are all the drops from but one ocean, the foliage of one tree, the pearls from a single shell, the flowers and sweet herbs from the same one garden. And achieving that, strive ye to unite the hearts of those who follow other faiths.

For one another must ye give up even life itself. To every human being must ye be infinitely kind. Call none a stranger; think none to be your foe. Be ye as if all men were your close kin and honoured friends. Walk ye in such wise that this fleeting world will change into a splendour and this dismal heap of dust become a palace of delights. Such is the counsel of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, this hapless servant.

(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 279)

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.

(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 285)

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