A Prompting of the Heart – by Tricia Hague Barrett

 

Abdu’l-Baha Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

An amazing teaching opportunity arrived at my home in Christchurch around 1978. One day I had a very strong urge to go down to the dairy at the corner. I didn’t need anything at all, but I felt a strong need to go. I was not going to go without having someone to look after the children, but I got ready to go anyway. I opened the front door, to find one of the Bahá’ís standing there about to knock. An answer to a prayer for sure. I welcomed him in and asked him to stay with my kids; something important was going on and I shot out the door.  My poor kids didn’t know what to make of it.

 

When I got to the corner, I found two men seemingly fighting, and one of them was covered in blood. It looked like he had been dragged along the road, for his face was covered in scratches.  I went over to them and was told in no uncertain terms that I should “P..s o.f!” (go away) and that it was none of my business. I went across the road to the shop, stood in there, and was shaking. I was furious. How could that person say that? Well, I got myself worked up into a tizzy and left the shop, crossed the road to the grassy center of two main roads, and stood defiantly beside them, “I live at 420 Armagh St, and I have a fire going, and warm coffee!” I declared.  I told the young man who was injured, that he was welcomed to come and get warm, and have a hot drink. I stormed off considering that if I remained I might say something that I would regret.

 

I had been home about 20 minutes when there was a knock at the door. There stood the young man who had been beaten, and he said…”I met a lady down the road and she told me to come here!” I welcomed him into my home, took his wet outer clothes and hung them beside the fire. I placed a chair beside the fire for him, sat him down and went off to make coffee. The Bahá’í, that was still visiting, made him feel welcomed and engaged him in conversation. I was bringing the coffee to him when another Bahá’í burst through the front door, walked straight up to him and asked: “How many fixes are you on a day?”  Gosh, I felt this was a very rude thing to do; the wind was blowing a gale through the opened front door. “Six!” was the reply. I had no idea what this question was related to. The young man buried his head under his arm, and the questioner spoke to him about getting clean. I was shocked and horrified at what was happening;  other Bahá’ís had arrived by this time. The boy kept his bleeding scratched head buried in his left arm, and didn’t raise it for what seemed like hours. Stories were shared about the life of `Abdu’l-Bahá, and a picture was eventually brought to him of the Master’s blessed face and placed on his lap.  Without raising his head, still tucked away in his right arm,  his left hand roamed across the face of the Master as if either memorizing His face or showing great love for Him. I watched the tenderness he showed towards that Face, and thought to myself – if only I could have show that kind of love to the Master myself.  

 

I cannot remember all that happened that night, however, at one point the boy lifted his face from under his arm, and we all gasped. No blood, no scratches were to be seen. He was no longer crying or sobbing, and he seemed to be healed from this experience. “I need to go and tell people about you guys!” he said, but some were afraid that he would go back to drugs;  it was too soon to leave.  The drug, heroin, was such that without time to wean himself off, he may again fall prey to drug pushers around the city. However, he was adamant that he should leave.  

 

A week later, the boy was seen in the city –  clean, and happy, and it seemed to the “interrogator” of that night that he was well on the way to recovery. My need to go to the shop had brought us in contact with a soul whom God needed to touch. I felt honored to have been utilized this way.

 

“O thou handmaid of God! In this day, to thank God for His bounties consisteth in possessing a radiant heart, and a soul open to the promptings of the spirit. This is the essence of thanksgiving.  

 

“As for offering thanks by speaking out or writing, although this is indeed acceptable, yet when compared with that other thanksgiving, it is only a semblance and unreal; for the essential thing is these intimations of the spirit, these emanations from the deep recess of the heart. It is my hope that thou wilt be favoured therewith.  

 

“Regarding one’s lack of capacity and one’s undeserving on the Day of Resurrection, this does not cause one to be shut out from gifts and bounties; for this is not the Day of Justice but the Day of Grace, while justice is allotting to each whatever is his due. Then look thou not at the degree of thy capacity, look thou at the boundless favour of Bahá’u’lláh; all-encompassing is His bounty, and consummate His grace….” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 179-80)

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