One of the benefits of growing old is being able to look back and compare differences (as most tend to do); some good, some not so good with others becoming utterly ridiculous and/or totally out of control.
Consider on this earthly plane, estimated to be millions of years old, how the most phenomenal explosion of knowledge and advancement in science and technology have all occurred within less than the past 200 years going from covered wagons to interplanetary travel and from guided missiles and drones to “misguided men,” as once penned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This would suggest that the seniors of today, our immediate foreparents and ancestry, are among the most unique, having experienced the most revolutionary quantum leap ever witnessed in such relatively brief time span.
Change usually comes with challenge, however most effectively handled through investigation, prayerful consultation and deliberation.
I was mesmerized by stories of Baha’i pioneers, ranging from all levels of affluence and lack of, dedicating their lives to opening territories throughout the world over past centuries to build solid administrative frameworks of “justice and love” imperative for creating and maintaining world peace,“not only possible but inevitable!” The choice of how it comes about, however, is up to present day world leaders.
According to a statement issued in 1986 by the Baha’i Universal House of Justice, “World peace will come about either through consultative will or through unimaginable horrors.” Must we persist in choosing the latter?
The beautiful sacrificial stories of choice reminded me of one from a children’s book that I read several years ago to a children’s class. It was of an elderly woman recalling when, at age 11, her family was among others who chose to follow Baha’u’llah, Prophet Founder of the Baha’i Revelation, upon His exile from Baghdad to Constantinople in 1863.
“Everyday was a kind of awakening as I found new meaning in every detail of the trip by a caravan of some 70 mules and horses, escorted by soldiers, the first part of which lasted 110 days, she recalled. But looking back along the path made by the hooves of pack animals and the feet of those who walked, this child observed that the path behind was always wider and straighter than the one ahead. Day by day she began to understand the spiritual significance of things which eclipsed the grueling physical reality of the journey.
“I could see beyond myself and my own experiences and see the spiritual implications of things at age 11. Now I understand that for those who go first there are no trails or tracks or roads to guide the way. The path follows them. In life there are few to follow, only those we leave behind for others.
Where will our “footprints in the sands of time” lead those who follow us?
This remains the great spiritual responsibility (with unfathomed bounty) for those who choose to accept the challenge!