Once Upon a Time…
I used to think that whenever I was shaking but wasn’t cold, it was because something was wrong was wrong with me. That was my internal cue to hide, to shut up and stop talking. It was my cue that I was sharing entirely too much. It used to happen when I’d speak up in a class in college. It happens whenever I speak my true mind with my friends in person, especially when I’m saying something outside the cool thing to say.
The shaking that happens to me is because I get incredibly nervous whenever I share the things I am truly passionate about with another person. I know now that the shaking that happens to me isn’t a sign that things are wrong; it’s a sign that I’m about to share a real part of myself. I’m shaking now as I write this post.
I posted the other day about Jared’s dreams and how I want very badly for him to find his place. This is true. The truth is, though, that his renewed interests have set off my dreams again; they’ve re-awakened the intellectual and spiritual things Jared and I have in common. The picture of my diploma above reminds me that my whole mindset toward my faith shifted when I majored in religious studies, studying from a non-sectarian perspective at a my beloved Georgia State.
I didn’t become a non-believer or a convert to another religion because of my studies. I became inquisitive, thirsty to know what other cultures and religions believed. I became more tolerant of people who believe something different than the things I believe. If anything, my faith in God grew as I came to understand a little bit of the world outside my Protestant Christian upbringing. The survey I received in those brief years just skimmed the surface of the religions I studied, but it was enough to teach me that I need to have respect for other faiths. If my time in that program taught me nothing else, it taught me respect for “the other.” I actually got to step inside a Hindu temple. I participated in a healing session that was an extra part of a “Consciousness and the Paranormal” class. I learned about modern Judaism. I learned about women’s places historically in various faiths. I learned about mourning practices around the world. The survey I took on Islam was post 9/11 and there was awesome discussion and growth for a lot of us in that class.
The point is, Jared is interested in interfaith dialogue again and I’ve been so excited for him. And then tonight, it hit me: I’m interested in it, too. This is the point where we intersected in our conversations about our college experiences years ago; it’s part of the reason we fell in love with one another. Each of us had vastly different experiences in college, but our common point is that we now deeply respect people of other faiths. We are both interested in fostering peace in the community. It’s a place where we are on exactly the same page in our faith journey together and I’m excited to see where it may take our little family.
So, I’m shaking as I write this post because I’m speaking a dream out loud for the world to see: I want to be involved in the interfaith conversation, too.