“No Need to Ask Who My Father Was”

“No Need to Ask Who My Father Was”

No need to ask who my father was, sir.
You see my eyes, and know my actions plain
Enough. You see him here; as often pains
Come to me I ask his blessings, learned,
And to these wisdoms add what I’ve seen
And failed to see within my own desires–
Cadres of loving sons and daughters–in the fires
That make more than common motes or beams:
Accomplishments are roads away from here for us
And surely paths to what’s out there test both our strengths,
And whet the appetite, the greaters than eternities for what at length
Reigns even now in dreams beyond my father’s father’s trust,
Yet manifest enough—sovereign certitude—
A breath and more beyond this cloudy scope and range.

this, a memory of my father on his birthday, 18 February 1918…

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11 responses to ““No Need to Ask Who My Father Was”

  1. The flow can’t stop…

    The surge will not be damned…

  2. …until I croak, probably…

  3. But, after you croak:

    “The soul that hath remained faithful to the Cause of God, and stood unwaveringly firm in His Path shall, after his ascension, be possessed of such power that all the worlds which the Almighty hath created can benefit through him. Such a soul provideth, at the bidding of the Ideal King and Divine Educator, the pure leaven that leaveneth the world of being, and furnisheth the power through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest.”

    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 161)

  4. Again, you have a knack for pointing out items that engender thinking as well as writing. It is downright rare that I meet anyone who actively espouses, acknowledges, and obviously believes that the effects of the efforts of the Supreme Concourse is as pointed and direct as you no doubt see and feel that they do; I have to admit, lately, I have let this knowledge slip from me at times and merely settled for what amounts to staring in disbelief when I encounter greatness in writers and anything close to inspiration when it come to my own writing. It is much the same when one considers the entire purpose of life in this world either for any one of us or for the civilization, mankind, itself in this day [as opposed to what it was in previous Dispensations.] Conscious knowledge converted into action is a always needed embraceable notion, even crucially important for any of us to consider ever and always in this Day. You rightly remind me of this.

    You know, Alexander, no one could be more amazed than I have been about what I write and it would be altogether too easy to believe that there is something especially wonderful about what I do and how I do it were it not for the fact that I suspect that the Supreme Concourse has something to do with it and that it has some purpose entirely beyond me. Even as just another believer in God and in His Cause, it is not always easy to keep in mind the question, “What has all this to do with God and Bahá’u’lláh?” As it stands, I have written voluminously almost all my life with the exception of my last ten years, and when in the throes of writing, merely keeping one’s eyes on the road while driving takes enormous concentration notwithstanding wherever it is I am going or wherever it is that we are going.

    I once wrote what was turning into a kind of novel that by the last time I saw it, had amassed something like 350,000 words and was growing every week. It was based on my own experiences, my own interactions, my own search for truth that stretched from when I was a child straight through to my discovery of the Faith in July of 1965, the trauma of that encounter [at the time, the last thing on my mind was joining any other religion than my own albeit I was actively aware and “in waiting” when it came to the Return of Christ] and my own acceptance of the Faith in January of 1966 [something which caused an enormous break with friends and much of my family in the beginning.] Beyond this in that “book” or “novel” I was writing , there was a fair amount of narration on my experiences as a Bahá’í over an extended period of time, and, as well, my experiences as a high school English teacher since I became a Bahá’í the same year I began teaching English. I was not sure, and I’m still not sure I would have published what I wrote because I was certain at the time and still am that if I had ever published that thing, I might well have been sued by souls whose lives I recorded within that narrative, especially regarding teaching in the public school systems, and most especially as my career spanned that period of time during which the public school system began its no obvious disintegration and moral bankruptcy.

    I kept my work on one of the computers at school because I didn’t have a computer at home in the beginning that I trusted; I would write at night, when I had a break from marking papers and constructing lesson plans, and on one of those little discs, I would record and transfer what was recorded on the disc to the computer at school for safe keeping. One day I got to school, went to the Computer Room to “deposit” my last night’s efforts and discovered that the computer whizz who ran the Computer Room had somehow erased the entire work and also many, many lesson plans I had amassed for novels and plays I used in class that were stored in that computer, not to mention, tests and assignment sheets without a “Bye your leave!” Naturally, I had a moment there when my heart sank, but then, not long afterward, it came to me, “John, you are a teacher, not a writer.” I never went back to writing again until I discovered Stumbleupon and began to post sonnets that I had the feeling would not disappear simply because they were on a site that was not likely to disappear in the foreseeable future. To ensure this, I began to do the same with my WordPress site which practically matches the appearance of my site on Stumbleupon. The writing of sonnets is an entirely pleasing thing to do for me and has been since 2005 when someone gave me a laptop and said, “Here! This is yours! I figure that if I don’t give you one of these, you will never get into computers seriously.” He was right, of course, and the rest was history; now, I wonder how I managed to do without it in all those years up until 2005. The ease with which I can see the results in the format of either Stumbleupon or WordPress provides an added incentive to write, in fact, until recently, the ONLY incentive to write.

    Aside from all this, in consideration of your note, and its contents from the Pen of Bahá’u’lláh, there is that wonder in my that after all these years that the writing of sonnets comes as easily as it does. Of course, I now have something to say, content [i.e. after over six decades, closer to seven I have seen something of life that is at least as valid as anyone else’s observations]; I have been immersed in reading for over forty years in part due to my own interests and mentality and of course because I was a teacher and naturally had to read whatever it was I ended up teaching in my classes from grade 12 down to grade 4, and by now, I know what pleases me and so when it comes to voice [i.e. my own peculiar style], I think very little at all about how it manages to get onto the page, but rather the simple fact that I enjoy expressing what content I have in a manner that gives me a “bang,” the sort of “bang” that I know exists in me with the reading of certain authors and which in part has much to do with my own growing familiarity with the character of these authors. Writers as they expressed themselves through their narrators become for me a portion of or even one of the characters within each work. In short, I have always been intrigued by who or what “the narrator” is when it comes to the conventions of point of view, and, when it comes to the narrator of my own sonnets, again, there is no guessing; I know who I am and what it is I want to say, and at this point in my life no longer wonder if I have the right or the credentials to say whatever it is that ends up on the page. It was the same in my oral approach to the language as I used it in my own classes over forty or so years. Orally, at least, I have always had a certain ease with content, with voice, and with the audience, my classes, five of them a day for over four decades for nine months of each year. In the written form, however, the only thing lacking, then, at times these days, now that I have retired, is an audience [i.e. the person or persons whether real or imaginary to whom I am writing or from whom I am inspired to write.] You, in particular, are a perfect audience along with some few other souls who have made it plain that they read what I write; the number of souls in any audience matters little to me. At times, it can be a chance comment someone has made who may be reading what I have written and again, the audience is there. The only “dry” period I have ever had throughout my life has been in those rare moments when there is absolutely no audience at all. In those moments, I write nothing insofar as writing to one’s self seems a little perverse to me and sterile, something close to mental masturbation, to be perfectly frank.

    At any rate, having said all this, again, I return to your comment and the Writing you sent and once again, there is the wonder at the source of my own glib attitude whether in oral or written forms of the language. I cannot go so far as to weigh the merits of whatever the “gift” there may be in writing, but it is obvious to me that nothing in this world merely spontaneously combusts for no reason at all and so the fact that I have written anything at all or that the close to 6,000 students I had directly and indirectly ever listened to me for all of four decades seems to me to be a kind of compliment from Him and them [and I mean by that the Concourse on High] that is there but which aside from the sort of reassurance it offers, I can do nothing with, personally. The same is true whatever I have accomplished in my lifetime. If there is a difficulty in discussing the rudiments of writing and what goes into it, it has always been that it is a strain to discuss it as if it were a particularly laudable act any more than being kind to a waitress in a restaurant or being of service to anyone one meets in any given day; in short, I find it difficult to divorce writing from its divine source and always have had this difficulty even when discussing the process in my courses of literature and composition over the years. I know damn well that the Greeks were great because He made them so; that Shakespeare or Einstein had a greatness that had everything to do with Whom it was that made them this way and they were both aware of it. We do not really know if a Homer existed, or, for that matter, just who Shakespeare was insofar as both were not all that anxious to leave clues for later perusal, and that for them, it mattered little as to whom they were but rather that they wrote and left something of their “gift” freely without the need, particularly, to receive homage for whatever they did. I doubt, seriously, if Chaucer had any idea that he was the Father of Middle English or that Shakespeare had any notion of being the Father of Modern English, or even that Elizabeth I was aware of what she managed to accomplish for England when she ensured her gains by remaining unmarried, on the one hand, and dispatching her Catholic rival, Mary Queen of Scots and yet allowed Stuart’s son to become James I of a United Kingdom after both of them left this world. Not that anything I can do could compare with anything close to their greatness, but rather that from what I have seen, any writer of note has never been all that attached to themselves as the instruments they were and in those that were obviously arrogant in their capacities as writers, their personal lives were so traumatic and heavy that I am sure they would freely admit that while they may have had a “gift,” it brought them little ultimate joy and the effects of their writing were ephemeral at best, even though they may have been honoured within their own respective lifetimes.

    Your last note reminded me of something that I have thought very little about but perhaps now that I’m almost there, I might well think on seriously: what do we do with whatever our gifts after we leave this world? It is an amazing thought to think on!

  5. So many thoughts engendered by your comment…

    So, let me almost digress…

    I received a kindly-delivered but harsh criticism of my forthcoming book yesterday. It didn’t make be doubt the book’s worth but did make it even plainer that I must work tremendously hard to find my Audience. The copy you got says, in the Prologue, that some think the book is a novel and I’ve since decided that the final revision will instead say clearly it is not a novel, plus it’s not a few more expected genres…

    I’ve had a number of glowing reviews and I continue to read a chapter a week at a special session in the virtual world, Second Life, where the book is well-received.

    All this is to come to this point:

    Just like my book of poetry, I did not write Notes from An Alien. Neither did Sena 🙂

    Sure, I’m the flute but the melody is from ElseWhen…

    When I was approaching college I decided on a double major: Speech and English. Alas, I couldn’t take the “educational environment” though I’ve never stopped my intensive studies.

    Still, as the years rolled their wavering way down life’s littered road, I ended up doing much public speaking. The writing waited until my forties to begin and my fifties to take off.

    I suppose we share the skeleton of a pattern in that, eh?

    The praise I’ve received for the writing I’ve done does give me the confidence to keep forcing myself to submit to being the flute in a cosmic orchestra. Yet, the Greatest Praise I received was the National Review Office’s report to me. Not that they commented directly on the story of Notes from An Alien; that’s not their job. No, it was that they didn’t tell me to remove the actual appearance of a Manifestation in the book, that the word Baha’i could stay in the book, and that their few bits of guidance were merely to focus language so the reader would be less likely to make poor assumptions of our Faith. To them is was a protection of the Faith job. I received it as praise from one of God’s Institutions…

    O.K., I’ve sufficiently wandered in my writing that I must now check this comment for typos and accept whatever I’ve written as sufficient, for now, response to what you wrote directly above–a desperately needed communication from another writer.

    P.S.: One of the criticisms of my book yesterday was that it was hard to understand. I laughed to myself since my favorite writing of late (besides the Writings) is your poetry and it can be hard to understand, too. Do I stop reading it and cite various rules of “proper” writing (which my reviewer did)? No, I like your poems, possibly even because they make me work at them–work at them so they can release what you (or souls in the Abha Realm) have hidden there 🙂

  6. A former student of mine who by now has grown from what she was in grade nine to a lady of over fifty years in age, married, two children of her own, and with whom I have coffee every other year when she is in town once said that she thought my sonnets were “little symphonies” and seemed to be more or less complete within themselves not only for what content was or was not in any one of them, but in consideration of the sound of each when read out loud. Of course, I felt the compliment, but even more potent than that, it was obvious that she put her finger on something that is important about this particular convention or form; sonnets are in fact little songs or short, lyrical poems that express the writer’s experience, subjective and independent in and of themselves. These particular aspects of the sonnet are amongst the greatest reasons for which I began writing them in the first place.

    The oddity, even, of having produced a kind of double-up on “History Has No Taste” came as a result of the attempt to revise that sonnet from its original form; having said that, in the process of revising and due to my own fatigue, what ended up on the page came as a complete surprise to me. Were it not that the “accidental” form was just that, an accident, I might have left that revision exactly as you read it, but then of course it would be taking credit for something that was more or less the product of serendipity having nothing to do with any particular skill in writing the people. I noticed this only yesterday when I happened to have read your comments on that poem as it was posted, and, wondering just what you meant, I discovered that Porky Pig is very much alive and not at all hiding. I then replaced that version with the original, and let it go at that. I was, however, tempted to leave it as it was posted because the effect was somewhat magical to me and interesting, and something of a joy to read even if in fact it made no sense in that form.

    Once again, it seems to me that such things as reactions and interactions concerning what it is we write are at times very similar to the old arguments about whether Achilles chose correctly when he chose a short, fiery and horrendously meaningful life over a long and steady but mediocre existence. I suspect I prefer the terse quality of the sonnet over the possibilities of the lengths to which novels go to express something of the same thing. In letters and/or messages to souls such as yourself, however, I obviously prefer length and find that short, pithy statements and/or responses too liable for confusion and misunderstanding. Oddly, you prefer the writing of whole novels or something close to that and yet your messages to me, for the most part, are short, often terse, and more often than not inspire enormous reaction and interaction even when misunderstood. A perfect example of what it is to which I am referring is that whether you knew it or not, until recently, the impression I had of your impression of either my sonnets or my comments was that you were politely diplomatic about what either managed to achieve in the reading; lately, however, I have the feeling, a fairly strong and most welcomed feeling, that you actually enjoy reading what I write notwithstanding length in messages or brevity in sonnets.

    Whatever the truth may be, your trepidation and concerns having to do with the production of a novel [or something close to a novel] are aspects of writing that I would not enjoy at all insofar as the longer the writing specimen, the greater the opportunity for those who would put clothes on Michelangelo’s figures in the Sistine Chapel to once again assert a kind of bourgeois sovereignty above and beyond the simple fact that these paintings as they were in their originals, apparently, did not offend Paul III in the least. However, when it comes to the approval of the reviewing of your work by and Institution of the Faith, I am deeply impressed of course insofar as even in the present evolving establishing of the character of the Institutions that seems to be everywhere all at once in the past two decades, the question of Their character and development can never be an issue and one simply cannot go wrong in acceding to whatever Their decisions when it comes to the mandate that they have through the Guardian of the Cause and The Universal House of Justice, and it must be a source of infinite consolation that this reviewing of your work in Wilmette was as positive as it was.

    As for the reaction or interaction with anyone else who may read your work, there you have the same problem that any one of us has; the problem of “audience,” and, by extension, the “audience” of the audiences,” or, in other words, critics, self-styled or otherwise. It is yet another reason for which I have contented myself with the notion of never publishing so that whatever the fate of what I have written, it will always express what it was that I had hoped to express and in a matter that continues to give me a “bang” to this day. Naturally, if anyone else gets a “bang” out of it, so much the better and it does tickle me in a certain way when that happens. When I taught, I taught with the same provisos that I now write; insofar as for whatever the reasons, no one ever succeeded in intimidating my teaching for long, so, too, so far, no one has punched the wrong buttons on what it is I write. I can only hope that in the same way that I was surprised through the decades that I ever got away with teaching in the manner in which I taught and with what content I used, so, too, I am presently surprised [at least as surprised as anyone else] that my written work has attracted any attention at all, and especially since I am still alive and still writing and rewriting my sonnets.

    I have been more than fortunate throughout my life to have had the two wonderful souls―my mother and my father―as my parents, the greatest souls I ever knew in their generation, I was born and raised in America, and hit the jackpot many times over insofar as my career turned out to be a greater thing than what I imagined it would be, on the one hand, and, on the other, I was somehow given the privilege of being exposed to the Greatest Name and beyond this, somehow had the grace to accept the Divine Mission of Bahá’u’lláh and The Báb even in Nebraska, of all places, in the middle of nowhere. In this portion of my life, I am fortunate enough not only to write but to have enjoyed the results so much that in general they are a solace to me, rather like the closest things to personal prayers. No one could ask for more; no matter how much time I have left in this world, it delights me to say that every promise made by Bahá’u’lláh along with every confirmation possible was fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled. “O God, my God! I testify that Thou hast revealed Thy Cause, fulfilled Thy promise and sent down from the heaven of Thy grace that which hath drawn unto Thee the hearts of Thy favored ones. Well is it with him that hath held fast unto Thy firm cord and clung to the hem of Thy resplendent robe!” ― Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 162

    I can only hope that these most obvious blessings and bounties as I have mentioned that have been mine has not made me arrogant; then again, the way this world works, even if there were arrogance, He is quite capable of squashing it without a “By your leave!” and in an instant just as He always has.

  7. Sorry to be so terse again…

    Found the above comment fascinating…

    I want to make it clear that I thoroughly enjoy your poetry.

    • Actually, you have expressed more than adequately your appreciation of my work; if it were not so, I would never have mentioned my thoughts on the matter. Your words have often lifted my spirits of late. It was never that I entertained the idea that you didn’t like what I wrote, but rather, there was in the beginning a good chance of my misunderstanding what comments you made simply because they were so short, and, at times ambiguous, at least so it seemed to me, and I could not be sure one way or another. Without knowing you any better than I did, it was, at the time, still possible for me come to conclusions other than those you no doubt intended. Since then, it has become patently clear that your words are both conscious and positive and that you are dedicated to communication in a way that is extraordinary. You obviously care to communicate.

      One of the problems I have had in the past ten years or so when it comes to understanding what it is anyone is saying through some sort of technology gadget or another, is the direct result of having to deal with the attitude of most that seems to say that there is some kind of virtue in being laconic, terse, neo-taciturn in flavour and saying whatever needs to be said in as few words as possible. Frankly, I could never really understand that attitude except in proper doses and in completely pedestrian situations. SoundBits, terse email comments, short, stark messages left on the telephone answering machine, et hoc genus omne, leave me cold and over a period of time, I have ceased interaction with those who insist that they can maintain any relationship with me through merely phatic inappropriate grunts from time to time leaving any of the niceties of expression or even terms of endearment out and holding up a sign saying “Too Much Information!” or “Whatever!” or “D’ya know what I’m sayin'” when it is obvious that next to nothing was said and the potential for misunderstanding was not only present, but rife.

      In recent years, as I have mentioned, I have simply left the philistines with their use of “like” and “ya know” and their almost exclusive flying email interactions with the results of their attitudes and general state of confusion, with the result that, again, as I have mentioned to you, I have written little other than my sonnets and found that in actual point of fact, communications in either the written or the oral forms are at an all time low for me and have felt far less confusion and insecurity in doing so. The few who have asked me about my “silences” I have expressed my thoughts and found that such an attitude seemed inexplicable to the many. Yes, well, after having taught the English language in the written and oral forms for over four decades should indicate to just about anyone that of course I would appreciate the language and its uses, after all these years, and that I simply do not agree with those who say, “Short is sweet; long is ‘whatever,'” and just let it go at that. Most people, good people, fine people whom I know have settled into multitasking as if it were a specific virtue and wondrous in its tactical result; they have cars to do serve seventeen events per day, laptops to achieve ten or twenty interactions with as many other laptops, and wonder why it is that they do not feel the beauty of a job well done. Only when asked have I expressed all this to any of them, and, when it comes down to it, I have found little but blank, bovine looks in the eyes in reply and a continuance of exactly the same attitude and demeanour as if we never spoke at all.

      Yes, well, not that you ever had to prove anything to me, my friend, but I have witnessed a beautiful willingness to communicate in what you have written and what appears to be your goals within your site and your novel. You truly do communicate with anyone who communicates with you and this in the present taciturn ascendency, is a magnificent thing to behold; I admire this in you, tremendously.

      There are those who say, “I just do not have time to communicate in any other way,” as if each were somehow as overworked as crucial in personal appointment and importance as the president of the United States or possibly the Queen; to these, I have stated clearly, “Then, live with the result!” My reaction has been delivered with almost the same conviction as with the statement, “Wish for death, if you really believe what you are saying!” More than one intimate relationship or friendship I have known has gone completely down the drain due to lack of care in communicating and, equally, refusing to confirm what was established so as to quiet the minds of both souls, as if having stated something once is sufficient notwithstanding the fact that minds that are empirical and require both renewed evidence and even what appears to be useless or licentious repetition; after all, each of us is required to state the obvious every day when we recite the Daily Obligatory Prayer, so great is the need to be reminded and confirmed as to our very reason to exist. So great has been the emphasis on brevity these days that on more than one occasion I have had to actually announce to this one or that one that because of it, I was certain that I would, sooner or later, make a grave mistake with so little information; while that expression of concern was only laughingly received, in fact, ultimately, I did indeed blow it with these souls and even when I reminded them of the warning I gave them, still, they could not see the connection. Certainly, it is a good thing that The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, and The Universal House of Justice did and do not have the same attitude toward writing, and never did; I take my lead from Them. Otherwise, aside from the power of the Covenant to render this Cause impossible to split, we might well be several hundred causes by now. The very existence of the Centre of the Covenant and the Exemplar is enough to counter any claim that “fewness of words” is in any way superior except when one’s deeds exceed the abundance of deeds in this world. Obviously, if one’s words exceed one’s deeds, death is preferable. By extension, I feel much the same when it comes to the effects of mere burps of expression from the many; sooner or later, such burps act as salt on brass.

      So, evidently, in order to ensure that you know that I appreciate the fact that you appreciate my work, I have taken the time to express this, again, once and for all, in this eight-hundred word note in reply. This in no way requires the same from you, but it does serve as a token of my esteem to you and what you do and, yes! I appreciate your appreciation. We are both but human beings and neither of us perfect in perception and our conceptions are always understood cautiously; nevertheless, there comes a point at which the overpowering force of the Covenant works to empower each of us to approach one another with assurance and ultimately of love, itself.

  8. You said, “I have stated clearly, ‘Then, live with the result!’ My reaction has been delivered with almost the same conviction as with the statement, ‘Wish for death, if you really believe what you are saying!’”

    I truly need to practice that mode of communication.

    As I’ve indicated, my experience with seeking feedback as I’ve written my book has introduced me to the already-known but acutely-experienced variation in various people’s response to my written words.

    I just had a lovely talk with a friend about my book and I asked if she had a problem with the similarity of the names of the planets and people. Her response was priceless: “I suppose someone with no imagination might have a problem.”

    She was the beautiful nail in the coffin of concern over negative feedback 🙂

    I want to remember, when I again emerge more regularly from my writer’s cave apartment, to be as bold (though tactfully so) in my speech as my age and experience give permission for. When I am alone and not looking in a mirror, I am ever so youthful. Yet I am a mature and well-worn individual who can help people more by being near-brazenly honest than if I hold back to not ruffle supposed feelings. Even our Dear ‘Abdu’l-Baha said:

    “The foundation of the Kingdom of God is laid upon justice, fairness, mercy, sympathy and kindness to every soul. Then strive ye with heart and soul to practice love and kindness to the world of humanity at large, except to those souls who are selfish and insincere. It is not advisable to show kindness to a person who is a tyrant, a traitor or a thief because kindness encourages him to become worse and does not awaken him. The more kindness you  show to a liar the more he is apt to lie, for he thinks that you know not, while you do know, but extreme kindness keeps you from revealing your knowledge.”

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 412)

    I feel people who filter one’s spoken or written essence through veils of materialistically-learned auto-responses are selfish and insincere………

    • God’s especial blessings for you, Alexander. I just read your message after having spent some time in prayer and “feel” the greatness of the fact that I have been introduced to know you. Risking hyperbole, I want to say that having made your acquaintance has been a highlight of the last few weeks. I will continue to pray, of course, that your work and goals are confirmed and that you, yourself, even more importantly, feel the confirmation of the Holy Spirit in what it is that only you know to be your missions in this world. As you have lifted me, so, too, would I hope to be nothing but uplifting to you. The power of one is always increased when the purposes of two or more are bent upon the same objective no matter how diverse their approach and method; I have already felt a kind of empowerment in the increased through the blessings of having met you, even if only vicariously through these machines we use. More importantly, I know that you know that I know that you are in fact a blessing for anyone who knows you. Truly, Alexander, I feel that there is an added strength and commitment to the sacred obligations in writing for both of us and this, in turn, cannot help but increase the effective potential for positive reception on the part of anyone who happens to read what either of us has written, no matter how diverse our styles or content may appear to be. Again, God’s blessings, John

      P.S. …an enormous, YES, INDEED! to your statement, “I feel people who filter one’s spoken or written essence through veils of materialistically-learned auto-responses are selfish and insincere………” and, of course, the wisdom of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s statement on the famous “page 412.” After being “the Help-in-Peril” as most certainly God is, it is true that He, Himself, has stated that He is “the Self-Subsisting,” and there are times, after we have done all we can to be of service and help to souls that if such assistance is either rejected or of no effect, we have no choice but to withdraw to the state of self-subsisting with only God as our Assistant and/or Witness. For each of us, we have entered a truly peculiar and difficult period of the history of mankind such that to strike balances with so many, is not all that easy. We have, of course, no choice but to “labour serenely” and hope to God we don’t blow it with either Him or His servants…

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