Community News - Winter 2012-13

How a Tree Opened my Heart

by Susan Black

As I stood facing the Paper birch tree, Bahá'u'lláh’s teaching of the oneness of the world of humanity flooded my mind. His explanation, "Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch," became abundantly clear to me. When I first heard the phrase, I took it to mean that the world of humanity is like a tree, the people are the different branches and the individual human creatures are the fruits and blossoms.

I reached out to one of her outstretched branches. It had a pop can stuck to the end of it, out of place of course and looking as though it was hurting her. I tugged at the aluminum obstruction and ripped off three leaves and a significant layer of birch bark. I patted the exposed branch hoping she would recover from her wound. I felt an overwhelming kinship with her.

Later, my husband and a few friends joined me at the tree to clear the encroaching weeds and put down rocks and soil at her base. I imagined our newly adopted tree, Bonnie the Birch, was sown from a single seed and that this mighty tree has appeared. I was thrilled that day to find these words of Abdu'l-Baha in Bahá’í World Faith:

“If we sow the seed, a mighty tree appears from it. The virtues of the seed are revealed in the tree; it puts forth branches, leaves, blossoms, and produces fruits. All these virtues were hidden and potential in the seed. Through the blessing and bounty of cultivation these virtues became apparent. Similarly the merciful God our creator has deposited within human realities certain virtues latent and potential. Through education and culture, these virtues deposited by the loving God will become apparent in the human reality even as the unfoldment of the tree from within the germinating seed.”



     Random Acts of Kindness

Our latest Junior Youth Empowerment Program service project was performed in the Campbell River community as random acts of kindness. After a discussion of what is meant by the familiar phrase, and appropriate ways to approach people, we viewed a few videos as encouragement.

In pairs, we journeyed out into our neighborhoods to share some kindness. The acts varied from carrying groceries, to delivering homemade cookies, and singing to the seniors at various venues. The responses varied from, "No thanks", to clapping in thanks; as a result, the Junior Youth enjoyed feelings of goose bumps for their efforts.

Afterwards, we met at a restaurant with everyone who had donated to the experience. We shared conversations about which approaches worked best, as well as ways to make the next event even more spectacular.

At our wind-up meeting, we sipped hot chocolate and munched enthusiastically on cookies. Later, we travelled through the local indoor mall sharing more cookies and random acts of kindness.