Saturday, April 21, 2012

Helping the poor - an example

Poverty Reduction!  Who is responsible?  How do we help? 

These issues gnaw at me at times.  I see the results of poverty on the peoples faces.  The withdrawn sometime sullen composure of  folks as I walk in my neighbourhood and in other areas of town.  Many people live each moment not sure how to plan for a future as what future does one have?  How can one dream big dreams when one is hungry or cold?  How can one dream of owning a home or a car when you worry where you will get the money to feed your children tonight?  Will the food bank have enough food to help you through another week?

I wonder and ponder these issues.  Today is Ridvan and I found this on the web page 239 days.  Read the following about the Master:  

I also found the following quote and it inspired me.
Be sympathetic with all suffering, nurse the sick, offer a shelter to the exiled, help the poor and those in need, dress all wounds and share the happiness of each one.
After our Holy Day celebration I was walking with friends.  I had a rose with me.  As we were walking through the mall we met a man who was old and haggard in dress and appearance.  I started to approach him and he was very hesitant and at first tried to avoid me.  I stopped him and gave him the rose.  The reward?  His smile radiated his being.  He became alive and asked me why I gave him a rose.  I explained I was a Baha'i and we are celebrating our most Holy Day, Ridvan which means Paradise and that I wanted to share a bit of paradise with him.

How can we bring paradise to those in poverty?  What can we do to brighten their day?  Please share what you think you can do to bring some light to a gloomy day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Naw Ruz

"Haste thou to life before death cometh; haste thou to the spring season before autumn draweth in; and before illness striketh, haste thou to healing -- that thou mayest become a physician of the spirit who, with the breaths of the Holy Spirit, healeth all manner of sickness in this famed and glorious age."  (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 56)

 The first day of spring is a glorious time and to be our New Years is marvelous.  Here in Hamilton, Ontario Canada it was a beautiful day with warm sun and gentle breezes making the daffodils gently dance in temperatures around 23 C.  It was joyous day.  The only clouds on this day was that I am ill and could not attend our Holy Day celebration.

I found the above quote and was struck with the enormity of Abdu'l-Baha's instructions to us.  I was struck by how often we waste our time on trivia and then all of a sudden it is autumn or we are ill and unable to do what is the most important things in our lives.  Being sick does, however, have its benefits.  It allows us time while healing to contemplate what really is important in our lives.  Is purchasing a new this or that, or going doing this or that more important than serving this Beloved Cause?  Reflection assists one to refocus what our priorities must be.

Missing the Holy Day celebration was difficult but it has given me pause to think of what my priorities in service should be.  I must focus on love.  In my neighbourhood, love is a key to healing.  Seeing the nobility of each and everyone I encounter rather than knee jerking to some negatives.  This needs to be added to my daily journeys.

Happy Naw Ruz everyone.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wanted to Share

I just posted my "RAP" so to speak about "How We Grew".  I participated in the Discovery Program at McMaster University.  This was a special program provided to 22 individuals who are from the lower social economic areas of Hamilton, ON.  We had our classes on Saturdays at the Main Branch of the Hamilton Public Library.  We read 4 books, Hamilton, a Peoples History by Bill Freeman; where the concrete desert blooms-a graphic novella by tings chak; Falling into Place by John Terpstra; and Road Work Ahead (poetry and images), an anthology.  We were very fortunate to have guest lecturers and our professor Daniel Coleman and his trusty sidekick Jeanette Eby and several mentoring McMaster University students to assist many of us first time "university students".  We each had a project to do and I chose to work on the history of my neighbourhood, McQuesten.  I really wanted to do a Rap but Lordy,  Lordy is that an art form and a half.  Never appreciated Rap until I started to research it.  So I created the Ode to McQuesten poem.

My project is a 6 panel display - 3 large and 3 small graphically showing the history of McQuesten neighbourhood.  Originally it was farmland then the airport and then today.  I interviewed many people and wrote brief comments from the interviews.

It was a great experience and am so grateful to have participated.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How We Grew - Ode to McQuesten Neighbourhood

First we had the neutrals
The original aboriginals
Along came the white man
Followed by the black man
Last stop on the underground line
We became everyone’s lifeline
For the Empire loyalists
They were the bravest
Look here at Mary Gage
Her children were teenage

They hued the trees
Man, woman and kiddies
Their strong arms
Built great farms
Now came the railroad
This created a new mode
For entrepreneurs like Auld
He built a Shop Yard
Out of a farmyard
In our fair city of Hamilton
They immediately took action
In the year 1928
They had reason to zonate

Elliot built an Airport
But Hamilton wouldn’t support
So they took 200 acres of land
Which had been fertile cropland

An airport they built
The land like a quilt
With a large hangar to serve the planes
They showed no restrains
As opening day approached
All looked for the skycoach
Goodyear came with their blimps
Everyone strained for a glimpse

Those Nazi Bastards
Started a war
Our men went off to scar
Hitler’s cigar and gizzard

Our service men returned
The Governments were concerned
A Housing Scheme was planned
On old City Airport land
In 1948 a new survey
Just East of the raceway
Called Parkdale Heights
Lessoned the vets plights
When five families
Received their keys

The need was still great
The City moved to abate
It was time to correct
So we built a new project

Construction was crazy
It was our bread and gravy
Mr Woodward living on Glennie
He won a TV
His imagination had a spark
And named it Roxborough Park

Construction didn’t dawdle
The area became a Model
For all of Canada to see
That’s not too shabby

Thomas McQuesten
Was a politician
As he was quite famed
A neighbourhood was named
Out of all the construction
Neighbours took action
Out of this we raised
A community anew
And that is how we grew.
First we had the neutrals
The original aboriginals
Along came the white man
Followed by the black man
Last stop on the underground line
We became everyone’s lifeline

Wednesday, February 29, 2012



What does it mean?  I have pondered these days and have wondered what does it really mean?  Baha’u’llah tells us “The Ayyam-i-Ha are devoted to spiritual preparation for the fast, hospitality, feasting, charity and gift giving.” 

What has been my focus as an individual and what has our focus been as a community?  As I am unable to Fast because of health reasons and age I am preparing to memorize two prayers during this period.  One prayer will be on rendering service to My Beloved and the other is on forgiveness. 

Gift-giving is one thing I can do on a small scale as I do not have the means or the interest in participating in the mass consumerism which is so prevalent in our Western World.

I have been looking at the word “Charity” with interest.  Does it mean to give a gift or donation to a charity, pat myself on the back and say “my what a good Baha’i I am” or is there more substance to what is to be done. 

I found in ‘Ocean’ interesting information about “Charity” etc from the Compilation, NSA, USA – Developing Distinctive Baha’i Communities. 

To Charity  marriages, Ayyam-i-Ha, wedding anniversaries, Bahá'í declarations, pioneering moves, firesides given, hospitality, services rendered, Naw-Ruz and the 12 days of Ridvan are among the occasions on which such gifts might be offered.”

Food Baskets
/// Many churches distribute food baskets to the needy during their holiday season. The Bahá'ís can help with such projects and can observe Ayyam-i-Ha or various Bahá'í Holy Days in a similar manner.

Food Pantries
/// An Assembly with a Bahá'í Center or other space available can maintain an ongoing food pantry. Food is available through community food drives, the Federal Commodities program, and local merchants.

Congregate Meals
/// If space and cooking facilities are available, the Assembly can serve hot meals on a regular basis to the needy or a meal in observance of a Bahá'í Holy Day.

I find these most intriguing comments and are food for thought for our community to really look at what we could do as a community.  Instead of us having a big “Pot-Luck” for our fellow believers why can’t we have the “Pot-Luck” at one of the shelters where we as a community work to “serve” those in much greater need.

As we move forward in developing our own distinctive Baha’i Community we must address the elimination of poverty.

I will be sharing from time to time my own ideas and those from the Baha’i International Community (BIC) about poverty issues.

Am I an expert on poverty?  You bet I am!  My children and I have been homeless a couple of times and I have been homeless on my own.  Am I living below the poverty line?  You bet I am!  Do I have all the answers?  Nope!  But I have an insatiable interest in what the Baha’i Faith and the various Baha’i organizations have to say about poverty elimination and how I, as an individual, can help to alleviate this blight from our midst.

I look forward to contributing more on this subject.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Starting afresh

Ruminations can drive you nuts!  How could I have been so stupid?  Why did I allow myself to get into such a mess?  Why, How, where????

These seem to haunt me at times.  I long to find respite from these thoughts and it seems the older I get I mull over things that have no validity.  I guess if I had taken myself to account each and every day I could have saved the beatings I give myself now.

I find everyday I start afresh and find new interests and new sights and sounds that distract me from the gnawing.  But night comes again and I awake from dreams that reignite the ruminations.  Thank God for my prayers for forgiveness for me and to those contributed to the pain.

Didn't really mean to start out with such a negative diatribe. 

Today was in fact a great day with lots of people and interchange.  But sometime I know I have to explore those rages buried deep within me as they hurt no one but me and I would like to cleanse myself of these before I wing my flight to the Abha Kingdom.