Mississippi State College for Women

We found a program for Aileen at the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Mississippi State College for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. This old, well established, and thoroughly Mississippian women’s school in the old south tradition was able to give her personalized attention by highly motivated teachers and staff. And, fortuitously, it has received a grant from the federal government and a new law had been passed requiring schools to accept hearing impaired children into local schools (mainstreaming). When we considered the options to move to North Carolina, the grant that was instrumental in helping Aileen was exhausted, and would not be renewed.

Over and over in my life, whenever confronted with difficulties or crisis, I found that if I kept moving and looking for a solution to whatever the difficulty entailed an answer appeared. Of course I don’t think that 94-142 and the federal grant were cosmically guided resources that God sent me to help my daughter, born to Baha’i pioneers in Haiti. But at the same time that is what happened, and I can cite other instances of this kind of unexpected support and guidance that directly impacted on my life. I don’t believe this only relates to me.

One evening at a Baha’i fireside in Kyiv, we read and studied a prayer about God’s support, tests and difficulties. I asked everyone in the room to think about the most difficult time in their life. A time when they did not have hope and felt helpless and unable to resolve a difficulty. And then I asked them what happened; how they survived the crisis.

Everybody had a story. Everybody has difficulties. And everyone receives support that was unanticipated and unexpected. For me, this is practically the definition of a spiritual test. We are confronted with issues that are by definition overwhelmingly difficult and where we do not have ready answers or solutions. Baha’is teach that these crises are part and parcel of life in the physical plain. I taught a class to pre-youth, when Svitlana’s father died, and I talked about the fact of disease, death and dying. I asked them: “Did God create anything that is bad?” They indicated: “No.”  Then, I went on: “So that means that the physical world animated and sustained by God, which includes death, needs to be understood from this perspective?” So we discussed that death is part of life. It is difficult and a test, but what we call death is simply a transition. And death and free choice is part of the underlying purpose of Creation– to give us a physical classroom to refine and develop our souls. One of my favorite multimedia videos (in Russian) is based on the book “Purpose of the Physical World”, by John Hatcher.

Aileen was a huge test for her parents and we responded in unity, and love. We worked hard for Aileen and found doors to provide her with her needs.