A Stormy Night in Ayr
I lie awake, listening to the storm. Ice against the windows, roaring wind, the occasional car returning home. And then I hear the snow plow and with it the reassurance of being taken care of.
And I think about how fortunate I am to live here in Ayr — such an orderly part of the world. We have snow plows, sidewalk clearing, and sand trucks to help us through the winter. In every season we have emergency services and utility companies seeing to our needs and well-being. We have hospitals, school busses, parks, arenas, and libraries. Sometimes we even have bike lanes.
When conditions are imperfect and we are without something we consider essential, it usually lasts for just a few hours or maybe a few days. We can relax, confident that soon it will be restored or replaced. Most of us have enough food to keep from starving, and we have sweaters and blankets to keep from freezing. We have books, games, and other diversions even if we are temporarily without electricity, cell service, or the internet. And for those among us who do not have the essentials, as a nation we fund and support social services entrusted to assist them. The system is imperfect, but it does reach most people.
I am fortunate, though nothing I’ve mentioned is so extraordinary that it shouldn’t be universal. Yet my level of comfort, security, and ease is almost beyond imagining in much of the world. We subscribe to the idea that everyone deserves an agreed-upon standard of living, but there are parts of even this highly-developed nation and our neighbour to the south that fall short of this idea. And if we turn our gaze worldwide, it is especially clear that our work is not finished.
In the words of `Abdu'l-Bahá:
Regarding reciprocity and cooperation . . . there should be for all humanity the utmost happiness, the utmost comfort, the utmost well-being. But if conditions are such that some are happy and comfortable and some in misery . . under such a system it is impossible for man to be happy . . . The good pleasure of God consists in the welfare of all the individual members of mankind.
Integral to being human is helping each other. We see the complexities of our lifestyle and realize that without other people and our institutions we could never achieve or maintain it. The Baha’i Writings tell us that the need and obligation to help each other is Divinely ordained.
All religions teach that we must do good, that we must be generous, sincere, truthful, law-abiding, and faithful; this is . . . the only way in which humanity can progress.
The Baha’i International Community connects humanity’s progress to both spiritual maturity and economic well-being:
When individuals develop moral capacities and spiritual qualities, the skills and knowledge they acquire are likely to promote the well-being of the community as a whole. . .. The economic relationships of a society reflect the values of its members.
I offer these thoughts in hopes that we may increasingly consider the needs of our brethren around the world with justice, compassion, and love. No one needs to be cold, hungry, homeless, afraid, or lonely.
How do we achieve this? The Baha’is of North Dumfries are looking for partners in service projects. If you are part of a project that would welcome new volunteers, or if you would like to brainstorm with us about a new idea, please contact us. For more information: http://northdumfries-bahais.org/
Submitted to Ayr News by Jaellayna Palmer, January 2018
© Jaellayna Palmer 2018