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Home > Lucki Stars > Abiding Blog

Abiding Blog
by
Lucki Melander Wilder

Still digging the blogs. Keep up the good works.  -- Jim (a reader since the first-ever announcement)

These are personal ruminations on divers and sundry topics of interest to me and, I hope, also you. Some are long, some short. Some are silly, some serious. Some are trivial, some profound. Nor is it always easy to tell which is which, even for me. And all opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.

Email me to subscribe or give feedback, or if there's a topic you'd like me to ruminate about. Not all feedback necessarily appears in this page, and may be edited for links, typos, multi-source redundancy, and relevancy. That doesn't mean we consider negative feedback irrelevant or refuse to post it, as negative feedback can often help us learn to do more and better.

Go to   #grandMya     

2021-01-15
H A R O L D

"Hallelujah praise the Lord!"

I've often mentioned the Baha'i Faith, and/or some of its principles, in various blog entries. So you sort of know what it means to me. But you deserve to hear from others, too. To read, if nothing else, what brought some others to declare that they, too, are Baha'i. Of course, you can read my declaration story in Twigs of a Family Tree. Also Mead's, Rezvanieh's and Theresa's. But not everyone can get the book (here) right now. So I'm askinig some friends to share their stories. So without further ado, let me (gratefully) introduce Harold Williams.Harold Williams in business attire

Before last August, I had never told on any social media my story of how I became a believer in the Baha'i faith. Then I posted it on Facebook for friends. And now is the first time I am ever telling it in a totally public blog. It was a lifelong journey, but in the interest of holding your interest, I will abbreviate as much as possible.

I was born in 1948. That is 85 years after the emancipation of my enslaved African ancestors. I am almost certain that my great grandparents were born as enslaved people and that my grandparents were born soon afterwards. That is not so long ago. I am eternally grateful to my ancestors for all that they endured so that I may be here today. What they endured is also a testament to the power of God. Today, their descendants have been described as "the pupil of the eye" by God's Manifestation (or Voice) for this day: Bahá'u'lláh. 

His eldest son Άbdu'l-Bahá once said, a century or more ago, "Bahá'u'lláh once compared the coloured* people to the black pupil of the eye surrounded by the white. In this black pupil you see the reflection of that which is before it, and through it the light of the Spirit shines forth.".

The quote below is taken from the scriptural book The Hidden Words reveled by Bahá'u'lláh. It sums up what I felt and believed most of my life.

O Children of Men!  Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.

So, what happened? How did I find out about this new faith?

My exposure to God and religion happened as a child whose parents took him to church every Sunday. I grew up in the Church of God in Christ (a Christian faith, Protestant branch, Pentecostal denomination), in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. My Sunday school teacher would give us an assignment to find a certain scripture in the Bible for the following Sunday. As an incentive, he would give the one who found it 25¢. I earned a lot of quarters, and the ability to read the Bible for myself. At age 13, I was relocated to my birth town in Mississippi (a story within itself). During my one-year stay there, I was exposed to the southern Baptist style of worship. I returned to Chicago but no longer attended church. It wasn't any disbelief in God. It was simply because I was no longer made to go to church by anyone.
 
I graduated from high school in '66. The military draft was in full force due to the war in Vietnam. I was classified as 1A, which meant that I was draftable. I decided that, maybe, I should get baptized. So, I went to my old church, confessed my belief in Christ and got baptized. But something happened during the baptism that caused me to question and think more deeply about God, religion, people, and myself.

You see, there were two other young men being baptized that day. I was third in line. The pastor baptized us all in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The first person was submerged into the pool of water and, when he was raised up, he began to shout, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!". The second person was submerged and, when lifted out of the water, said the same thing. Now it was my turn. The pastor leaned me back into the water and baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When he lifted me out, I did not feel the Spirit run through me. I did not start shouting, or even thinking, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!" I just felt wet. I was perplexed, dazed, and confused. Had I done something wrong in God's eyes such that I did not deserve this baptism? I did not stop believing God, but I had some questions.

Soon after, I joined the United States Air Force at age 18. I travelled to several foreign countries during my service, and for the first time met people from different lands. I noticed that people were not that different from one another. We all worshipped a superior being in our own way. We all wanted the same things for our families, such as the ability to live in peace, to be able to provide food, clothing, and shelter for our loved ones. Even in Vietnam, the civilians that I met also wanted those things. I began to look at wars caused by people proclaiming that their religion is the right religion and everyone else is going to hell. Did not God create all of us?

When I turned 30, I started to seriously look for answers. After watching historical clips of Martin Luther King Jr. being stoned for attempting to go into an all-white church in Marquette Park in 1967, I felt really upset. Here was a man of God trying to go to a church to worship, and being stoned because of the color of his skin. Something was terribly wrong with that. I started investigating different religious groups in an attempt to find some answers, but to no avail. I was really beginning to be concerned that nearly 2,000 years had passed, and God had not spoken to us again. I felt that He had abandoned His creation and just left us all alone, and we were doing great harm to ourselves, even killing each other. I started telling someone about my investigation, my search for answers, and they mentioned the Bahá'í faith and the temple in Wilmette, Illinois. I was still eager to find answers, so I went up there to see for myself what this Bahá'í faith was all about.Harold Williams in casual attire

I sat in the temple's Foundation Hall and watched a film about the central figures of this faith and its beliefs. At the end of the film, a sense of peace come over me. I left that central room and began looking at displays hanging on the walls. There was one that illustrated progressive revelation, the revealing of divine truths to humankind over time as we progressed enough to need and to understand them. It showed that Voices of God like (but not limited to) Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh are one in spirit and reality. It showed that each Prophet fulfilled the promise of the One who came before; and likewise, each announced the One who would follow. This was the answer to my question about God leaving us to ourselves for nearly 2,000 years. God had never left us alone! We just failed to see the bigger picture.

This was my long-awaited moment to shout, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!"

That very day (August 25, 1978), I joined the Bahá'í Faith by declaring my belief to my "spiritual father" Kurt Hein, and I am still amazed by it after 42 years. If you have questions or comments, email me here. I will even gladly set up a time to talk with you if you wish.

* Referring specifically to black people, not to people of color in general.

And that is, really, all it takes. For anyone. For Harold. For you, if you're interested. When you're ready, you simply tell another Baha'i that you are Baha'i. You don't need to have undertaken any formal study. You don't need to know all the Scriptures (as if anyone could). You don't need to pledge any tithe. You don't need to undergo any ritual. You don't have to immediately practice - or even be aware of - all the principles and Baha'i laws. You just have to be willing to learn. At your own speed. And to try to live up to your faith. To the best of your ability with what you have at the time. And it's your option, then, whether you wish to also be "registered" in the worldwide Baha'i community. Which you can accomplish (in the U.S.; other countires may have other methods) simply by filling out a registration card to be forwarded to the Local Spiritual Assembly of your municipality or, if there isn't one, to the National Baha'i Center so they know how to reach you and can put you in touch with nearby Baha'is.

Thank you, Harold.

Khoda hafez,
Lucki

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2021-01-08
C A B B A G E

"Green is the prime color of the world,
and that from which its loveliness arises."  - Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Back near the end of December, I was phone-chatting with my #grandMya and I happened to mention the new plant growing in my office window. It's something I do almost every year, 'cuz in the drab of winter the eye  - the soul - craves living green. At her query, I explained to her what I had just started, how I was doing it, and the results so far.

Cabbage scrap in late December 2020Cabbage scrap in early January 2021Her response? "I'd love to see that."

So I promised to send her a pic. Which I did. Two pics, actually. Taken a week apart: <=== December 28 and January 4.===>

Her response? "Ooh so cute!"

Behind that, I sent her a detailed email. 'Cuz she likes cute. So I thought she might even be interested in doing her own plant. And I'm sharing it here 'cuz you, too, might be craving a touch of fresh, new green. And this kind of "gardening" is as simple as mud. You don't need a green thumb. You don't even need dirt. All you need is what's left over when you finish eating a cabbage, a recycled container, and water. The email said:

Thanx. Home-y hydroponics in action. All 3 disks came from 1 cabbage stalk. I have another head of cabbage I'm eating; so when that's done, I may plant a 2nd container full. Especially during winter, the eye craves bright, living  green.

Do you have a sunny-ish window in your dorm room? You could do the same thing. Any [recycled glass or plastic] container will do.

Put the inch-thick disks in & then add enough water to come 1/3 to 1/2 way up the disks. Add more water every few days as needed. I put paper towels behind the container as insulation from the cold window frame. I put them on the sill in the daytime, & back on my PC credenza, right under the heat vent, at night. (Of course, if you have a piece of furniture against the wall & the sun will come directly in, you don't need to keep it on the window sill at all, which means you don't have to move it away at night.)

Depending on conditions, especially sunniness v. cloudiness, the core disks may even start to grow rootlets. Which means you might be able to plant them outside in the spring. Or you might decide, as I've been known to do, to eat the leaves. Sooner is better than later, though, to keep them from growing bitter.

Regrowing from veggie scraps like this in nothing but water also works for lettuce and bok choi cores, celery bases, carrot tops, scallion bottoms, and bean and garlic-clove sprouts. Try it for free food. (In other words, it might save you some "cabbage".) Or just try it for free fun. Especially try it with any home-bored, wall-climbing kids in your vicinity.

If you let the resulting plants grow for long anough, and they get hot enough, they may even "bolt" and grow flowers. (I don't keep my home warm enough in winter for that to happen, but it has happened in summer sun.)

This is such an easy way to put a bright, green spin on winter. To uplift your spirits with warm hope. For as Percy Bysshe Shelley exulted, "O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

Khoda hafez,
Lucki

Fri, Sep 8, 2021 at 7:01 PM, Mya wrote:
   Super cute blog post. I wonder if anyone will actually start doing the cabbages! If they do, I hope they share that with you.

 

Lucki responds to Mya:
   Well, for starters, do you think you might? Ya know, if you have some growing in your door room, you can always give them as a mental health gift to anyone on campus who you see is feeling depressed or suffering from S.A.D.

 

 

Fri, Sep 9, 2021 at 10:37 AM, Mya wrote:
   I might give it a thought!

      Lucki responds to Mya:
  OK. Lemme know when you get back to campus. I love you forever. Mwah. Bye bye.
        Fri, Sep 9, 2021 at 10:51 AM, Mya wrote:
   Love you forever too. Mwah! Bye bye or as you say TTFN.

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