It was during the Roanoke Tribune’s location on Henry Street that I once began a column captioned “Views on the News” while my father was editor. It recently came to mind with the repeated comments I get on my current editorials in which I attempt to deal with life’s everyday ups and downs, personally and globally, from a broader perspective.
Time and technology have changed the playing field so drastically in recent decades that the comfort zone, once perceived in individual homes, neighborhoods and even on broader national and international scale, has given way to unbridled fear, distrust and uncertainty across the board throughout this American nation with its strong global effect upon other nations and the world!
In the Holy Bible we read, “For everything there is a season and a time for everything under the heaven…” We are currently exiting the season of harvest-–of those things planted during the spring and summer garden seasons. Harvest time is also the prime season for such gatherings as homecomings, sports, Thanksgiving and for the reaping of various crops, as benefactors of God’s beautiful earth. Will we be as joyful and thankful for the harvest of what we have planted as trustees of this beautiful earth–as men or nations?
Faith is defined by Webster as “…strong belief, complete trust or confidence–in someone or something. Faith among individuals is also defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one chooses without hindrance or restraint.” Such faith also gives one the power to destroy you–with the trust that they will not.
Ironically, it was the summer of ’72 that a street teaching team of three individuals entered the Tribune office on “The Yard” (as Henry Street is still affectionately referred to) one Saturday morning as I was preparing to leave. It was comprised of a tall, stately Iranian lady and a White couple–a gentleman originally from Vinton, VA and his small-built. white-haired wife from South Carolina who very sweetly and patiently did all of the talking in an apparent futile attempt to introduce me to the Baha’i Faith… Upon glancing at a pamphlet offered that began with the simple statement: “The Baha’i Faith is a new, independent, universal religion whose aim is to revitalize mankind spiritually, to break down the barriers between peoples and to lay the foundation of a new, universal world society based on the principles of Justice and Love!”
From this very humble beginning derived my new impeccable spiritual search (and subsequent) “Signs of Guidance” in leading this new maturity of mankind toward “inevitable” World Peace–either “through Consultative Will or unimaginable horrors.”
It was the first sentence from a small green pamphlet titled “Faith for Freedom” that took the fight out of me that stated, “The Baha’i Faith is a new, independent world religion whose aim is to revitalize mankind spiritually, to break down the barriers between peoples. and to simply lay the foundation of a unified world society based on the (twin) principles of justice and love!” Beautiful, I instantly thought without allowing her to see my melting demeanor.
Thus began my 42-year search for (and investment in) faith for freedom that gets more fortified with time as it re-enforces the dynamic force of example!
As countdown continues on the most critical decisions this nation has ever had to make on many political levels, may I inject one of my favorite tenants of the Baha’i Faith: “Let deeds not words be your adorning.” Odd criteria for a journalist in particular, yet this simple passage has defined my purpose since childhood that I was made to feel ashamed of–until reading in the Baha’i Holy Writings: “The highest form of worship to Almighty God is servitude!”
“And now I give to you a commandment,” the Holy Writings assert; that ye have faith! That your faith be as steadfast as the mountain that no earthly storm can move, that nothing can disturb; and that it endure through all things, even to the end. As ye have faith, so shall your powers and blessings be! This is the balance; this is the balance!”
May we exit this harvest season as individuals conscientiously forming the collective “revered nation,” through UNITY (not uniformity) as referred to in the Baha’i Holy Writings–with more Faith for Freedom from the harvest of our collective seeds and deeds of justice and love blossoming ultimately into World Peace! (Investigate!-1-800-22-UNITE)