Reflections on my 9-Day Service Project

Day 2

I had gotten carried away in my excitement at being able to meet with others to discuss spiritual matters that I double-booked myself. Eager to be of service, I told the treasurer of the local assembly that I was completely free in the morning and realized after we had set a time that I had a chiropractor appointment booked. Luckily, I realized this fact yesterday in time to rebook my chiropractor appointment and still keep my commitment to the treasurer.

I am the Ruhi book distributor for my region so it was time to meet with the treasurer and go over the financial details that buying and selling resource materials entails. Discussing the fund, Ruhi materials, money, and books, while eating cinnamon buns accompanied by delicious coffee, is definitely a different way to serve. It is certainly not what one thinks of when the subject of service projects comes up. But it is an important aspect of the Faith. The spiritual growth of the Faith requires material growth as well. We really can’t separate the two. And when they are in harmony, a community prospers. As I reflect on this portion of my day, I am reminded of a quote from Ruhi Book 11.2: The Institution of the Fund:

And ultimately, voluntary giving fosters an awareness that managing one’s financial affairs in accordance with spiritual principles is an indispensable dimension of a life lived coherently.

(Universal House of Justice, December 29, 2015)

So, yes, talking about money is part of walking the path of service.

On to my first tedious task of the day: cleaning the toilet. Joyfully! The only problem I have with cleaning the toilet is the fact that, since I have a dog, his hair accumulates behind and along the toilet base. When I clean the toilet, I have to constantly rinse dog hair out of the cloth, which doesn’t always willingly leave the cleaning cloth. I have a critical appointment with a lawyer soon, shortly after which my friend will arrive for our Ruhi session. How can I complete this task quickly (and joyfully!) while dealing with dog hair, seemly invisible until it gets onto a wet cloth used to wipe down the sides of the toilet? As I dig around the cupboard for my cloth and cleaner, I notice the containers of sterilizing wipes that have accumulated over the past year. Now that my region seems to have attained a reasonable amount of control (debatable term) over the pandemic, what will I use these wipes for? Why, cleaning dog hair off from around the toilet base! It’s amazing how easy it is to come up with workable solutions when one approaches a task joyfully.

The day marches on. Our Ruhi session is enlightening (another quote to memorize? How many are there?), my friend gets the last cinnamon bun, and plans for the next day’s session are made. I have even managed to combine my love for exploring with our Ruhi study and tomorrow’s session will be a traveling one. Peaches and cream yesterday, cinnamon buns today, vegan donuts tomorrow (don’t grimace – they are absolutely mouth-watering)!

Due to the hectic pace of the day, mostly due to unplanned events such as booking an emergency dental appointment and talking with a lawyer, I sent my son to get our fresh vegetables that we purchase from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm. So far this season, I have made refrigerator dill pickles and beet pickles, dill and avocado dip, and chimichurri made with carrot tops (along with enjoying the other fresh vegetables provided). Today I don’t have time to do anything with the vegetables, though, so they get stuffed into the fridge. Tomorrow I’ll grate up the kohlrabi to make fritters. I can’t wait! Kohlrabi fritters will be a new version of an old favourite: potato pancakes.

After dinner and a dog walk, I head over for my first home visit of my service project. I’m excited! Not only because I’m doing an actual home visit but also because this is the first one in more than a year. I’ll be able to catch up with a Bahá’í family that lives in my sector who I haven’t been able to see much over the past year due to health issues, work demands, and the ever-present dominating pandemic. I take with me a small supply of small prayer books containing newly translated prayers, newly published pamphlets about Bahá’u’lláh, and a few copies of the beautiful magazine that includes information about the Faith as well the many community service projects initiated by Bahá’ís around the world. I keep a well-stocked bookstore but it has been difficult to get information out to the friends around the region about the new purchases. Now that we can visit in small groups again, I’ll be able to show what has become available in recent months.

A lovely evening is spent outside, chatting about family, work, activities, children, dogs, and service projects. Ideas are thrown around on what to do to help our sector move forward along the path. Changes made to different Ruhi books and the new pre-published editions are discussed. The possibility that dill pickle soup could be delicious (it is) is debated. Cups of delicious Honeybush Mandarin and Orange tea are drunk. The gentle warmth of the evening settles around us and the sky turns dark. It’s time to head home and prepare for Day 3.

Another step forward along the path has been made.

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