It’s wonderful

Philip was an elderly Bahá’í friend who passed away a few years ago. He was a colourful, larger-than-life American who made everybody laugh. One of his favourite expressions, which captures his life right to the end, was: “It’s wonderful.”

Even as Philip lay dying, his wife told me that he kept saying: “It’s wonderful” over and over again, until the moment he passed away. She said that she had felt like a midwife helping Philip’s soul to be born into the next world.

I thought the analogy of birth was such an inspiring way for her to view the death of her husband.

In describing Philip’s peaceful passing, and comparing it to a birth, she reminded me of how Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, invited us to view life on earth – as a preparation for the world to come.

Bahá’u’lláh compares life in this world to that of a baby in the womb. There, the whole purpose of the baby’s existence is to develop its physical body, to prepare it for life in the physical world.

In the same way, the purpose of life in this physical world is to develop our spiritual side – our souls – to prepare us for our birth into the spiritual world.

According to Bahá’u’lláh, it’s impossible to try and understand the next world, because, He said: “The world beyond is as different from this world, as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother.”

But, like the baby in the womb, we can, nonetheless, prepare ourselves for birth into the next world. And because the world we’re going to is a spiritual world, we need to develop our spiritual limbs and faculties here, in this life, to prepare us for the life to come.

Qualities such as love, faith, and truthfulness are some of the spiritual limbs we need in the next world.

My friend Philip certainly had many of these qualities – and a charming humour – in abundance. No wonder then that the words he uttered in his last breath were: “It’s wonderful!” And I am sure he is still saying it.

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