Hey Travel Friends!
I recently attended a baby shower that was about an hour drive from my home. Let me tell you that as I've gotten older, driving has become my LEAST favorite activity. I would have rather taken an UBER, but that wasn't practical, so I gassed up the convertible, picked up a friend and hit the road.
The drive took us through some ritzy neighborhoods, and while I was enjoying the conversation and looking at massive homes thinking "Who Lives There?", an amazing structure caught us both by suprise. My friend exclaimed: It's The Bahai Temple! We were both in awe and immediately agreed that after the baby shower, checking out the Temple was a MUST.
Now, I wasn't very familiar with the Bahá’í Faith; so I have to admit that during the shower I did some reading. I learned that the temple is one of eight dedicated temples of the Faith and that it is the OLDEST surviving Bahá'í House of Worship in the world (Wikipedia is your friend). During my reading, I learned that literature of the Faith directs a House of Worship be built in each city and town, and emphasizes that "its doors must be open to all regardless of religion, or any other distinction".
It goes on to say "that the spirit of the House of Worship must be a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions", and that "holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language; while readings and prayers may be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments may be played inside. Furthermore, no sermons may be delivered, and no ritualistic ceremonies practiced."
WOW…I was excited.
We entered the visitors’ center for a moment and then walked out onto the grounds. Holding a conversation got difficult as we were both in amazement. The Temple, composed of a concrete mixture of cement and two types of quartz, is a domed structure with nine pillars. The intricate detailing and architectural elements of other structures from around the world took me to another place. I completely forgot that I was 45 minutes from home!
Walking inside I immediately felt calm. I felt peaceful. I felt the Spirit of God. It was all around me. I wrapped myself in His light as I read one of the beliefs of the Bahá’í Faith: there is one God whose existence is beyond our understanding. He is the Creator of everything, and although we may call him by different names – God or Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, or the Great Spirit – we are speaking about the same loving Presence that has supported and guided humanity throughout history.
I sat for a moment in complete surrender to God. Full of gratefulness. Thankful for the silence. Thankful for the moment to just be.
And as we walked out of the building, full of words that were unable to describe the experience; we both knew that this was not a one-time visit. We both knew that we would be back. Back to this place that felt far away - but isn't really far at all!
Are there any places near your home that you can escape to? Places that feel FAR, but really isn't? Let me know!