A Reflection on Pioneering: Delivering the Message

Julie Mitchum Sater, the author’s grandmother, seated with a portrait of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá

Be thou a summoner to love, and be thou kind to all the human race. Love thou the children of men and share in their sorrows. Be thou of those who foster peace. Offer thy friendship, be worthy of trust… Loose thy tongue and teach, and let thy face be bright with the fire of God’s love. [1]

From the beginning of my Bahá’í life I taught in airports, bus stations and bus stops, though it was unlikely that I would ever see these people again. I taught the way my grandmother did. Everyone who met her was given the message. My grandmother was an actress in Hollywood. She was in an old black-and-white horror film called “House on Haunted Hill” with Vincent Price. In one scene, her hand is stretched out. Something is dripping on it from the ceiling. She screams. For a good ten seconds, you can see her Bahá’í ring! Grandma insisted that her double wear it. She taught selflessly, and inspired me to teach. 

I moved to Brockville as a homefront pioneer after becoming disabled and not being able to work anymore in Ottawa. Many obstacles make it difficult to leave the house. Sometimes the only people that I see are the people who come to my door. I am a diabetic and receive insulin pump supplies once a month. One day, I took notice of the delivery man. Although I always feel timid in these situations, he had a particularly warm voice and shining eyes. There was just something about him, I felt safe.  

He came every month around the same time, and we were getting to know each other. I felt he was special, as though I was getting tapped on the shoulder to say, “This one!” It had certainly happened before in my Bahá’í life. Maybe you know what I mean. I kept trying to think of ways that I could mention the Faith within such a small amount of time. Since we talked about world issues, I decided to give him a book with beautiful pictures. He took it and thanked me. The times he came on delivery always felt like a visit from a friend, and I looked forward to these moments. 

My role was to open the door, literally and figuratively. During the holiday season, I opened it wider. I decided to give him a Christmas card with a small, yellow prayer book inside. After Christmas, I got a knock at my door. It was my friend. He was off his route, but came to bring me a small journal as a gift and wished me happy holidays. This meant a lot to me.  One time, when I was at a store, I saw him delivering parcels. The people that worked there told me that he is one of the nicest people they’ve ever met. It confirmed the feeling I had when I first met him, like he was a Bahá’í, that I almost greeted him with “Alláh-u-Abhá.” 

All of a sudden, he stopped coming. I asked the new driver where he was and he said he has a health problem. I kept him in my prayers, and then one night I had a dream that he was standing next to his parked truck, wearing a Bahá’í ring. I missed him and wanted so much to know if he was okay. It turned out he had a congenital issue and wasn’t allowed to drive. 

 I asked the new driver how he was doing, and the next month when she came I got an amazing surprise. She said “he sent you a message: ‘Just tell her ‘it worked.’”  She said he got his dream route along the water. I thought a lot about what he could possibly mean. I think he used the prayer book. I don’t know if I will see him again, but the seed was planted.

Reflections shared by JulieAnn Longaker

[1] Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá

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