Generation Why

One of advantages of learning to be a better Baha'i is becoming accustomed to the idea of service, namely, being of service to humanity. For me, this involves many activities that are spiritually and intellectually stimulating, yet challengeing. My normal mode of operation is to act impulsively, then resist all of the changes that come about in life as the result of my heedlessness. Don't look for the logic; it isn't there. However, being a Baha'i has caused me to slow down a bit and do some serious self-reflection before running out into disaster. It's also brought many people into my life who have become friends, teachers and mirrors for me. This a blog about the people, my Baha'i friends, who patiently help me find my own answers to seemingly unanswerable questions, and encourage me to continue asking.

I serve on the Local Spiritual Assembly of Rancho Cordova, California, and I have grown tremendously as spirit in a body as the result of that service. Last Sunday we met as many Local Spiritual Assemblies all of the world do on different days of the week, and as usual, Angela had something totally unrelated to LSA business on her mind before the meeting. (An aside--Baha'is in Rancho Cordova are precious gems, mostly because they smile and laugh at my random, irreverent comments all the time.) I walked into the home of the Baha'i who regularly holds the meetings, and made an announcement to the other Assembly members gathered around the long kitchen table.

"I just want to know something. Are baby boomers unrealistically optimistic?"

One of the other members, Tima, who is wiser than most women double her age, explained to me that her generation didn't have the benefit of seeing the positive results of change. My generation protested (well, I was 11 years old during the "summer of love" and watched the Civil Rights Movement on network t.v.), and we had proof that ordinary people could make a difference in the world. Her generation and those younger didn't have any of that, or at least not much of it. What has changed in their world, except consumer prices and the amount of "toys" that are available these days? Forget social justice. At any moment, we could all be killed in a terrorist attack. 9/11 proved that. Vote? Why? Our vote didn't count in the last two elections. Why bother?

Tima and her husband Ed do not hold these opinions, by the way. They are Baha'is, and their reading of the events going on in the world is drastically different than others of her generation. But they are definitely a minority. My own kids are severely cynical, which is something that puzzles me. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Mom, you're too nice!" "Mom, stop being unrealistic; the world sucks!"

Does it? Do I have Pollyanna vision? Or do I see the potential of myself, the people around me and the world at large, and choose to follow that path where ever it may lead? I wonder sometimes. But that is one of the many reasons why I am a Baha'i. I believe we can change. It might not happen overnight, but I'd rather be a part of a tiny change than none at all. I believe in God, the All-Sufficing. We are here to learn, and the school of life isn't easy. But we can't drop out just because we can't envision graduation. We have a purpose here. It's up to us to find out what it is, and ask for God's help through prayer and meditation to uncover our collective and individual purpose for life on this planet.

That's what I believe, anyway. What about you?

(Head to the sky, Anthony. )


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