Friday, November 7, 2014

Interfaith Love

       Last week my husband and I took a train from Syracuse to Chicago, and another one to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to visit our children and grandchild.  Monday night, at the beginning of our return trip, we had a layover at the Chicago train station. We took turns watching our bags at a table and going to get something to eat in the food court. When I went to the counter of a Middle Eastern deli to buy fruit salad and stuffed grape leaves, the young attendant asked how my day was going. I said it was going well and asked about his. He responded that it was good even though he had to work for 12 hours. As he was ringing up my purchases he blurted: “I’m in love with a girl, and she loves me, but we believe in different Gods.”

       I asked him what religion he followed and he said Muslim. “But she is Christian,” he said, “and she says I believe in the wrong God.”

       I said: “But there is no wrong God because there is only one God. The Muslim God, the Christian God, the Hebrew God, and all Gods are one and the same, and that God is Love. You love her, she loves you, so God is always there with both of you.”

       The young man smiled and said, “I like that! I wish she believed the way you do. Are you Christian?”

       I told him that I used to be, but now I just believe that the one God of Love is God of all. “But the Bible does say that God is Love,” I told him. “It’s in the Book of John. You can remind her of that.”

       He told me more about the difference between his upbringing in Morocco and hers in Chicago. He is 23 and she is 19. I told him that she may be too young to deal with so many differences, but I hoped they would work something out. We could have talked longer, but I felt bad for my neglected husband and finally said, “I have to go back to my table so my husband can get something to eat.” Needless-to-say, Mark was also dying of curiosity!

       After I paid for my food the young man thanked me for talking to him and I think we both realized it was one of those serendipitous moments when two strangers were meant to meet, if only for a few minutes.

       I will always wonder what will happen between the young Moroccan and his American girlfriend. Even if they don’t find common ground in their relationship I believe I helped to open his eyes to the possibility that two open-minded people can share peace and harmony in a common faith, even when they come from two different cultures. I will think of him and his longing for love whenever I eat grape leaves.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, Emily. Your usual insightful writing captures a moment of synchronicity for a teachable moment! Wow!