Reflections on my 9-Day Service Project

Day 4

Today’s treat: muffins! My friend brought over coffee and muffins for our Ruhi study session. We start our sessions by discussing all types of situations that are occurring in our lives, offering ideas for solutions for some, examining the spiritual principles behind others, while other situations are simply acknowledged. We peruse the unit to identify the length of time we feel we need and determine the goal for each day’s session. We share what we did to complete yesterday’s homework, each of us having chosen a different quote and coming up with a different strategy to memorize it. She left to carry out some home visits in her neighbourhood. And I turned to the task of determining my plan for the afternoon.

Another heat wave is upon us, the third, or fourth, or fifth one this summer. And the smoke from either B.C. or Saskatchewan is cloaking the sky. The air quality is poor and the heat is oppressive. Originally, I had thought I’d explore my sector to determine parks where we could hold devotional gatherings, but the weather and the smoke changed that.

It seemed like a slow afternoon. I enjoyed my kohlrabi fritters. I listened to Paul Lample’s keynote speech, Reflections on the Challenge of Our Time, for the 2021 ABS (Association for Bahá’í Studies) Conference. I listened to part one of Tom Price’s sessions on Recreating Ourselves in the Image of the Master. Tom Price’s session was about the importance of joy and radiance. It was perfect timing for me to listen to Tom reading the guidance given to us from Bahá’u’lláh in answer to such questions as “In what manner should we pray?”, “In what manner should we study?”, “In what manner should we fast?”, and even, “In what manner should we die?” (if you guessed “with joy and radiance” to all the questions, you nailed it!).

The day was wearing on and I was hiding in my house from the heat and the smoke. If I don’t do any “service”, what will I reflect upon? It was time to pick up the phone. I decided to phone the people I knew would be happy to chat about core activities and the movement of our cluster. The first two phone calls did not disappoint. I had not talked to either individual for quite some time and it was great to catch up on what they had been doing over the past several weeks since we last talked. I learned about a wonderful vacation trip one friend had just recently returned from, and I received a recommendation for a physio treatment clinic from the other friend. I set up times to visit with each later in the week to share prayers and ideas.

The next few calls went unanswered and I left messages, hoping I would hear back early enough to set something up for tomorrow. The next two calls were to two individuals that I had not spoken to since the start of the summer. Again, it was great to hear what each had been up to since we last spoke. I learned from one that she knows her mushrooms. She looks for those that are edible, knowing which ones require more work and which are best left alone. I learned from the other that the Shingles vaccine is expensive. For anyone on a limited budget without benefits, which includes many of those for whom the vaccine is highly recommended, the cost is prohibitive. I set up a time later in the week to meet with one of them. Still, nothing set for tomorrow. Will tomorrow be another prep day? Or will I be able to connect with anyone?

Time to complete my tedious task for the day: making soup stock out of the kohlrabi leaves and stems. As I blend the mixture together to make a smooth paste, I reflect back over the day’s events. I realize that I was able to connect with six different individuals and I was able to set up times to meet in person with three of them. Not bad for a day spent hunkering down at home!

Goal achieved and movement along the path is discernible.

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