"God had been present all along but I had never noticed. Perhaps I wasn’t looking, or perhaps I was looking in the wrong places. If I had been looking I would have looked to a great and powerful wind to tear the mountain and shatter the rocks, to the earthquake or to the fire…but instead, I needed to listen to the gentle whisper, the still small voice, the
Presence one encounters by diving deep and surfacing."
Laura Geller, “Encountering the Divine Presence”
1. Saw five wild turkeys on my run!
2. Going to print out a big countdown for the Boston Marathon 2014 and stick it in my room. Whether I qualify for the Tufts team or not, I reeeaaaalllyyy want to try.
Honestly, I just love setting crazy possible-not-possible goals for myself. I’ve never attempted to achieve a goal that’s purely physical before - actually, I don’t think I’ve ever really had a purely physical goal that I wanted to achieve. I guess at one point I really wanted to do the splits, and after about five months of P.E. Dance and a lot of ice skating practices, I was able to. But what I’ve noticed is that the more physically able and confident in my physical abilities that I am, the more confident I am in myself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Being outside is one of the ways that I feel Allah’s presence the strongest, and when I push my body I feel more - wind in my hair, gravel under my feet, occasional blisters, sweat on my face, the sun on my arms, burning muscles, pumping lungs - and it brings me closer to Allah. If fresh air and sunshine touch my skin, I just feel better. It’s all connected. Spiritual health and physical health are entwined for me, and they support and strengthen each other.
If all goes as planned, Megan, Anisha, and I will all have run the Boston Marathon in our senior years, one after another after another! So. 22 and a half months before Boston Marathon 2014. YEAH!
"Disturb us, O Lord when we are too well-pleased with ourselves when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, O Lord when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the water of life when, having fallen in love with time, we have ceased to dream of eternity and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim. Stir us, O Lord to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas where storms show Thy mastery, where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes and invited the brave to follow. Amen."
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu adapted from an original prayer by Sir Francis Drake. (via popmuslim)
I love this.
It reminds me of Friday afternoons in the Interfaith Center back at
home Tufts, when after having Jummah prayers in this gorgeous sunlit room upstairs, the girls would have a Women’s Circle with our chaplain, Naila, and make tea and have dessert and just talk. It felt so spiritual and so cleansing, after a long week of classes. There is just something about the way we mixed personal relationships with each other and talking about Islam that was just absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait for this to start again in the fall!
I wish I had written something about Spring Break in New Orleans sooner, but I suppose it’s better late than never, right? Here goes nothing…
Bus ride for 27 hours from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts to Gentilly Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.
What has struck me so far is the beauty of the light and landscape. I woke up somewhere in Tennessee on Saturday morning on the bus, and it was all light golden sun streaming through the cracks in blue-gray clouds, over the green, rolling landscape dotted with cows and farmhouses. Friday night at Wellesley was light yellow sun setting over the lake, reflected on the waves, carried through the air and tinging everything slightly yellow. Saturday evening was the most gorgeous Mississippi sunset - we watched this bright yellow disk sink slowly past the horizon, changing from white-yellow to golden to orange and red, a grapefruit-colored hazy glow and purple-y wisps of cloud around it. It sank slowly, behind the silhouettes of tall, thin trees. The sky began as a wash of naples yellow and light blue, slowly intensifying to orange-red. The glow from that one disk reflected on everyone’s faces in the bus, so we, too, were bathed in golden glory. - Journal entry from Saturday night (March 19)
We sang songs, accompanied by E’s guitar. We slept in various uncomfortable positions. We ate and laughed and talked and watched the Lord of the Rings until finally arriving in New Orleans at around 9:30 Saturday night. And that was only the beginning…
There is something about sharing a space and doing good work that brings people together. Somehow, while we stood in line to take showers and spun around on the merry-go-round and helped ourselves to garlic bread and covered ourselves in paint, trust took shape. Friendships were made. Stories were uncovered.
Doors were opened.
I think faith is a beautiful thing, no matter what form it is in. It does not matter what you believe, I still think that faith is beautiful. I loved hearing people talk about faith, and God, and spirituality, and their personal journeys. We have all come so far…and yet we all have so many questions to answer and obstacles and battles that we are fighting. I understood, in New Orleans, that none of us are ever alone.
The comprehension dawned on me as we spontaneously sang hallelujahs and hymns for hours on our last night in New Orleans, outside by the church playground. It came in the form of all of our voices, blending together; in the form of our hands, holding fast to each other; in the form of the music and the stars and the humid air that stuck to us and held us close in that moment. It did not matter if you were atheist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or still searching. We were singing Christian songs but I felt like I was not singing something wrong or different. I was singing with people who I loved, to God, who I love. I was singing to express my joy in His joy, my peace in this peace He gave us. I was singing and I was immersing myself in a different faith tradition, but it felt like we were all unified in mutual respect and understanding and love. Like we were all the same.
It happened while we were at our worksite, too - I specifically remember one afternoon, sunlight streaming in through the windows of the house we were working on, hot breezes being carried through the open door together with the noise of saws and chisels and chatter. I was up on a ladder, painting, when “Sweet Caroline” came on the radio and suddenly the entire house was full of music and laughter as everybody sang along to the chorus.
Good times never seemed so good
SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD!
The entire week was a refreshing reconnection with, well, life. Spirituality and faith, building with our hands, physically making someplace better for someone else - it was beautiful, it really was. I was touched by that experience and forever changed.