Awaking every morning in comfort, I think of the seven Bahá'i Yaran (Friends) imprisoned for a belief, and say this prayer for them:
“O God, my God! I testify to Thy unity and to Thy oneness. I beseech Thee, O Thou Possessor of names and Fashioner of the heavens, by the pervasive influence of Thine exalted Word and the potency of Thy supreme Pen, to aid me with the ensigns of Thy power and might, and to protect me from the mischief of Thine enemies who have violated Thy Covenant and Thy Testament. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.” --Bahá'u'lláh
I became friends with Dave in high school, and the few years afterwards. I can honestly say that he was the best friend I ever had. I remember him dropping by my apartment in Carmel to tell me that he had joined the Navy. He said he did it for 'security'. He spent a year in Okinawa at the naval station, and then was sent to Vietnam to die as a hero.
When I was in the third grade, I briefly attended an elementary school in Woodland Hills, California. It so happened that there were two 3rd grade classes, and my twin brother and I were in different classes. Dave was in one of those classes! I like thinking he was in mine.
Both of the above maps omit the two years--from April 10, 1854 until March 19, 1856-- when Bahá'u'lláh retired to the wilderness of Sulaymaniyyih, approximately 125 miles north-northwest of Baghdad. Part of that time, Bahá'u'lláh spent in isolation in a cave on a mountain named Sar-Galú.
Then (Abdu'l-Baha) told us the story of the hermit; how once when the Blessed Perfection was travelling from one place to another with His followers He passed through a lonely country where, at some little distance from the highway, a hermit lived alone in a cave. He was a holy man, and having heard that Our Lord, Bahá'u'lláh, would pass that way, he watched eagerly for His approach. When the Manifestation arrived at that spot the hermit knelt down and kissed the dust before His feet, and said to Him: 'Oh, my Lord, I am a poor man living alone in a cave nearby; but henceforth I shall account myself the happiest of mortals if Thou wilt but come for a moment to my cave and bless it Thy Presence.' Then Bahá'u'lláh told the man that he would come, not for a moment but for three days, and He bade His followers cast their tents, and await His return. The poor man was so overcome with joy and gratitude that he was speechless, and led the way in humble silence to his lowly dwelling in a rock. There the Glorious one sat with him, talking to him, and teaching him, and toward evening the man bethought himself that he had nothing to offer his great Guest but some dry meat and some dark bread, and water from a spring nearby. Not knowing what to do he threw himself at the feet of his Lord and confessed his dilemma. Bahá'u'lláh comforted him and by a word bade him fetch the meat and bread and water; then the Lord of the universe partook of this frugal repast with joy and fragrance as though it had been a banquet, and during the three days of His visit they ate only of this food which seemed to the poor hermit the most delicious he had ever eaten. Bahá'u'lláh declared that He had never been more nobly entertained or received greater hospitality and love.
'This,' exclaimed the Master, when He had finished the story, 'shows us how little man requires when he is nourished by the sweetest of all foods--the love of God.'
The Bridge at Büyükçekmece
Bahá'u'lláh and His followers crossed this bridge after being exiled from Istanbul (Constantinople) to Erdirne (Adrianople).
These drawings were prepared for a presentation to the donors to the structural improvements of the Carmel Mission Basilica, who would like to know how their $7 million dollars were spent. The odd thing about a building's structure is that it is integral to a building but rarely seen--much like the human skeleton. In this case, considerable work was done--at great expense--to strengthen the structure, and yet upon completion of the project it looked exactly as it did before the work began.
Here's a picture of the structural engineer giving the presentation. It's embarrassing to have the crucified Christ hanging over my drawing, saints around it and the grave of Saint Junipero Serra below it. Did they really have to have the presentation at the front chancel in front of the altar? It feels disrespectful and a reflection of a media culture. Still, I'm proud of my graphics (although I wasn't given the time to refine them), which leaves me ambivalent.
Today marks the 68th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. Known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia, it is celebrated with a parade in Red Square, Moscow, where veterans and citizens remember the 27 million who were lost in that titanic struggle.