Growing up in a predominantly Agnostic/Atheistic family, it was often hard to find solace in spirituality. Growing up, as well, in a Christian community, and with Christian relatives thrown into the mix, was exceedingly difficult, in its own right. I, unlike those around me, and from a very young age, have been able to see God’s grace in mundane things. The things that are often overlooked. Where others see a simple bird, I see an entire creation of His vision. From the age of seven, I have thought thusly, I have always kept a journal, in which I would write. Writing is the one thing that makes me feel so closely connected with God, that I can stretch my hands out and embrace Him, and the more I write about the miracles I see or hear about, and the more I write Praise in His name, the closer I feel to Him. Even now, when I am 17 years old, I feel that bond growing ever stronger, and it brings me such joy to know that it will grow even stronger. Being Bahá’í to me, is so much more than a title that I hold, or something that others look upon with confusion, and often scrutiny. It is who I am. It is my being. I cannot exist without my Faith, and I feel like, for the first time in my life, I have a stability that transcends this finite mortal plane. I have a stability that is always there, no matter what physical blow, or emotional strike befalls me. The greatest solace I have ever felt is knowing that in the end, when my soul is separated from my physical being, I will be embraced by God. It is very hard to feel negative emotions, when one knows that great Truth.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am young. There is an insuperable amount of ignorance that comes with that. I am aware of that, and I have made it my duty to circumnavigate that very ignorance, and to always keep in mind that the core ideals of being Bahá’í are what must guide me through this difficult, yet infinitely rewarding, life. I am on a spiritual Journey, one that will never end. I am wholly and completely content with this knowledge however, for I do not wish to know all. I never will, and if given the opportunity, I would deny it wholeheartedly. For that is what keeps us pure, the seeking of knowledge. We look towards our Faith for guidance, towards God. It is what fills us with purpose, and to take that away would be to take away the very thing that makes us Human.
When I was 15, my grandmother passed. She was a Buddhist, and did her best to instill ideals into my mind of pacifism, love, and warmth towards all. I feel that having her in my life was the biggest blessing I could ever imagine. She was the one person I was closest to, and the one person who I never believed I could live without. She was my other half, my rock in this world, my yin, my YiaYia and without her here, with me, I felt like I was lost. Adrift in a sea of emotional turmoil, I was lost at what to do. My young body, and mature mind were at a constant battle, for I tended to think about things in profound ways, and make decisions accordingly. This isn’t always a good thing for a teenager, seeing as to how our brain’s cognitive ability is not fully formed. So, in the summer of 2011 I had a thought. “If all that there is to live for is Human strife, then why continue?”
It was after I came to this realization that I decided to attempt suicide. I wrote the note, and carried out my plan to a tee. As I was sitting in my computer chair, looking at a picture of my grandmother, and listening to an Andy Grammar CD, I felt a chill creep down my body. I came to a realization that this, in no way at all, was the answer, and it was then that my spirituality shoved my abnormally- formed cognitive teenage brain into the corner of my being and took over. I hadn’t felt that clear minded, and close to God ever before, and it was in that moment, of pain, and confusion, and utter emotional turmoil, that I found the one thing that has guided my life since, and that will continue to guide me for the rest of Eternity: God’s Love. I felt accepted, and forgiven, and loved, and cherished. Things that I cannot even begin to explain. Just complete, and insurmountable amounts of Joy and Love.
The following year, I did research. I read the Bible, figuring it was a good starting point. I asked neighbors, relatives, and friends, everyone that I knew, about their Faith. It was a touchy subject with most, but I was seeking information, and it had to be done. I started out believing that I was Buddhist, and I was for about a year. As I was watching videos of one of my favorite Vocalists performances, [Andy Grammar] I saw that he was performing at a Bahá’í High School. Being the inquisitive mind that I am, I looked it up. I also made a connection, because I had heard that my paternal grandmother was Bahá’í as well, but we had never really touched on the subject, because I had kept my Spirituality a guarded and cherished secret. This came from an emotional response more than anything, I think. As with any death or loss, it’s hard not to feel some sort of guilt. “Maybe I could’ve saved her if I had kept her closer, dearer to me,” “Maybe, if we hadn’t screamed at each other quite as much, or if I had spent more time with her… this wouldn’t have happened.” These are things that I told myself whilst going through the mourning process, but it made me see the value in things that I hadn’t otherwise, such as relationships, and it helped show me the mortality of us all, and that each individual burns with a flame all their own, and that flame may be snuffed out by the slightest stir of Autumn wind, tossing into the air bronze and yellowed leaves. It made me cherish every person that I knew on a whole new level.
Andy Grammar is Bahá’í . I had never known, and I probably wouldn’t have known unless I had been watching that specific video at that specific time. It is truly a blessing, because his music held such meaning to me beforehand, and now it holds a special, huge part in my heart at present. I got to meet Andy at a concert in Orlando, at the House of Blues. Meeting him was one of the most joyous moments of my life, and being able to exchange Bahá’í greetings with him was surreal.
Being a part of the Bahá’í Faith has become such an integral part of who I am, for even before it was official, I felt so closely connected to it. It describes, to a tee, my being. My purpose, my meaning, my Journey, my Faith. It feels so good to be surrounded by God , at every second of the day. I know that my future holds many more hardships, but I can conquer them all with my Faith in one hand, and God’s hand in the other.