(Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 631)
I intended to write a different blog today, but circumstances has created the need for me to do something different. I just have to say first of all, God is not just great, He is Infinitely Patient, Loving, Compassionate and Understanding. He has given me gifts that no pricey material items could ever match. Let me explain.
I have been abstinent for two weeks. Abstinence for me means I eat three moderate meals plus two healthy snacks a day, although I often forget about the snacks. I wake up asking for God to give me the strength I need to get through the day abstinent. If that isn't enough, I'm abstinent even though my parents are living with me. Two years ago, I couldn't stay in the same room with my parents for more than ten minutes before running out for ice cream. Or pizza. Or whatever I could get my hands on. I can remember days when abstinence was a teeth and fist clenching exercise, which inevitably led to a horrible binge. Today, in spite of everything that's going on with my life (elderly parents who are sick, becoming a grandmother, publishing a book, etc.) I'm amazed that I managed to keep away from my binge food for this long and remain relatively calm. But it isn't me. It's definitely God, because I can't do it. I've proved that too many times in the past. It is about trusting and relying on God for today.
I had a wonderful, very healing time this past weekend. Again, I trusted in God and took off for San Francisco to spend some time with a man who has been a good friend to me. Everything that happened made me realize that I had been living in fear of getting close to any member of the opposite sex since my divorce twenty years ago. I've been at half mast ever since, but in one crazy, adventurous weekend, I came back from the dead. Resurrection is miraculous.
When I came home, I pulled out my Virtues cards and shuffled them. When I was done, I reached into the deck and pulled out what I thought was one card, "Cooperation". It said, "Cooperation is working together for the good of all. It is the willingness to stand side by side and use different gifts each of us has to offer. We seek common good in service of a unified vision."
As a Baha'i, I know cooperation is essential for unity. But as Linda and Dan Popov pointed out during the weekend at Bosch, sometimes Baha'is forget that our Faith is also personal. We get the global vision of unity, but what about becoming a person who is unified from within, cooperates and trust God with all of the day to day tasks of living, and in turn has more energy, time and talent to offer in the service of mankind? I know that I need to depend on God for everything, and I need to listen without judgment so that I can do what's right, for myself and for others. When my Dad starts drinking, I depend on God to help me see him as person who is ill, not judge him for what he didn't do when I was younger. Same thing with my Mom. As the cooperation card also said, I need to "...look for ways to be helpful and ask for help when we need it. We do not isolate or harbor our loneliness."
Asking for help has always been extremely difficult for me. Isolation seemed so much safer. But that's in the past now. There was another card stuck to the cooperation card. It was "Courage".
It read, "Courage transforms fear into determination. It is embracing life fully, without holding back, doing what must be done even when it is difficult or risky. When we are tempted to give up, courage supports us to take the next step. It allows us to face adversity with confidence."
This past weekend, I was given the gift of embracing life fully. Now I'm going to need courage to support me while I take the next step, or next few steps. Yesterday, my mother began to wail inconsolably as I prepared to leave for work. I thought she was having some sort of anxiety attack. My father called 911, and the ambulance took her to the UC Davis Medical Center while my father and I followed in the car. There wasn't much to do when we got there because the doctors were running a battery of tests and evaluating her condition. I knew the process would take hours, so I went to work.
This morning, I was dressing for work when a call came in. It was the social worker from the Medical Center. Because of my father's alcoholism, I was granted conservatorship of my mother's medical and financial affairs by the courts four years ago. So it made sense that the social worker would call me.
"We need you to come to the hospital to discuss options for your mother."
I'm trusting God to give me the courage to do whatever needs to be done.