Faith

09.November 2009

Jordan, Travel

Blue Mosque, Istanbul-2 Across the aisle from me the man reads from a small, bound, version of the Koran. His lips move and he visibly relaxes as the recital proceeds. Throughout, he performs modified versions of the motions of his prayer.

I reach for my gin and take a slug. Same effect…we are now both calmer…different method.

As we ready for landing I am calm. Not because of the gin I think, but because I believe that if he believes so strongly, and is such a good man that his god would not let him perish, then I must be okay sitting across the aisle from him. His puppet-master will keep me safe too.

Today I hear a woman explaining, with great conviction, about stories from the Bible and how they relate to the area of the world we are currently in (we are in Jordan, near the baptism site of Jesus and a host of other Christian religious sites).

I cannot understand. It is not within me.

Five times a day the call to prayer rises above the country, above the city, above the sea…and five times a day Turks, Jordanians, and other Muslims, take the time to gather, and wash, and pray. Together, and apart, in cities and in the country.

Christians the world over congregate every Sunday to worship, to be with family and friends, and to share their experiences.

I do not come from a religious background. I am, technically, an atheist. And yet I am fascinated by this adherence to an ideal.

I do not understand religion in my own culture…the giving over to a higher being, the belief that heaven exists (and will be better than life on earth)…but here religion is on a whole other level. It’s not just  a ‘go-to-church-on-Sunday’ kind of thing…five times a day they are called upon. It’s part of their being…un-separated…non-definable…just part of who they are.

It’s fascinating.

Faith, to me, is fascinating. I have often wished that I possessed that belief in something. A truth that is undeniable, unshakable, and above all else. But I don’t.

I have faith in myself…in who I am, and what I can do, in my relationship, my talents, my future…but it doesn’t come from a higher being. It comes from within me.

I guess that’s what I take from these people. Faith is faith. What I believe in is as strong as what they believe in. It’s just different.

I am currently on a plane from Amman, Jordan to Delhi, India. It is filled with Indians returning home. India is a land of hundreds of gods. I have faith that all these people believing in all those gods will see us landing safely.

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6 Responses to “Faith”

  1. Jana Says:

    Amen Sista….well put. I was truly moved by your post.
    We sort of experience something similar here in Fort Mac. A large percentage population comes from the Islamic world. Business stops, literally for them to pray. Many also drive the local transit buses, and will pull over to park multiple times a day, head to the middle of the bus, and face Qiblah to pray. We frequent a local Mediterranean spot (they are from Libya, YUMMMMMM) and I once tried to order pork…Peter was embarrassed…I have lived such a sheltered life, sigh.
    Not the same I know, but similar…
    J

    • Gillian Says:

      J: you are too funny…I can just imagine Peter as you asked about the pork…hee hee…I, too, have led a sheltered life…my eyes are being opened for me!

      Sheri: I will definitely try the cheesecake…and compare! You must drop us a line and let us know how things are.

      Ron: I wonder if we are all just destined to learn the same lessons over and over…

      Dawn: We are currently enjoying Nepal…thanks for all your advice and tell Sean that we are now relaxed and ready for India.

  2. sheri Says:

    INDIA!!! so jealous!!! so wish I could be there. have fun…..and dont forget to order the cheesecake!! haha

  3. Dawn Says:

    Beautiful post.
    I am hoping you are enjoying India!!

  4. ron Says:

    G,
    I have similar issues with terms like religion,spirituality and phylosophy.Have a feeling they are all part of the same ‘hard-wiring’most people are born with and are unable to express properly.The way one lives their life ,if they bother to examine
    it on a daily basis,can be any of the above mentioned choices.
    If you can find an english biography of the Bhudda you would be surprised at
    how little we have changed over the years.Ditto with Muhammid of Islamic fame.
    Our fortunate status as conscious beings
    seems to give us more grief than gratitude.
    ron

  5. michelle Says:

    Hey Gillian, I often attend a local moms group that is held at a Baptist church. I like the social atmosphere of the mom’s group, but kind of tune out when they talk about giving your life over to God/Jesus. They don’t preach all that often, but when they do, I listen to their words and substitute “me” for “Jesus”. No I don’t have a god-complex, but I like you, believe that my strength and faith comes from within, not from another person – as amazing as that person is/was.

    However, many Christians I know walk the walk – and I think that’s awesome. However, we must all walk our own walk and listen to the voice that comes from inside – for that is TRULY the voice of God.

    Happy travels my friends, (and Jason, happy belated – I was thinking of you yesterday – wondering how you had elected to celebrate your day).