Somethings, someone unexpectedly enters my life who pulls me out of myself – honestly so. Living in the City, to eke out a bit of “privacy” in the midst of crowds often means I have to kind of ignore others around me (even though I love watching people). Add to that my tendency to be in my head way too much, and then the reality that I have a hard time explaining myself to others so it is just too easy not to bother. Then, I get pulled out of myself and it is a wonderful thing, but it is confusing in the beginning because I’m not used to it and I mess things up more often than not. Yet, it is good to begin to notice all manner of things, once again (like on the subway talking to a Muslim student or the coach and thirty boys of a London Ignatian youth rugby team coming back from a “tedious” Mets baseball game). I am thankful to be pulled out, even in my messiness.
On the subway this morning, a young guy got on the train dressed in a way that made me wonder what Faith he was a part of. I thought, perhaps, Sufi (Islam). I went up and asked him – Sunni. He is studying to be an Imam. We talked about his studies and my studies in seminary here in New York (I told him I am an Anglican priest).
With all the controversy and fear mongering and accusation and everything else going on between Muslims and Christians – add Hindus, Buddhists, and all the like – one thing that will become ever more apparent is that people of faith, no matter what their Faith, will end up having much more in common with each other than any individual Faith with the prevailing culture. There are real differences between the Faith’s and those differences are to be respected, but in the end the walk of faith is a task and disposition – a wisdom – finding much in common among us all.
The question that is so present in my mind and heart these recent days is how I am to change, particularly with certain significant people, so that I can love them in ways that benefit them firstly, and not out my own fear or longing or insecurity or all that. How am I to change? How am I to change so that I am able to better love my neighbor, this young Muslim student, a significant other?