Thursday, July 01, 2010

26 Minute Friendship

[At Seattle Airport]

Bonnie has this amazing ability to make friends with people on airplanes. On the 26 minute flight from Vancouver to Seattle she had such an intimate conversation with the Pakistani woman sitting next to her that they exchanged phone numbers on landing in Seattle and the woman was earnestly inviting Bonnie to visit her home in Surrey. The Moslem woman kept talking about what the Koran says about Mary (that She was raised in the Temple and that God miraculously enabled her to give birth as a Virgin). When we crossed ourselves on takeoff and landing, she lifted her eyes and quietly said a small prayer. When the conversation drifted to airport screening and safety, she stressed that Allah does not like it when men kill each other. Twice she said to me—clearly and looking at me directly—“May God bless you and grant you a long life.”

As Bonnie was talking to her I thought about how crazy the world is. Here is a Moslem women who prays openly, blesses publicly (I had helped her get her luggage into and out of the overhead compartment), and wants to show hospitality to strangers. Wouldn’t the world be a beautiful place if all Christians were as full of faith and kindness as this Moslem woman? On the Last Day, how will the Judgement be for those who believe a religion that preaches love, but themselves are too self-focused to love; and for those who believe a religion that allows for hate, yet themselves strive to love? It may be that believing the right (“Orthodox”) faith is not always an advantage, if the believer is more interested in being right than in being holy, generous and kind.

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