In this issue – Hope
I think this is the first story I heard from Inez Greeven, at her home in Carmel , California , around 1980. Please feel free to share it in any way you wish to…
Inez’ sister India Haggarty was a pioneer living in a hotel in Paris in 1931. This was 10 years after the passing of the Master, and 20 years after His visit to that city. There was another pioneer in Paris at that time, and I‘ll call her “Mrs. S”.
One night in 1931 India had a vision of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He appeared to her and told her that He wanted her to go, right then, to her Bahá’í sister Mrs. S. “Bring her flowers, and bring her money,” He said.
India got up out of bed and immediately prepared herself to leave her hotel. As she was fixing her hair in the mirror, her face was still radiant from the vision of the Master. She called down to the hotel clerk to summon a taxi for her.
She gathered up all of her money. She set aside the money she needed for her personal expenses, and put all the rest of her cash into a small purse.
She went downstairs and asked the clerk, “Where is the nearest florist shop?” The clerk answered that there was one quite close by, but as it was just 5 o‘clock in the morning, it was of course closed.
India said thank-you, and waited for the taxi. When it arrived she said to please take her to that florist shop. The driver said all right, but it’s closed. She said, knowing that the Master had a way for her to get flowers, that he should take her there anyway. They arrived, and the windows were all dark. “I told you it was closed,” the driver said. India said to take her to the next florist shop, and it, too, was closed.
As they drove through the city, they came upon the farmer’s market area, where all of the local growers brought in their vegetables and flowers to sell to the local stores. There was a wagon filled with flowers, and India got out of the taxi and went over to the driver. She came back with an armful of red tulips, and got into the taxi.
She handed the driver a slip of paper with the address of Mrs. S. on it, and they drove across Paris in the early morning darkness.
[At this point in the story, Inez said to me, “Now imagine. A conservative American woman is going across Paris at 5 in the morning to bring flowers and money to another conservative American woman.”]
The taxi dropped India off at Mrs. S’s front door, and she stood there, with her arms full of red tulips. She knocked at the door. She heard a rustling, and the door opened. Mrs. S. was standing inside, wearing a heavy black coat, and it was obvious that she had been crying. Her face showed great distress. Mrs. S looked at India, and at the red tulips, and cried out, “OH! ABDU‘L-BAHA!” and burst into tears.
She sobbed and sobbed.
She and India went into her home and sat down, and India tried to comfort her friend. After she was composed, Mrs. S asked India , “Why have you come here?”
India answered that the Master had come to her in a vision, and that He had told her to bring flowers, and money. She handed the purse to Mrs. S. Mrs. S. was astounded. When she could speak, she said, “You think I am rich. Everyone does. And I did have money, but I ran out, and I was ashamed to tell anyone. There isn’t one speck of food in this house. As you can tell, the house is cold; I cannot afford to heat it. I have been suffering, and I could no longer bear it. I decided last night, to end my life. I awoke this morning, and I went and put on my coat. I decided to cast myself into the Seine, and drown myself. I went to the front door, and was just putting my hand on the doorknob to go out, when suddenly, you knocked. I opened the door, and you were standing there. I could not believe my eyes.
Twenty years ago, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá came to my house, in this city. And when I opened the door to receive Him, He was standing on my front porch — with an armful of red tulips. And to see you standing there with these tulips, and bringing this money, I could not believe it.”
Now THAT’s a true story, because I heard it from Inez Greeven, and she showed me the postcard.
Prayer for Hope in the Bounties of God
O God, my God! Thou art my Hope and my Beloved, my highest Aim and Desire! With great humbleness and entire devotion I pray to Thee to make me a minaret of Thy love in Thy land, a lamp of Thy knowledge among Thy creatures, and a banner of divine bounty in Thy dominion. Number me with such of Thy servants as have detached themselves from everything but Thee, have sanctified themselves from the transitory things of this world, and have freed themselves from the promptings of the voicers of idle fancies. Let my heart be dilated with joy through the spirit of confirmation from Thy kingdom, and brighten my eyes by beholding the hosts of divine assistance descending successively upon me from the kingdom of Thine omnipotent glory. Thou art, in truth, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the All-Powerful. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers, p. 56)
This month’s selection is a song called “Be Hopeful”, by a group of collaborators of the Ruhi institute. It was created for Ruhi Book 3, Grade 1, Lesson 18, to make it easier to for children in children’s classes to learn. It’s a good song for adults too!
Why We Have Hope
The euphoria of the new millennium has passed, and now the world is desperately seeking a reason to hope for a better future. That’s why Karen and Justice St. Rain have reissued their best-selling Bahá’í Teachings for a New Millennium with a new cover, title and introduction that speaks to our current needs.
This is the booklet for seekers who want to go straight to the source. Here readers will find over one hundred carefully selected quotations that offer an uplifting and hopeful vision of humanity’s potential. The cover is beautiful. The interior text is deep purple. The type is large. The quotations cover a wide range of topics, organized around the idea of maturity and God’s love. Section headings include
- Building a New Relationship with God
- Spiritual Maturity
- Tools for Social Progress
- The Role of Religion
- Envisioning the Future
- A Selection of Baha’i Prayers.
Hope is what makes it possible to live through difficult times. While blind hope allows us to hold on for another day, informed hope offers guidance on how to turn our hopes into reality. Members of the Bahá’í Faith are guided by informed hope that is built upon the founding principles of our religion.
In these pages you will be reminded of God’s love for you. You will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be a child of God, and you will be given some visionary guidance as to how humanity will soon learn to live in peace. By the end, I hope that you will not only understand the Bahá’ís’ hope for the future, but that you will share it.
Chocolate for the Soul – Firoozeh Bowden
Firoozeh Bowden has a story of hope and transformation. She was on one of the last planes to leave Iran, before the US Embassy was seized and the US hostages were taken. She arrived alone in the US to attend college, not knowing a soul, and not speaking much English! After college, her goal was to get married, have a family, and do her best to bring up children that were spiritual, balanced, strong, and confident in this world. By her early 30’s, she had not found anyone compatible, and not knowing God had other plans for her, she became depressed.
During her pilgrimage in 1999, she had a very long and sincere conversation with God, and asked him to please show her her mate so that she could share the rest of her life with him. Two nights in a row while there, she dreamt of a specific gentleman. In one dream he asked to marry her! Six months later she met him, and they have been together ever since.
Since her 20’s she suffered with headaches with neck and back pain which got progressively worse, until she was bedridden for 10-15 days a month recovering. She would get tired very quickly after simple tasks, and her hands and body were almost always shaking. Various doctors, including MDs, naturopaths, nutritionists and allergy specialists, all had different ideas about what was causing the problems, but most agreed that stress was an important factor. Life did not seem worth living. Not being able to create her art, enjoy her loved ones and serve her community was killing her. Once again she had an openhearted conversation with God.
You can read more of her story here
As a result of her own healing, she decided to become an energy coach, teaching people to open their hearts and improve their own daily lives by strengthening their connection with God. Through this process, she helps you discover your higher purpose in the universe.
Firoozeh believes that when stress is allowed to build up and store in our bodies, it closes the connection between us and God. Her clients come to her online sessions to rid themselves of daily stress and to reconnect with Divine Energy in order to refresh and rejuvenate the body so it can naturally heal itself. Her 45 minute sessions start with an assessment of your needs, followed by 25 – 30 minutes of relaxation/meditation, and finally a few minutes to get feedback.
Firoozeh Bowden is also an artist specializing in handcrafted jewelry, accessories, and other works of art. She has a wonderful selection of prayer beads, as well as meditation necklaces and bracelets.
She has been making jewelry and clothing accessories since she was a small child and as an adult she studied industrial design and metal smithing. She’s merged these skills to capture and set the latest trends in contemporary fashion. Her vision for each piece comes from the shapes and patterns she sees in nature, and she incorporates semi-precious stones, leather, chainmail and metal to create accessories that convey both beauty and originality.
At her site you can find earrings, bracelets, necklaces, meditation beads, belts, purses, watches, fantasy art shoes and wall art. All of her pieces are uniquely hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind, but if you’re interested in an item that has sold, she may be able to fashion a similar piece for you.
Thanks to all who write in! Your encouragement really keeps me going!
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See you next month! Hope it’s a month filled with might!