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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coexistence of religions and celebrations.

I grew up as a catholic in an Islamic country. On Friday, I would happily go to the mosque with my friend. Many of my  friends were attending, and afterward I was always invited to share their delicious meals. On Saturday, some Danish protestant nuns were offering succulent baked goodies. Of course, I went to visit them when I could. On Sunday, it was Sunday school before the service.  At the end of which, we were always rewarded with some fancy European goodies.
At six years old, I was chosen to be Mary in the nativity play at church. I was so happy to be “the virgin Mary”. Oh yeah, I was “the” Madonna. The day of rehearsal, the priest gave me a doll to be “baby Jesus”. It was a cute blond and blue eyes doll. I ask if I could have a “black Jesus” instead. The priest said no my child. I asked again. He said no. I asked again. He finally said, no my child Jesus was not Black. I answered that The Madonna was not black but I was. I told with that the Holly spirit would have taken my color in consideration. The priest did laugh very hard. I was upset... Later at home, my Dad told me that Mary and Joseph were Jewish. So they were more likely tan with dark hair. And it did not matter anyway. I should let it go. Obviously, I did not completely let go…However, I went with the baby Jesus chosen by the priest. I was also graciously bribed with dates by my mother to comply with the original play. My stomach and I were always open to dialogues.  I was a calm child but outspoken, often bribed for silence with food.

As for the celebrations, we celebrated all the Islamic holy days and catholic one. The first Christmas I do remember was amazingly creative and funny. My mother managed to create a fake pine tree with a tropical plant. We did decorate with tons of homemade crafts. The final touch was shaving cream for snow under our tropical heat. It was a fabulous tree!!! I never believed in Santa Claus.  I always loved the family spirit during the holidays. It is at the end of the year, you are grateful to be healthy and loved.
I knew that my parents could not buy fancy toys. I always asked for cheeses and sweets. Anything that travel several miles in boat was pretty fancy to me.  My stomach and I were happy!!
At twenty years old, I converted to Islam. Today, I am still celebrating Islamic and Catholic holy days. And our son is celebrating all of them also. I think he knows about Santa. However, he loves the magic and the toys so much that Santa is real.

Religions are messages. Spirituality is within our soul. I know that my spiritual journey is the reflection of who I am. By the way, I do  believed in Zen. I was a good catholic and  I am muslim. My mother told me once: " I do not know if you are praying but regardless the language or the style, you must pray. And you must meditate quietly 15 minutes a day". Thank you Maman!

At the end it is the same moonlight for our dreams, and God is orchestrating the pre-established harmony. No matter what kind of religion or philosophy  we are  following, we are playing the same melody. And we have common dreams under the same moonlight.We must coexist...
Peace to you all

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