|Roger Reini's Bahá'í Pilgrimage Journal|
Prelude to Departure
Departure for the Holy Land
Pilgrimage Home Page
December 28, 2007
Once again, I had no early meeting, so I woke up with the sunlight around 6:40. I got up, showered, then had another breakfast buffet session. From my seat, I could clearly see ‘Akká. I felt I was looking longingly at it, for I knew the Qiblih was nearby. Off in the distance, I saw a snow-capped mountain (somewhat dimmed by haze). I started recharging my camera batteries, for they finally ran low at Bahjí yesterday, and I worked on this journal.
(picture enhanced to bring out the mountain and reduce the haze)
I knew there was a shop nearby that offered Bahá’í-related artwork and other souvenirs, so I walked there this morning. I had an advertising flyer from there that I picked up at the hotel. It was a small shop, but it had several Bahá’í-related items -- bookmarks, magnets, rings, photos, etc. The shop wasn’t exclusively Bahá’í-themed; there were Jewish-related items as well. I bought a picture of the doors to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh and 5 bookmarks. Before I went to the store, I went to the Internet café I visited on Wednesday and checked e-mail, mainly.
After dropping off my purchases, I set off for another walk down the terraces. The sky was very clear today. At one point, I could have sworn I saw a bright light originating from what I thought was Bahjí. Such a thing was possible, I knew from my talk on the bus last night. I went to a market near the PRC, the same one I’d visited a few days ago, and picked up a 4-pack of plain hummus for meals at the PRC. There were several kitties hanging around nearby, some in better condition than others. I found refrigerator space for my hummus, then took one out for lunch. I signed up for a sherut to ‘Akká tomorrow; on board were the Kelly family (I wanted to go with familiar faces). Lisa Brosseau, an American believer, complimented me on my readings I’d done at the Prison and at Bahjí. I thanked her, saying it was an honor to have done them. There were a number of 3-day visitors here today, I noticed.
I set off for the German Colony via the public stairs. These took me past a school and past several backyards. I crossed Abbas Street, which was named for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Whose given name was Abbás. Then I found myself at the lower level and walked around the German Colony area along Ben Gurion Avenue. There was another Bahá’í-related gift shop and artisan store, where I visited but didn’t get anything. I took a few pictures of the Terraces, but the sun was at an unfavorable angle. Then I walked up the Terraces -- not all the way, just up to Shrine level. I stopped to rest at every level, and that enabled me to make it. I had now climbed Mount Carmel from bottom to top (not all at once, mind you). I praised God for having enabled me to attain my goal, then I removed my shoes and left my bag before circumambulating the Shrine. That helped cool me off and settle down before I visited the Shrines. First, I entered the Shrine of the Báb, prostrated myself at the Threshold, then moved back to offer prayers from additional requests from the friends in Detroit (made in response to my e-mail). next came a visit to the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, where I knelt at His Threshold before praying and meditating.
When I left the Shrine, I saw the bedroom of Abu-Qassim, caretaker of the Shrines. I saw where it was but did not see inside. I walked some of the grounds that I hadn’t walked before, and then I walked over to the Pilgrim House. Among the items I saw there were pilgrim albums dating from the ‘70s, a photo album showing the restoration of Bahjí after the neglect by the Covenant breakers, and the extensive library. Here I was able to scan the book on Navváb mentioned by guide Furio the other day. I also read copies of Bahá’í magazines from Canada, the UK and Scotland. When the house got too chilly for my liking, I headed back to the PRC.
I had my hummus and my sesame bar for supper, along with a cup of hot tea. Hugh Smiley joined me after a while; he didn’t forget his badge today. Later, a Persian couple joined us. They lived in Germany, so their English was not the best. I had difficulty hearing them due to the general din in the room and our being at opposite ends of the table. I then moved upstairs to free up my spot for other diners. There, I met some Persian-Canadian Bahá’ís, one of whom had a Nikon digital SLR camera. He’d taken some nice pictures at the Mansions of Mazraih and Bahjí.
At 7:30, I went over to the International Teaching Center for that evening’s talk. While waiting for it to begin, a woman came up to me, asking if I was from Detroit. She was Carla Jones, formerly of East Detroit/Eastpointe, now of Florida, and soon to be of London, Ontario. She knew John and Christa Suggs, who had formally witnessed the wedding of a relative of hers.
Our speaker this evening was Kiser Barnes, Member of the Universal House of Justice. He spoke about pilgrimage and how it helps confirm and strengthen Bahá’í identity, how it fulfills the entire idea of pilgrimage. We won’t fully understand the significance of our pilgrimage until the next world, he said, quoting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá talking to Juliet Thompson. (the balance of the talk was meant for a Bahá’í audience and won’t be included here)
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DISCLAIMER: this is not an official page of any Bahá'í Institution. All comments are my own and derive from my personal understanding of the Bahá'í Teachings. For official information about the Bahá'í Faith, you may wish to visit www.bahai.org or www.bahai.us.
Text and Video ©2008 Roger W. Reini. Photos ©2008 Roger W. Reini except where noted. Photos marked "© Bahá'í International Community" are reproduced with permission of the Bahá'í International Community (http://media.bahai.org/).
by Roger Reini