Today we are all either Irish, or honorary Irish.
Little known fact: although everyone refers to him as Saint Patrick, he was never officially canonized by any Pope. In anycase, I wonder how the original Patrick, saint or not, would feel to have his death commemorated by celebrations of Bacchus proportions.
One of the most obvious outward signs of being a Baha’i is that you don’t drink alcoholic beverages (unless as medicine). All Baha’is have stories to tell of a time they were given the opportunity to tell people about their faith due to such circumstances. So, rather than avoiding the celebrations today, Baha’is should take full advantage to get out there and mingle so they can tell people why they don’t drink!
Here is a “drinking story” told from the other perspective by Cary Enoch Reinstein:
If I hadn’t offered a pretty girl a can of beer at a 1963 Fourth of July party in the Berkeley Hills of northern California, I probably wouldn’t have come across the Baha’i Faith quite so soon.
Her name was Sandra. She stood out because she was the only one not drinking alcohol. I asked her why. She said she was a Baha’i, and Baha’is aren’t permitted to drink. She later told me she was a fifth-generation Baha’i raised in Japan, where her mother was on the National Spiritual Assembly.
Sandra’s great-great-grandmother attended Abdul-Baha’s talk at Stanford University in 1912, where He presented her with a Baha’i ring of orange jade and gold. Sandra was wearing that ring when I met her.
I asked her what Baha’i meant. Being raised Jewish, it sounded to me like the name of a Jewish organization – B’nai B’rith. As she was explaining the Baha’i Faith, I put down my just-opened beer can and haven’t picked one up since.
A friend of mine was at a corporate cocktail party, hobnobbing with the executives at his place of work (a Fortune 500 company). The vice-president knew he was a Baha’i and didn’t drink. But unbeknownst to the VP, a colleague had dashed off to the bathroom and asked my Baha’i friend to hold her cocktail for her.
So there he was, standing there trying to hold a cocktail the “proper way” in his hands when his boss approaches and with a glare asks, I thought you were a Baha’i and didn’t drink?
He responded, Sir, if you would just hold that thought, it will be answered momentarily.
The boss was puzzled and they stood there awkwardly for a few seconds until finally the colleague returned and whisking away the cocktail said, Oh, thanks for holding that.
So a very special St. Patrick’s day to my fellow Baha’is… and all my present and future friends.
May you be blessed with unequaled eloquence (even if you haven’t kissed the Blarney stone) and may you live to be a hundred.
And may my voice be the last you hear.