Deb and I just returned from our Baha’i Pilgrimage to Israel. It was a long trip and physically taxing. We decided to break it into sections to avoid long days on planes while travelling Eastward. We flew on Feb 10 to Washington-Dulles Airport and spent a couple days visiting my mother and other family and friends. On the 13th, we flew to London and spent two nights near Heathrow. That enabled us to take the long “tube” train ride to Arnos Grove on the north side of London where we visited and prayed at the grave of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.
I had not been there in 35 years. Much had changed. I had to ask for directions to the cemetery that was so easy to find in 1974. The entrance had been moved resulting in an extra mile of walking that hadn’t anticipated. And it was chilly. But the visit was pleasant and our prayers and meditations were inspiring. Plus, we got to meet some other Baha’is in the little “office” there and warm up with some tea.
On the 15th, we flew to Tel Aviv and took a “Sherut” (a 10-passenger shuttle bus) to our hotel in Haifa. The sherut was filled with Baha’is from Canada and Finland. We of course met many more upon check-in at the Pilgrim Reception Center on Monday.
I have good friends now in several places I’d like to visit one day: Austrailia, New Zealand, Canada, and Seychelles. Seychelles is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The “Prosper” family was delightful and among the singing members of our pilgrim group. I will always remember these beloved people.
Among the dates offered to Deb and I for our Baha’i Pilgrimage was a slot falling within the period of the Baha’i Fast. I chose instead to go on Pilgrimage BEFORE the Fast. Now, as I have done every year, I will begin the Fast tomorrow morning (3/2) at sunrise, not eating or drinking anything until after sunset. The Fast spans 19-days and ends with Naw-Ruz, the Baha’i new year on the evening of 20 March. It has always been my favorite time of year when set aside my own will in obedience and hunger keeps me ever-mindful of what life is really all about.