CFN – The main reason that I decided to make Cornwall my home is because of the Bahá’í Community here. There are no clergy in the Bahá’í Faith; we create community by becoming members and spreading the teachings using simple methods – becoming neighbours and friends and being of service. About 13 years ago a couple named Jane and Neil Macmillan made Cornwall their home and in the last year have been holding a monthly devotional meeting, one I have had the bounty of being a participant. I feel welcomed and accepted and this has made me want to call Cornwall home.
People have come and gone at this monthly gathering and what is good about it is that it gives a sense of belonging to its participants.
We come together to share a meal prepared by Jane; we have the opportunity for conversation and to explore ideas, to get to know one another in an intimate way that is safe for all concerned in an atmosphere of goodwill, hospitality and tolerance. Over the course of time we have become friends, and have learned to support and care for one another. After the meal we partake in a very relaxed program on topics that have come out of the last month’s experiences. Subjects that we have discussed include the meaning of suffering, backbiting, the role of media; there are many and all have been of interest.
Last Saturday we looked at the topic of death. We read a story recently printed online and also read all ten comments on the column. I realized that they all kind of gave us a picture of where people are coming from, which is a good thing. The quote on death from the Bahá’í writings was read, which enriched the discussion. I shared that my understanding of a proof that there is another world after this one, an afterlife, is that in the world of dreams we can meet people who have passed on and speak to them. In fact, on a regular basis, I have tea with my Grandmother Margaret who passed away in 1987 shortly after my son Evan was born. I couldn’t go to her funeral and was devastated about losing her. It is very comforting to me to have these “dream teas” and have these exchanges. Is it my imagination? Well, in the dream world we can move yet our body lies in our bed; we can speak but our body is sleeping so how is that possible? We can travel yet we have no feet, are not on a plane or other method of transportation; we can see but our earthly eyes are closed, and we speak to people who have long left this “little blue marble” as Jamie put it so aptly in his editorial. Have you ever had the experience of “déjá vu” where something will happen that you had already experienced in a dream? The connection between this world, the dream world and the possibility of a next world is a mystery well worth introspection.
Shirley lives and works in Cornwall, Ontario and is a member of the Bahá’í Community, contact at firstname.lastname@example.org