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Howard Colby Ives (my father) first heard of the Faith through Clarence Moore (the
father of Emily Kalantar) and, from the very first mention, he was skeptically reluctant
to put such faith in this wonderful Message. For years he had put his faith in various things and in the end, found that faith betrayed. In his search, he had become
a Unitarian minister and was, at the time of his meeting with Clarence Moore, becoming,
as he had before with other beliefs, disillusioned and unhappy within the confinement of a dogma. So he was not about to pin this tattered hope of his to any new masthead
only to have it torn down once more. He and Clarence had many hours of discussion,
but Father, longing so desperately to find the Truth that would, for all eternity,
prove itself to be unflawed and real, refused to be moved from his stand of doubt and
fearfulness. 'It is a beautiful Message", he told Clarence, "It is a beautiful dream.
It is good that you and others are able to dream it. But I - I have dreamed too much
and too often and the awakening has always been too bitter. I cannot dream again and
wake again." It was too painful for him even to contemplate.
Then came the Spring when Abdu'l-Baha was arriving in New York. And, Clarence, radiant,
said, "Howard, you must meet Him and I am sure all will be well with you." Father
refused. "What good would it do?" he asked. "We would be lost in a vast crowd of people. He would be wholly concerned with his audience I would be lucky if I glimpsed the top of his turban. What would be the use? Now if I might meet Him face to face
- if we might commune heart-to-heart - alone with no one to interrupt, Ah, then
we might truly meet." Father's tone betrayed his hope - but Clarence sighed and shook his head. "No one meets Abdu'l-Baha alone - it is necessary that all His words be recorded; He is always accompanied by His secretaries and friends."
But, in spite of this attitude of Father's Clarence persisted, and finally he brought
Montfort Mills to add his persuasion - and between them they finally managed to bring
Father to the Hotel Ansonia, where at that time Abdu'l-Baha was staying. And it was
exactly as Father had imagined it to be. The living room of the suite was crowded,
there was barely room to stand and the air was filled with chatter. Father, disgusted
that he had permitted himself to be talked into such a hopeless hubbub and realizing
a fresh the absurdity of even thinking he'd discover any truth in all the confusion,
walked over to a window and looked down on the Broadway traffic. It was then he heard
a door open and turned. A door had opened and in the doorway stood a Persian who,
as he caught Father's eye, beckoned to him. Father hesitated this was not possible, the
man was, of course, beckoning to someone else. But he beckoned again, unmistakably,
and Father moved across the room and entered the doorway.
It was Abdu'l-Baha's bedroom that he stepped into and, as Father crossed the threshold,
everyone in the room left by another door, Father and Abdu'l-Baha were alone. For a moment they stood and looked at each other then Abdu'l-Baha opened his arms and Father walked into them, "My son my very dear son" - murmured Abdu'l-Baha and embraced him deeply. Then He motioned to a chair and Father sat down. Abdu'l-Baha sat down close by. Nothing at all was said, The moments flowed by. Occasionally Abdu'l-Baha reached out and patted Fathers knee, gently and lovingly. And Father sat there. Later he said, "I knew then that I had found all and more than I was seeking - I had found a Man for the first time in my life who was truly possessed of the Pearl of Great Price, I had found flowing all around me and pouring through me, the infinite peace of which I had dreamed for all my life long." In that long sweet silence in the presence of the Master my Father had been given the bounty of deep, unshakable, unquestioning, everlasting Faith.
And for all the remaining years of his life he dedicated every breath he drew to sharing
this Faith with everyone he met.
Told to me by Father first in 1912
and countless times later.
MIBN Stories Copyright (c) 1998
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