“God takes care of the results,” she said. “All God expects of us, is to make an effort.”
WOW!!! Stars exploded in my heart. All my life, since I had been a little boy, beginning at age two, I had been expected to produce specific results to satisfy my mother’s whims and needs. If she didn’t want to do something, she demanded that I do it. This began with giving my baby sister her bottle (the big, heavy, thick glass ones) when I was only two, moving up to fastening her bra when I could neither see or reach the strap, to stirring something in a pan on the stove when I had to reach over my head, past the flames, to move the spoon, to putting laundry in the wringer of the washing machine, also over my head, and I had to keep the buttons flat! All those tasks took a great deal of effort.
I had to produce results so often, requireing so much effort, that many times I collapsed physically from exhaustion. My mother would simply shrug her shoulders.
“He does that,” she calmly told a friend once who had expressed concern when I was an adult and, after a day of hard physical labor, she expected me to move her piano by myself and I had crumpled to the floor.
Now this lady was explaining her religion, saying that all God expected was for believers to make an effort. God would take care of the results. Relief and excitement flooded through me. I KNEW about making an effort! That is all my childhood had been: pushing myself to make the effort AND produce results! This religion would be easy to follow, if you only needed to make the effort. That was so much easier than producing specific results too!!
I don’t remember who the woman was who told me that, it was over fifty years ago now, but I remember the home we were in and that this private conversation took place after an informal meeting where some aspect of the religion had been presented and discussed. The evening had been relaxed, warm and welcoming.
It was only a little odd to attend a religious kind of meeting in a person’s home, but I learned that was common for them. Being in someone’s home gave a more personal aspect to the gathering. And the people all knew and appeared to enjoy each other. I eventually learned they came from very different backgrounds: a university professor, a carpenter, a housewife, some college students, an architect, office workers, and others I didn’t know. I’d grown up around farmers, so this mix of people was very different for me.
The met in homes so the gatherings could be small and this avoided the expense of a building. I later learned that they spent more money on schools, in more places around the world, mostly in countries where the government couldn’t provide schools in villages, than on buildings for worship or other meetings, though they did have a few of them too. Service to others was more important to them than their own satisfaction.
Most notably, in this gatheringa nd others I attended, no one argued with anyone else. If there were disagreements, I could not tell from the happiness in the room and the smiles on the faces. This was the most welcoming, accepting group of people I had ever met.
Even though I had grown up in the family church, and some of the people there were glad to see each other, that wasn’t a general feeling I had experienced while going to services. There wasn’t an element there of actually caring about each other that these new people expressed.
When I realized, several months later, that I believed what they believed, and told them so, not having any idea if I was even allowed to join, I wasn’t thinking about this advice I had received, but I’m sure it was still in my mind somewhere. I had no argument with their fundamental teachings: that there is One Creator, which has been called by many names, that there is one creation with one human race, and that the Creator has sent Messengers/Saviors/Manifestations to mankind at different times and places to help the human race advance. Nor did I have any problem with other teachings such as the equality of men and women, that science and religion both describe two aspects of the same reality, that it is a benefit to humankind if different colors of people inter-marry, and that humanity is on the edge of its next stage – that of a global civilization. They had a unique Covenant which had prevented the religion from being divided into sects which was imressive. I wasn’t sure what the role of their Teacher/Prophet/Messenger was, but His Words were profound. His name was a little odd, but meant: the Glory of God. I eventually learned how to say: “Baha’u’llah,” when I became a Baha’i.
As for simply making an effort?
I have seen results beyond my imagination! How could a farm boy, who could not learn to read in school (and still can’t spell), who eventually discovered he has dyslexia/ADHD/cyclothymia/PTSD, plus an anxiety disorder; how could such a person be able to write so well that his writing has been published in many places around the world, in several languages, refered to in additional languages, and (through the internet) be read in many more places? I am amazed!!! It’s not possible! It doesn’t make sense, but such has become my life.
I still make an effort, and the results still amaze me. Her advice was life-changing and has come amazingly true.