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04 November 2006

Pre-departure checklist

TAHMINA AND AMIR DAUMAR, former colleagues in Israel, are leaving the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa to settle in Kazahkstan, Tahmina's land of birth. To help ease the move, I offered them some tips based on my own experience when I left the country in December 2004. I thought I should post the tips here for others who are also reaching the same milestone of leaving the holiest place on earth.

Dear Tahmina and Amir,

As you prepare to move out of the World Centre and into a brand new life together, let me share with you some small things you can do to make the final leg sweeter.

1. Relish the time! Smile and laugh a lot with each other as you pack, unpack, repack, clean, sweep, write, and do all those myriad tasks mandated for departing friends.

2. Go to the Consumer List and offer three of your most beloved material belongings FREE to the third, ninth, and last persons who will respond. Consumer lists never exist outside Haifa. Use it one last time to enrich the lives of others with three things that have gratified you.

3. Have fun throwing out garbage as you clean out your flat! If you take the staircase to get to the garbage bin, make a detour to the nearest store and treat yourself to a bag of Israeli potato chips. No one in the world does potato chips the way Israelis do.

4. Write a mail to the five persons you have always wanted to have dinner with but never got to. Tell them you want to lunch with them at the erstwhile Twelve-Shekel Kebab Restaurant in Hadar on Wednesday. If no one shows up, lunch together anyway, and enjoy that one restaurant in Haifa that has magnetized and enhanced the fellowship of the youth of the World Centre through all these years.

5. Go to the Cleaning/Maintenance Department and the Accommodations Department and personally thank each one of the crew that you find in the office. Show your appreciation for those fellow workers who make daily life in Haifa a much more pleasant experience.

6. On your second-to-the-last Saturday, volunteer to become a morning terrace tour guide and breathe in the air that our predecessors did. Then one evening in your final week, walk together down the terraces as the lights come up. End up at Ben Gurion; walk further down until you reach the final rotunda. Stop, turn around, and marvel at the glorious lights that celebrate the dawn of a new day.

7. Spend one lunch hour at the Monument Gardens. Reflect on the great, tranquil majesty and symbolism of these gardens. Say a prayer for the departed, and visit the Department of Holy Places to bid them goodbye.

8. Ride those final sherut rides to Bahjí seated together in silence. Absorb the moment: you are on the path taken by countless pilgrims whose lives have changed after visiting Haifa. You are now about to join those blest ranks.

9. And as you visit the Shrines for the last time, dedicate your prayers to the House of Justice and the beloved institutions of our Faith for divine assurances of guidance and protection, as they work hard in ensuring the progress of the Cause in every corner of the world, including that corner in Kazakhstan that you will now be part of.

Embrace the brand new life ahead of you with all its uncertainties and expectations. As you traverse another path of service in His Cause, let your full trust rest in Him. He will work with you in ways you never even imagined. You have my fondest wishes for the best.

:: Paul A.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Ancheta, that was beautiful!

Love the part of CMD, well done. :)

Unknown said...

I love your final comment about placing one's full trust in Him! I shall remember this when my turn arrives to embrace a new life of service in His Cause!.

Thank you for sharing all your comments. Invaluable!!!

Unknown said...

Love your tips... simple but effective... and yes CMD part is very wise... We will be leaving shortly after Tahmina and Amir so this was realy timely for us....

Andre and Zhanna

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