Greeting the Persians

Yesterday and today were spent serving at the Grand Canyon Bahá’í Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I was security there, which at these conferences means standing at the door and checking for proof of registration. I like doing it because it allows me to meet with the people, and have a moment of connection with some I might otherwise never meet – from old couples speaking nothing but Persian, to young ladies dressed to impress (and succeeding at it).

It was during this time, greeting a stream of Persian and other faces and friendly eyes, that I came to realize something: I was not there serving for the sake of God. That alone does not convey the satisfaction it gave me, or that after fourteen hours of standing, I was exhausted but not wearied. The way to explain it is that I came to see: these people were God. Whenever I did something for them, I was doing it for Him. And whenever they smiled back at me (which most did, often), I saw in their eyes a light as if He were smiling back at me. It was a time of service that became like communion – and exchange of gifts between lover and Beloved. For this reason, when I was done, I felt I’d been done a favor by the chance to be there, and look forward very much to doing it again next year.