Between my hotel and BWC, I found a donair shop. The proprietor often had a cigarette in his mouth as he was cutting meat and preparing the meal. But these donairs were so good that I condoned his obvious disregard for cleanliness in restaurants.
I did not want to go on pilgrimage! I just thought it was a waste of money and world resources. I found good reasons to turn down the first two pilgrimage spots that were offered to me. But when the third came up, I didn’t have any commitments in life to provide that good excuse. So I followed the instructions to go; and I went.
Truth be told, I didn’t get that great emotional jolt from the shrines. But two other events did effect me in mysterious ways. The first was was a Holy Day celebration at the BWC. If you recall, a busy road runs through the Terraces, and it’s hard not to notice the traffic noise, despite the architects’ great efforts to put this road in the background. As the celebration started, the crickets in the gardens started chirping, drowning out the noise of the road. With the crickets and twilight and soft street lights and 200 people from all over the world in a common celebration, it was a very magical moment.
My second event was in Akka. We were at the gates of Akka, and the guide was pointing to a second story apartment just outside the gate. There lived an enemy of the Faith, and his job was to spot the Persian believers from coming to see Baha’u’allah and deter them from their mission. According to the guide, he was often successful. I could only think of the opposition of that time could see how their work has really come to nothing!
I did not understand my pilgrimage until several months after. I no longer had doubts about my chosen religion.