Today, I found a journal entry of mine written years ago recounting my personal happenings on that tragic morning: 9-11. Living in Arlington, TX at the time, I was headed to my weekly ladies’ Bible study when I saw the event unfold on the Today Show. I sat stunned and glued to the TV until my close friend and across-the-street neighbor, Salwa, called me devastated and insisted I come over right away and be with her.
For hours we sat, talked & watched in disbelief the horrific images via foreign news coverage on her satellite TV. People crying and dazed in New York juxtaposed to those cheering and celebrating in Palestinian nations, Egypt and such. When the bombing occurred, she had immediately known in her heart who was behind such a heinous act and was fearful; very fearful of retaliation and unfair judgment against her people as a whole. See, my friend is Arab—more specifically a Palestinian Christian, born and raised in Jerusalem.
Over the years of knowing Salwa, I can attest she has more love and respect in her heart for me and ALL mankind than many (I say many, not all) American Christians; those upholding divisive biblical principles. Principles that lead to…”Chosen people” being praised for killing those invading “their” stretch of land; “non-chosen” people pegged as vicious animals and terrorists for doing the exact same thing. Saved people, blessed with that coveted after-life spot reserved for them, looking down their noses at unchurched heathens who will not “get in.” Scarlet letters for the so-called fornicators living in sin, shacking up without a marriage license, while those married Christians judging them are committing adultery left and right. The list goes on.
I’ve lived my entire life as a Christian and PK (preacher’s kid). As an adult, I’ve worshipped under a half dozen different religious denominations. So I say those things from fact, not hyperbole. These days, I still enjoy a healthy, spiritual relationship with God as my guide and inspiration for all things and Source of my very breath. I question tradition.
I miss my friend Salwa, who lives back in Jerusalem now. I miss our afternoons chatting over tea and cookies as stay-at-home moms. I know our relationship strengthened that day as we sat together witnessing hatred on a major scale due to fundamental differences. I regret the times I regurgitated scriptures to her in our few debates over the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Ugh! (I’ve tainted a few other relationships back in the day with that same brow-beating-with-the-Bible tactic. That was so wrong on so many levels!) These days, I simply respect someone else’s viewpoint as important to them as mine is to me. Period! That doesn’t mean I won’t question it if it’s far out there; nonetheless, I’ll respect it.
People like Salwa show us that when we just look at others from the inside out and love unconditionally, we realize we are ALL more alike than different. I salute her. Hope to make it overseas to visit her soon. We’re long overdue for afternoon tea.
Your Friendly Ghostwriter,