February 20, 2010

The first American Baha’i, Thornton Chase meets ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Akka

Some one said, "The Master!"—and he came into the room with a free, striding step, welcomed us in a clear, ringing voice—"Marhabba! Marhabba!" (Welcome! Welcome!)—and embraced us with kisses as would a father his son, or as would brothers after a long absence. It is no wonder that some have thought that the Master loved them more than all others, because he hesitates not to express his love and he truly "loves all humanity in each one." He is the great Humanitarian and each friend is to him the representative of all mankind.

He bade us be seated on the little divan; he sat on the high, narrow bed at one side of the room, drew up one foot under him, asked after our health, our trip, bade us be happy, and expressed his happiness that we had safely arrived. Then, after a few minutes, he again grasped our hands and abruptly left us. The friends also went out and left us alone. We looked at each other. I think we had not spoken at all except to answer "yes" or "no." We could not. We knew not what to say. But our hearts were full of joyful tears, because we were "at home." His welcoming spirit banished strangeness, as though we had always known him. It was as if, after long journeyings, weariness, trials and searching, we had at last reached home. The world of wanderings was left at the outer gate, we had entered into peace, joy, love, home. Those were moments of deep happiness; yet I could not fully realize the great blessedness of that meeting, which was the goal of my hope; but now its remembrance has become my joy and the treasure of my heart. I was filled with wonder at his simplicity, with admiration for his strength and dignity and love for his tenderness; these, mingled with delight and thankfulness, possessed me. 
('In Galilee', by Thornton Chase)