Camilla Chance’s Losing Everything But Faith: Becoming Baha’i

Originally published on https://bahaiteachings.org/losing-everything-but-my-faith-becoming-bahai

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Losing Everything but My Faith: Becoming a Baha’i

At age 22, on my way back to Australia after having spent a year with my grandmother in Switzerland, I had a newly-awakened sense of my soul.

Three times round spun our gallant ship,
And three times round spun she;
Three times round spun our gallant ship
And she sank to the bottom of the sea, the sea, the sea!
And she sank to the bottom of the sea.

I felt pretty detached, and eventually the morning light dawned. At last the British crew announced all was under control, which relaxed everyone. Now the male passengers began looking at the women to see how they might appear when they had just got out of bed, with no lipstick and so on. I happened to be wearing a kind that doesn’t come off.

O God, my God! Fill up for me the cup of detachment from all things, and in the assembly of Thy splendors and bestowals, rejoice me with the wine of loving Thee. — Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers, p. 57.

Detachment does not consist in setting fire to one’s house, or becoming bankrupt or throwing one’s fortune out of the window, or even giving away all of one’s possessions. Detachment consists in refraining from letting our possessions possess us. A prosperous merchant who is not absorbed in his business knows severance. A banker whose occupation does not prevent him from serving humanity is severed. A poor man can be attached to a small thing. — Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, pp. 135–136.

Somewhere along the way, without my knowledge, my suitcase got dumped, and I arrived with only the clothes I stood up in. But I realized that I had what was important within me.

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