What They Do to 33 Year Old Carpenters

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What They Do to 33 Year Old Carpenters
Meher Baba and “ThreeB” (for Baba’s Beautiful Baby) AKA Diane Cobb

PR3–131
Fair Is Fairest of Them All

In Sufism atheism doesn’t make sense
Unless our atheist has first tried God
(Tried the Sufi God)
Because fair is fairest of them all:

How can you judge a God you have denied
Before you even tried?
And here’s atheists thinking small thinking
They’ve got me in a cul de sac of argument

(No escape):
They say with their clever entrapment smile
“Which God?”
And so I say to that well deny this:

The God that would be beautiful to you
Try to talk to that God
(In the walk-in closet of your heart)
Because in Sufism one picks one’s God

One chooses a God from the heart
A God specially designed closer than antibodies fit
With their locking ports which admit no strangers
Even my atheist friend

Said she wished she could believe
These reassuring fairy tales
But she never tried to talk to God
Not even the version of Whom

She’d have liked to believe in
Not even to present her terms of belief
She might be surprised
It worked for me because

God made me a counter offer
I couldn’t defuse:
I was kissed (on the lips)
By a lunar eclipse

Gentle Readers,
As I have frequently mentioned, I was an official member of a Sufi order. (Read sanctioned by Hazrat Inayat Khan, the founder of Sufism in the western world–circa 1920)

But maybe some have wondered why just the seven years? (1972 thru 1979).
What happened?
Once in a post seven years ago I confessed it all. And I have a hunch my current followers don’t go back that far, or if they do, they have either forgotten it or (for their long memory) are obviously devoted fans who will forgive the occasional throwback.

So this is a reprise of my post seven years ago, talking about how I got ignominiously dismissed from the Sufi order in 1979:

Gentle Readers,

(Sorry to be so late with this post. WordPress changed how they do things and I only just learned how)

Since last week, I’ve found some Lud* photos to illustrate this. Last week, I featured a photo of Lud’s daughter “Three B” (after Baba’s Beautiful Baby,” a name Meher Baba gave her, which stuck, for obvious reasons) In the photo one could see she was radiantly happy to be with Meher Baba.

I have already posted chronicling how Lud had been so sweet to me when I was dismissed from the Sufi order by Murshida Duce. How he rushed to see me and though I could not believe my ears, to apologize to me, for having suggested I write the letter I did to Murshida. And it was also sweet to thereby know that if it had been up to Lud that never would have happened, and obviously so, since the letter I’d sent Murshida contained nothing I’d not already told Lud, and which had elicited from him nothing but his saying how impressed he was with my honesty. And, of course, stressing the need for a plan to address the issues.

I had been worried, of course, so I had called Lud before I sent the letter off to Murshida. (I think I’ve already told of Murshida’s “Christmas Present” that year. Of how we should each send her a letter saying if we were happy as Sufi’s, functioning well under the requirements, or were having problems, even to the point of not wishing to continue, thus offering what I would have called an honorable discharge).

And Lud said not to worry so it was an honest letter. But afterwards Lud said, it was indeed, too honest. He said, (by way of explaining that he’d never told Murshida about my issues), “I saw you had a good heart, and so I just assumed it all would work out.”

Who knows the value of having someone like Lud say that. Perhaps it was just for that, that I was a Sufi.

I don’t know how many of my gentle readers have ever been thrown out of a group like the Sufis. I remember Murshida saying she’d been asked if Sufis should shun ex-Sufis who’ve been dismissed from the order. She said that would be a horrible thing, since that’s when they needed friends the most. Of course, Murshida saying that, and it being taken to heart, well, while I did have pretty good luck with my close friends, and my wife, Sally, I certainly saw much evidence of being shunned.

And there were others not so close, who proved my friend then, as well. And if any are reading this you know who you are and please know too you have an honored place in my heart.

It’s so much easier to suffer judgment when the judgment isn’t shared by your friends, and even some objective observers. But, and I cannot emphasize this too much, the real psyche-saver in this was Lud.

As for the judgment police, I don’t judge anyone for judging. It’s not the worst sin I have forgiven. (Or committed) And fairness demands no double standards. And as I used to tell my first grade students, “I am the fairest of them all.”

But I cannot over-emphasize my intense gratitude for Lud sparing me that horrible feeling of judgment and then, ostracism.

Because (and here’s a confession) it was Lud I loved. Though Murshida too, in a way powerful enough to make me burst into uncontrollable tears at her funeral. But honesty bids me also say, that sure had come as a surprise to me.

The summer before that fateful Christmas, it was my thirty-third birthday. And little did I know then the foreshadowing it was when, the night of my birthday my mother woke me up in the wee hours, drunkenly phoning to say, “Happy Birthday! Just had to remind you what they do to thirty three year old carpenters.”**

Sure enough, six months later, I felt crucified all right. Talk about synchronicity . . .

When Lud was dying, a few years later, we started writing to each other; I offered to get a marrow transplant if it would help with his bone cancer. But he said it wasn’t that type of thing. I wish though I’d have had a first hand way to judge how much better it is to actually make a sacrifice for someone you love (this transplant is a painful process for the donor) than it is just to know that you would.


And I loved him. I still do, wherever he is now. I will always cherish my last memory of him after I’d been dismissed, with us saying goodbye hugging and both of us crying and me apologizing for not having been a better mureed, and him, incredibly, for not having been a better preceptor. You see, to Lud the hardest thing in the world would have been to be denied the Sufi order. And so he felt bad on my behalf, that that had befallen me.

But if any of my readers knew Lud, and would like to share their stories, I’d love to post them in a blog post. Not to worry if they are short bits. I have some short bits myself that I haven’t gotten to, as it wasn’t enough to develop into a theme for a post. But if we all got together we could maybe do a charm bracelet thing, with a succession of freestanding anecdotes, quotes, or what have you. But about Lud somehow. Sort of like make up for that ill-fated birthday scrapbook. (To read about that, see December 23 post, “The Kind of Tears You Get From Laughing Too Much.” See https://rumi-nations.com/2013/12/23/the-kind-of-tears-you-get-from-laughing-too-much/)
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Lud Dimpfl, my adored Sufi preceptor (assistant Murshid, or head guru)

**33 year old carpenters is of course a reference to Jesus’ age when crucified

About Eric Halliwell

I am the creator and sustainer of rumi-nations.com, a website which features (among a few other things, like interesting and inspiring quotes, and Sufi stories) my poetry and illustrative blog posts, about one 1000 word essay a month. It is Sufi-themed, probably because for seven years I was an officially initiated Sufi mureed, in San Francisco circa 1970’s. My poetry has appeared in these publications: Penwood Review, Ascent Aspirations, Umbrella Journal, wordcatalyst.com (since defunct), Shine Journal, Ashé Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. I can be reached at estlin3@yahoo.com.

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