Baha’i Faith: Day 5

What does the Bahá’í faith have to say about disability? (obviously a topic near and dear to my heart)

When Rowenna was first born, we scrambled for guidance. We dove into the writings seeking some comfort and an answer to that huge, ugly, looming question: “Why?”

We found quite a bit about what to do when things don’t go as planned and we did find some peace there. But then I came upon this little gem:

“Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of, all infirmities of body or mind.”

And while “infirmities of body or mind” may not be the greatest way to phrase it, I love this because it echoes exactly what I feel about Rowenna.

Rowenna is Rowenna. She has an extra chromosome, her diagnosis is literally part of her, but her soul – her essence, her core – has nothing to do with her health, what she can do, what she can’t do.

My faith affirms what I believe to be true about disability in general. Abilities are just the way we access this world. Our souls, our true selves, are not dependent on ability. Our souls shine, and our abilities do not define us.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Michael on March 12, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Dear Friend,
    Like yourselves, I am a believer in God as revealed through His manifestation, Baha’u’llah.
    Not having studied this matter, I’m not too certain of His (or other Holy Baha’i Writings) on the point that you question.
    I will say this however, that your precious darling Rowena, I truly believe, is a very, very, exceptionally Special Person whom God has chosen, in His Great Mercy, to bestow upon humanity.
    How else could humanity ever learn the value of those beautiful emotions of compassion, care, kindness, empathy, sympathy and so forth . No, these cannot be learned from Scripture or books – only by receiving Rowena and other Blessed Souls like her.
    You, of course, as parents, have been bestowed a very, very special and at times most challenging reward to raise this Precious Child and through this you will teach many, many wonderful virtues to the world such as patience, nurturing, love and so forth. Again, absolutely impossible to learn from just reading Scripture or literature.
    As Rowena grows and settles into her adult life she will be a like a beacon to enlighten so much of humanity. People will know of determination, overcoming adversity, meeting challenges and so on.
    So, very dear Mum & Dad, whilst it may have been easier (but not necessarily so) to raise a daughter without this chromosomal difference, you might consider the three of you to be very Special and Privileged people – chosen and protected by God to perform probably the most valuable teaching work humanity will ever know.
    Baha’u’llah is, I’m certain, ready to work through you.
    My very loving greetings and kindest wishes.


  2. Posted by Susan on March 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Beautiful! Thank you!


  3. Posted by Sean Partington & Shaida Shirazi on May 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    We would love to converse with you. We too share in the ever-present joys and frustrations of awakening those around us, be they in the community, or in school, or a well-meaning service provider, about the verities o the human soul of our 10 year old born with Trisome 21. How they are veiled and cannot see the exceptional value and contribution that children, like our daughter, offer to our society.


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