UNITED IN THE WINDY CITY

  • September
    14

    At the very North end of Chicago’s CTA purple line is where I headed this morning to visit one of the seven Baha’I Temples around the World. I’ve been to the one in New Delhi, India and was blown away.

    With only four days to see all the sights of Chicago, how did I choose to travel as far North as the trains could take me?

    Well, it was fate.

    My stop on the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority)

    My stop on the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority)

    My best friend since grade three, Bethany, is living in Chicago while she is currently finishing her PhD. While she is at work, she has given me a checklist of places to see and things to do. One task was to pull two random tourist cards from a stack and complete it. My first card was a walking tour of all the prominent statues in the down town loop. The next was to visit the Baha’I Temple.

    So here I am.

    I’m sitting on a close-to-empty train watching Chicago City escape my view. I am definitely in the suburbs now. A passenger is carrying a large black portfolio case. This starts up conversation amongst four strangers. They are taking excitedly and ask to see her artwork. They exchange phone numbers and contact info with the artist. A mother who isn’t living with her 8-year-old son wants a portrait of him painted. She passes around her phone so that we can see a picture of him. There is compassion between the passengers as they are all mothers.

    I am an observer at this point. I contribute only a few head nods and appropriate responses. As I watch these women interact I am amazed at how carefree and bold they appear. It’s refreshing to observe connections amongst strangers. It’s what I long for especially when I travel. I aspire to have the courage to experience something new and build relationships without fear of judgment.

    I get off at Linden Station and start walking. The neighborhood is quaint with cute old houses, some made out of stone. I cross a bridge and high about the tree tops I can see a magnificent building made of delicate white lace.

    In the middle of a quiet suburban city is the Chicago Baha’I House of Worship.

    The Baha'I House of Worship

    The Baha’I House of Worship

    The Baha’I faith is a religion of unity and believes that all religions share a common source and aim. Their core principles are to eliminate prejudice, gender equality, create harmony between science and religion, and universal education to name a few. The temple is made up of quartz crystal and white cement to form the intricate details of the exterior. All the Baha’I Temples around the World have their own distinctive designs but share the common theme of a nine-sided structure symbolizing completeness or unity, covered by a single dome to represent the unity of all people and religions under God.

    The seven Baha’I Houses around the World include: • Wilmette, Illinois • Kampala, Uganda • Near Sydney, Australia • Outside Frankfurt, Germany • Overlooking Panama City, Panama • Apia, Western Samoa • New Delhi, India.

    If you ever get the chance to travel to any of these areas I encourage you to visit the Baha’I temples. They are physically remarkable and carry an important message of unity regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs. Just like the compassionate women on the train, we are all united in more ways than we know, it’s only a matter of reaching out and connecting.

    Alison- HBSc, ND graduate


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