More Friend to me than I am to myself: Isa
There is a prayer in the Baha’i writings that many Baha’is use often. The last line says, “Thou are more friend to me than I am to myself.” This prayer deals with the anxiety of an uncertain future and the ability to embrace it. When I read the prayer and meditate on its implications, it seems to me that when I am facing uncertainty, the quality that I need the most is friendship.
After I was fired from my job in Brazil, my wife and I spent the following year in Vancouver with our children and our granddaughter, Isabela. Isa (the name we call her by) was only 11 months old when we arrived late in the summer of 2004. She would prove to be a great friend to Debby and I. Debby loves gardens so the way she spent many hours was to soothe her soul in the many beautiful gardens in Vancouver. Isa was usually at her side. For myself, I came to know every park in Vancouver and when the winter came I joined Science World so that we could have a place to walk in the winter. Isa and I took our picture together for the membership card and spent many hours there.
Debby and I had an uncertain future because we were unemployed for the whole year. In fact everyone in the house became unemployed that year, but we always had someone who never judged us and who was always willing to go on whatever outing we had in mind, Isa.
Now in summer of 2007 I am employed, my future is a bit stabler or so it seems, and I am in Vancouver with Isa again. Yesterday we had a great walk together to the store looking for some corn on the cob. Isa is almost 4 years old, and now, besides being willing to go with me to all kinds of places, she is a great conversationalist, a true companion. There is nothing shallow about her. Her questions are all why questions. She doesn’t talk about trivial things. Why is the flower blue, grandpa? Why is the starfish painted on that sign? Nothing I can answer, just questions to ponder.
When we get to the store, we buy some fresh strawberries along with the corn. On the way home, we stop by an outdoor wading pool in a local park, she throws off all of her clothes and dances through the water. I follow her (keeping my clothes on).
As we eat one more strawberry, I tell her how happy I am to be with her. She says that she is really happy too.
I know now what to do when I am anxious about the future. Find Isabela and have an outing because she is more friend to me than I am to myself.