Some believe “Interfaith” is an impossible concept. Because of course religions are the perfect excuse for war and hate right? Well if you are a person of faith who hates, I have news for you: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
Apparently it is more exciting to see the suicide bombings and vandalism that arise from religious differences. This of course, sells more advertising.
There are far more instances of people helping people of other faiths than you will see in the media. The Bible has a nice story about a good Samaritan. It’s a short parable but worth reading. I believe that most faith-based organizations promote love. Extremism was never in the original mission statement. However, we as humans are prone to err. Sometimes rather large errs.
Ha! You thought this was going to be about some violent religious unsettling didn’t you?!!
I remember watching this video in amazement back in 2011. The definition for bystander is:
by•stand•er(ˈbaɪˌstæn dər) n. a person present but not involved; onlooker.
Well I guess these were not your normal, everyday bystanders…But what I was observing were the various ethnic backgrounds, races, classes and yes religions behind these “bystanders”. I don’t think one person there said, “Wait, who does this biker worship? Who do you worship?”. No, all this dogma was left by the wayside for the greater good of saving a human brother’s life. Wow! I hope I would have it in me. Don’t you?
This form of assistance is not new. Again approximately what year was The Good Samaritan story first shared?
A white supremacist group started harassing the Jewish population right before the winter holidays. The surrounding churches started posting pictures of menorahs as a show of support. This began the “Not in our Town” movement. The town was so successful at implementing this that the racial threats and violence were silenced.
About that time my former husband and I were raising three children in an apartment just outside of Northridge, California. I had met the Muslim neighbors who lived on the first floor. We did laundry together and just chatted about anything that came up. My former husband was leery of these people…they were Muslim you know. I had not yet started my journey of ignorant thinking so I continued to be friendly with them.
I remember they once invited us to an interfaith gathering in Pacoima, California. My ex-husband expressed that under no uncertain terms were we to participate. I didn’t argue. Mostly because I was just so tired from raising three little ones and working a full-time job. Plus I had about two weeks of laundry to do…
In the middle of a strange dream, it felt like God had picked up the Earth and then just dropped it. BAM!! I immediately jumped out of bed, trying to call out for my daughter in a louder voice than the thunderous sound of the world shaking around me…in complete darkness. Only clothed in a nightgown, I had to quickly find something to wear so we could get the heck out of our apartment.
Carefully, we made it out. Broken glass all over the floor, the refrigerator popped out of its nook and slid to the edge of the entry door. We converged to the front lawn of the building with the other residents, watching as explosions lit up the otherwise black sky and trying to remain calm as the aftershocks rocked the very foundation under us. I had experienced earthquakes before and they had never frightened me like the 1994 Northridge Quake.
I was worried about my boys, who were spending the night in Mar Vista with my mom and we were unable to get an outside line from our apartment before we got out. I had no idea if they got hit as badly as we did. Our Muslim neighbor, quietly said to me, “We have access to an outside line, follow us”. With gratitude, we followed them to their apartment and I was able to contact my mother and form a plan to meet up at her home.
I never saw my Muslim neighbors again. Just about everyone in the apartment building moved out within a day or two after 1/17/94. Nevertheless, they will always be Interfaith Heroes to me and I send light and love to them on occasion, never forgetting their good hearts.
Developing a friendly rapport with a neighbor, without considering our differences in faith is, well a neighborly thing to do. Because we all are companions in this great community we call Earth. You never know if your fellow citizens might be the one who could help you with some kind of traumatic situation or if you will be the one who will stand in the gap for someone other than yourself – regardless of our beliefs.
Anyone can be an Interfaith Hero! Yet it doesn’t take an act of heroism to be a good person among persons. I do believe however, that being a good neighbor is a great start to having a blissful life!
Stay Blissful My Friends – E
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
Ah, the anguish of indecision. There are worse challenges, yet there is nothing like having to make a decision.
I once heard a speaker share, “If you cannot make up your mind whether to get a haircut or not and then you end up staying home due to indecision, well you just made the decision not to get your hair cut.” Sounds simple enough, but listening to this man made me shift in my seat uncomfortably as I imagined trying to make that very decision. I still feel a little twitch as I am typing this.
I am well-known for my indecisiveness and if my husband wants any peace of mind, he knows it is best NOT to ask me where we should go to dinner. I once stayed up for hours trying to decide where the Christmas tree was going to go now that we had a new sofa. This was in the month of June…
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. – Alcoholics Anonymous
Of course, I have also had to make tremendously difficult, life changing decisions. Like putting down the drug and drink which helped me eventually make a decision to leave an abusive relationship, let go of a toxic friend, and move on from a long-standing employment status that no longer worked for either party.
The abusive relationship was the most difficult if you can imagine. I changed my mind but thankfully he made it easy to change my mind again and permanently. In the end, it was best for all of us. It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. From there on out, I was looking for decisions to make: Angora or Cashmere? Highlights or my natural color? Red dress or Blue dress? Heels or Flats?
Okay, I’m over it now and can honestly admit that I am still indecisive over the little things. But indecisiveness does not paralyze me anymore. How does one let go of this type of stagnation?
- Make the decision to turn it over to your God.
- Have a mentor/counselor/clergy – anyone you can trust wholeheartedly to discuss your choices with. Always have a good support group of people whether family or friends or both.
- Trust your gut instinct. I cannot say this enough…TRUST YOUR GUT.
- Don’t over think. Have you ever heard of Analysis-Paralysis? I. Have. Lived. It.
- Always check your motives. This is another form of a gut check.
- Know your values. This is important. Your decisions should always align with your values – again gut check.
- When you make this decision – Stick to it.
“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.”
― Elbert Hubbard
After the decision has been made, recognize the courage and strength it took to accomplish this…and I am talking about the little decisions as well as the big ones. Sometimes it takes baby steps and when the baby takes a step, we celebrate. We don’t say “Baby, I will be impressed when you walk a mile”…
For you more decision-challenged people, I recommend keeping a decision journal. Really. It is always good to look back on these victories. Relish them. Remind yourself that you can do this decision-making-thing.
So I ask you to please join me in making a decision to…Have a Blissful Day!
Stay Blissful My Friends – E
If you liked this, check out: Let Go, Keep Going, or Start Over
There is Nothing New & Everything Changes…
One of my favorite scriptures, Ecclesiastes 1:9 says ” What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”. Trent Rezner confirms this in these brilliant lyrics:
I am just a copy of a copy of a copy
Everything I say has come before
Assembled into something into something into something into something
I don’t know for certain anymore – Nine Inch Nails (Copy of a)
My husband and I had the opportunity to attend a NIN concert last year and it was indeed life changing. I know, they are “just” an alternative music group. NOT! The energy and the lyrics are something anyone can grasp on a spiritual level. Additionally ethereal, this show took place at Red Rocks in “God’s Country”. Red Rocks is a majestic outdoor temple in Jefferson County, Colorado.
When I was in my 20’s, I was more ambitious than I am today. Hard to imagine. Yet when I failed at something, or worse lost an argument it was as if the world stopped spinning. Things like this could put me into a 6-month depression. An emotional state of Vertigo. Fortunately for me and my loved ones I did a little growing up in my 30’s.
Rich Mullins spoke of failure in a television interview, “Once we stop worrying about failing, we are now free to succeed.” Other good people shared these wonderful clichés: Easy Does It, First Things First, Progress Not Perfection, and This Too Shall Pass.
This Too Shall Pass is one of my favorite mantras. People of knowledge and experience know that good times and bad times come and go. Nothing is permanent. This concept has never and will never change. Yet the Buddha taught the lesson of Anicca (Everything Changes). “Anicca is a Pali word for ‘impermanent.’ The Buddha taught that everything conditioned is impermanent. To be conditioned is to be dependent on or affected by something else, and Buddhism teaches that all phenomena, including beings, are conditioned.” – Barbara O’Brien (About Buddhism)
So while everything changes, there is still nothing new under the sun. This paradox might be confusing. But it is best explained as: Change is permanent and it is continual – it has always been and will always be. Knowing this we are able to accept that our circumstances have already been subjected to by others before us, will be experienced by someone else someday…AND they will also pass! (Anicca)
Have you ever wondered why we can look at a picture, or read a book for the second time and have a completely different interpretation? I remember in the 90’s, Edward James Olmos directed and starred in a movie called “American Me“. Where I was at with my traumatic childhood memories, hindered my ability to appreciatee this movie. I hated it and I hated EJO. Some 20 years later, I watched the movie again. Wow! What an excellent representation of a part of my culture. I didn’t have to like my past or where I came from but I was now ready to respect it. (Anicca)
I am armed with the realization that I was not the only one who had faced these types of traumas. I am not alone. And even better, I might be useful to someone else who might undergo the same. I believe we are all universally connected. We are designed to be there with and for each other, to encourage, build up and empower one another!
And if you are still not convinced that there is nothing new under the sun, take a gander at the “historically based”picture below:
Stay Blissful My Friends – E
One might consider me a bit close minded…My first marriage ended up in divorce.
My suggestion: PAY ATTENTION! If he wants to rush into a relationship, sex and even more concerning – marriage, I would caution you to Run.Away.Very.Fast. Or not. But maybe, you could slow things down a bit. Give yourself time to evaluate the circumstances. He might tell you that he can’t live another day without being fully committed to you. That he thinks of no one other than you. He has such passion and intensity in the way he looks at you and makes you feel. But in reality, he just doesn’t want you to have enough time to see what he is truly about. He wants you completely under his (short-lived) spell. Or not. But maybe, you should still slow things down a bit. This will not hurt. If it is bad idea, you will see within the first year (If you are paying attention). If it is a strong bond, it will be stronger.
No one wants to be unequally yoked and some of us do want to have a life partner. Take your time. Talk to God. Ask him what to do. Wait on the answer. When you have a good relationship with your Creator, you will know-in your very gut you will know. If you do not feel you are getting an answer, WAIT. Just wait. The answer will come to you. Not everything has to be done today. Not every emotional circumstance needs to be resolved today. Breathe, take time and enjoy where you are at this time. Right.Now.
Are there good men in the church? Of course! However, pay attention to your emotional and spiritual condition. In my case I was a young, single mother of two. I was newly Christian and raised under EXTREMELY dysfunctional circumstances. I had a lot to learn and was impressionable. I was perfect bait for a narcissist and I bit!
So if you have met Mr. Wonderful in church (or anywhere for that matter), this is a good time to take a self-inventory:
Do I feel comfortable in my own skin?
- Am I speaking my truth daily?
- Do I have a daily conversation with my Savior?
- Am I committed to the life I am living?
- Has there been enough time to heal from deep emotional wounds in my life?
While all this is going on, consider what you can offer to others. Can you be a sounding board/prayer partner to someone else? Can you donate some time to your community or church? Get out of yourself. Most importantly, don’t take yourself so seriously. Get out and have fun!
“Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song!” – Judges 5:12