May 2014

Where I’d Like to Visit


A few days ago a friend told me about her recent vacation. It sounded like an excellent trip, and already she was thinking about where she might travel to next year or maybe the year after that. And then she asked me where I’d like to visit. Hmmmm.

Initially I found myself describing a physical environment with emphasis on the weather. But gradually I talked less about weather and more about social climate, i.e. how people live together. The more details that I added the more we failed to think of anywhere that fit what I was saying. The reason is simple: Where I’d most like to go doesn’t exist, at least not yet.

I’d like to visit a place where people are happy, healthy and confident about their future. They are joyful and have a sense of purpose as they go about their day. Though they have work to do, their jobs do not dominate their time. Instead they enjoy recreation, entertainment, socializing and community service.

Recreation supports both personal health and care for the environment. Entertainment is a celebration of diversity through arts and cultural events. Socializing includes all ages, a variety of music and food, and uplifting conversation. And when there is a need to fill, people readily volunteer.

Children look forward to school, where they feel safe, respected and cherished. They study through books and also real-world experiences. There is a balance between developing their minds and their characters. They are curious and eventually mature into lifelong learners.

The place itself is beautiful — both in its natural setting and in the cleanliness of the built environment. Extremes of poverty and wealth have vanished, with a range of lifestyles accommodating individual tastes and financial means. With reliable public transportation as well as a network of footpaths and bikeways, there is little need for privately-owned cars on a daily basis.

I could go on, adding more details about my own admittedly utopian ideas. But more importantly: Can we imagine and also create a world such as this one — a world built on respect, peace, beauty and unity? Baha’u’llah has promised that there will be such a time: a “Golden Age”. And though it is still far off in the future, He has given us all a chance to help create it by saying: “The betterment of the world can be accomplished by pure and goodly deeds.”

Abdu'l-Baha spoke often about the future as a time of fulfillment, unity and peace. As one example: “This is a new cycle of human power . . . the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity . . . the world will be seen as a new world and all men will live as brothers.”

The future unfolds every day, with small steps becoming longer strides. Sometimes the vision is too large to imagine and my abilities seem so small. And yet I am reassured to know that I can contribute to the Golden Age.

I just wish I could purchase a ticket to visit it on my next vacation, without the need for either a space suit or a time-travel machine.


© Jaellayna Palmer 2014