our jr. youth group, 'gems of justice', painted a wall that belongs to 2 of the brothers in the group. their mom, monica, is featured in a previous post. this family allowed us to bring a brightly colored message of their joy to one of the walls surrounding their compound.
the kids bonded while cooperating to share the paints, consulting about what it would look like, and through laughter while expressing themselves in joyful, silly ways.
we began the project a half hour before sunset. it attracted a bunch of kids and some adults who stopped by and partook of the excitement and enthusiasm of the group. there was one car that rode by and yelled out that we shouldn't be painting the wall like that, but Monica responded with 'pay him no mind.'
by sunset they were finished and feeling proud of their work. we celebrated with some photos and jumping up and down. :) it was such a 'happening' as my grammum would call it -- a moment shared together where the energy is very positive and everyone feels present, very conscious that this is a wonderful memory shared together. the group and i left a bit suddenly when it became dark so i could be home to break the fast. my heart was uplifted to turn around and see the wall and the kids running around with joy. we shared Devotions together before the jr. youth left -- a perfect way to end the day. my heart felt full of the beauty of what a jr. youth group is all about: positive, service-oriented, high-minded activities all done in the spirit of striving for spiritual and material excellence. the theme of 'confirmation' fills their minds and is gradually translating into actions.
this morning i received a knock on my front door. it was the security guard explaining that a man came to the gate complaining about the words painted on the wall. he had heard that the idea came from someone living in my compound -- the guards knew it was me because of us coming in and out with paints that day.. the guy insisted that the words on the wall be covered with paint.
i could feel my emotions starting to stir. another complaint. more scorn to sour the sweetness of good deeds. the sweetness of children's joy. the sweetness of collaborating with families and building trust through friendships.
the guard explained that it seemed like the guy who said we have to paint was a government official. the view of this guard and Monica is that the government knows they aren't 'doing their job' so to speak and they feel threatened by any public messages having to do with development.
as i gathered the paintbrush and can of white paint leftover from the outdoor benches we had made, i could feel my heart ready to burst with sadness. my sensitivity to injustice..my nagging prejudice against those who profess to be leaders but who are corrupted by selfish desires, dishonesty and arrogance..my lingering pain from the next door neighbor who called to ask us to stop having the kids come to our compound..
when i was at the gate, the guard offered to help me. i acquiesced. i was in no mood to be self-sufficient. we walked silently up the dirt road. i stared at the wall painting with a heavy heart, not knowing how to be positive and wise when it's time to tell the jr. youth group what happened. monica approached the edge of the wall and sweetly greeted me with a smile on her face, 'auntie pamela'. when i looked into her pure-hearted face full of radiance and eyes that emit great humbleness, i softly uttered, 'sorry' and the tears began to pour out of my eyes.
monica hugged me and they both started explaining that this is an issue with the government official. my mind knows what they are saying but my heart needs time to catch up with being able to understand. as my head rested against monica's chest, i listened to her calm heartbeat. she speaks little english but our bond is of the soul. she comforted me when i was vulnerable and she didn't let go until i was ready. the guard painted over all of the words and i quietly walked away after expressing my gratitude.
in the scheme of life this is not a big deal. it may be a symbol of a lot of things, but for me, it must be an opportunity for deeper self-reflection. the fast is full of mysterious forces surrounding our lives, working on our soul in ways to serve its ability to be strengthened. we must consciously spend the moments of our day immersed in prayer and meditation, drinking deep from the Ocean of God's Revelation. the fast is..
..essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul.~Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 176
i feel my heart recoiling from the world and clinging to God's Revelation for all that is nourishing for my soul. i must discover the sweetness in the scorn..