Chocolates from the Muslims

September 20, 2009


I went to Meeting today alone because Wifebian is sick. When I arrived, it turned out Meeting had been postponed by a half hour to accommodate a group of Muslims who were using our space for the last day of Ramadan. I went out to the car to call Wifebian and tell her about the delay. On my way back in, I passed three Muslim men and said hello to the youngest. He replied, but barely made eye contact. I wondered if we would be allowed to shake hands, since I’m on the rag.

During meeting, there were three messages all connected in one way or another to Islam. One woman offered a message focusing on the mingling of our worship and theirs in the room this morning. She shared that the three men offered the Meeting a plant and a box of chocolates as a thank you for using the space and that they shared a quote from the Koran saying something about how Allah likes people who give. Another person shared his experience in London during 9-11 when he was lost in a part of town that was mostly Arabic-speaking and how when he asked for directions none of its denizens threw stones at him and how wonderful was that?

Just as I was losing touch with the Meeting, another Friend shared a message about the three men whom I had passed on the way in, about them as people. He said they were the Imam and the Imam’s son. He said the third man was the mosque’s contact with the Meeting. The Friend described the Imam as stiff, his son as shy and the contact as friendly.  He and the contact greeted one another by name and began an idle conversation. He talked about how each man’s expression softened and warmed as they greeted and then spoke with one another this morning, even the friendliest man. He said that each time the friendly man smiled bigger and warmer, he couldnt help but remark to himself how beautiful he was. Tears came to my eyes. Of course, I love it when ostensibly straight men remark on one another’s beauty, but also because I often have that experience, of looking at people, no matter how old or different or plain, and being mesmerized by just how gorgeous they are. The Friend said the memory of the friendliest man’s eyes flashing with warmth revives his hope for “everything that could be and what’s not impossible” because there is something in every person that truly likes other people, that enjoys sharing and helping. I think this, too.

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