When I was a mere toddler, barely out of diapers, my parents had taken a pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel, the Holy Land. Baha'is are enjoined to undertake at least one such pilgrimage, if they are able, before they die. It's a mystical thing, I think, and kinda understandable, but weird. The only way a Baha'i is allowed to undertake this pilgrimage, however, is by invitation only- the candidate Baha'i must submit an application to the World Center in Haifa, then the World Center makes its approval (I mean, why wouldn't it, if said Baha'i is in good standing with the larger Baha'i community?) and then a date is set.

Mom and Dad got their approval in early 1976, just after my sister had been born. They left me and my older brother behind, in the care of loving friends and family, while they took this journey with my baby sister. There are many fantastic things to see while on pilgrimage, things of historical and religious significance. One such sight is the Tomb of the Bab. It is said that if an earnest prayer is offered at the Tomb, it will be answered with the grace of God. This is not a wishing-well kinda thing. This is prayer, where the person's motivations are selfless.

Dad's prayer was for his children, that they would all find the ones for them, their mates, and marry.

My older brother got married in 1994 to a terrific woman, Dani. Together they have had 3 children- 2 girls and a boy.

My little sister got married in 2000. She and her husband have recently had their first child, a baby girl.

My younger brother is still in his teens, so the jury's still out on that count. But I think he's developing the adequate social skills to achieve such a high honor as matrimony to a special woman some day.

I, nearing the age of thirty-one with no girlfriend in sight and no real prospects surfacing, have never been married. Doesn't look like I ever will be, either. And if I ever do, it'll be rather pointless as I would like to also procreate.

It had come to light, back when I was fifteen years old, that my mother (biological) had had an affair- I am the result of said affair. I am not my dad's son. Well, I am, but only by virtue of the fact that he raised me. I am, however, 100% my FATHER'S son- oh, Lord, am I.

All signs indicate that the God of Abraham, my particular diety-flavor, is of the patriarchal variety. Sons of the Father and all that jazz.

I have half a mind to call my dad up and tell him, in no uncertain terms, that:

1) His prayer has been answered resoundingly.
2) God has a nasty sense of humor.
3) I still believe in God, but dammit, why does blood have to be so damn thick?
4) Y'know, he could have encouraged his wife at the time (my biological mother) to offer up a similar prayer. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.