My soul has hungered for years, starving and craving a source of sustenance to ease the pains and growls of an empty stomach. After years of searching and seeking, I have come to find a sustenance incomparable to all worldly materials and desires that quenches the thirst and satiates the hunger of my aching soul. It has been a long, tumultuous road, but spirituality has offered me a solace that has been both soul-enriching and a remedy, a salve, to the sickness and perpetual instability of my mind, rocking me softly in the arms of an all-encompassing, infinite and ever-loving God. A bringer of a peace my being could never have imagined nor attempted to comprehend.
My path towards finding peace and solace within my being and my soul began years and years ago. I was raised a Baha’i for many years, but for various reasons our family became inactive in the Faith. Though I was not actively participating in the activities of the Faith, my thirst and desire for meaning and to feed the growth and enrichment of my soul never waned. Subsequently I embarked on an ardent journey to find these qualities within my life. I studiously researched the religions of the world and attended religious gatherings at various faith institutions, including Jewish temples and Catholic, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches. I went so far as to sing in a church choir, which, in retrospect, was a poor choice, as I have no singing ability nor talent. I am surprised I was not gently asked to cease my participation in the choir for the wellbeing and safety of those listening during church gatherings. In my searching, I attended confirmation classes at two separate churches. The first class did not satiate my hunger and left me with a multitude of questions and uncertainties, so I attempted to address my growing discontent and uncertainty by enrolling in another confirmation class. Still my soul was not entirely content.
By work of what I consider a miracle, I was reintroduced to the Baha’i Faith in my mid teens. In our home we had a massive, towering book shelf, so tall it required a ladder to reach the upper shelves. As the years had passed in my life, I ventured shelf by shelf, seeking and discovering book after book. It seems that with the passing of each year, my search advanced higher and higher. When circumstances permitted, my family and I had the opportunity to return to the Faith. It was around this time that I discovered the shelves containing a multitude of Baha’i books. I soon began to devour the content within these blessed pages and attend Baha’i gatherings with my family with such fervor, that my soul ignited a burning flame within me that consumed all inquisitiveness, confusion, and discontent that had danced through my mind. I had found my source of sustenance, of solace and peace. What a wonder! With this flame, I could not be stopped. I began to love the Faith with such intensity, a love and connection incomparable to any I had ever experienced before. My searching concluded, and I found a home within the Faith.
The Baha’i Faith has nurtured my soul, but has also attended, with the care of skilled physician, to my ailing mind. When my mind battles demons, the Faith disarms them with swift and deft ability. When loneliness ensues, prayers enable me to converse with God, providing a listening ear and an eternal companionship and friendship. I do not believe I would be alive today had I not found and been fed the sustenance that spirituality – and the Baha’i Faith – provide me. My illness is life threatening and debilitating, yet the Faith is my bringer of eternal life and the opportunity to one day transcend the pain and suffering I experience in this world and live forever in peace and solace in the next world.