Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is It Prayer?

Close your eyes and imagine him praying. The room is luxurious, yet simple. Plush latte-colored carpet rests atop thick padding to warm and insulate his sacred place. Woven artwork drapes the walls and matches the robe that wraps his body.

Diffused light glows from recessed, fa├žade windows placed high on the walls, but whether the light is natural or artificial is indiscernible.

As he quietly and reverently speaks his consecrated words, he gently rocks back and forth over his knees on a meditation pillow. His focus is intent. Only an occasional presence and barely audible footsteps are heard outside the room.

A bird flying over the prayerful man’s anointed space chirps and swoops to capture his breakfast fare, then another that he dutifully carries to his brimming nest. Farther away, donkeys haul their burdens down a mountain, and men speak loudly as they travel.

Miles off in the distance through the cool, crisp air, screams can be heard—first that of a woman, then one from a child, followed by silence.

Still farther away bombs can be heard, shaking the earth like a quake. Missiles whistle through the air at lightning speed before making their resounding impact. Groans and cries from old men fill the air like thick smoke.

Thunderous noises envelop vast areas from range to mountain, earth to sky. All that once lived quietly dies. Animals cannot comprehend. Babies are terrified, a feeling that will not leave them in this lifetime—perhaps not the next.

While the holy one prays, he receives the death and destruction for which he asks. For all those who do not follow his beliefs as their own, he will destroy.

But first he will instill fear. Women to fear men. Children to fear their fathers. Former followers to fear rebellion. Christian to fear Muslim.

Fear will separate us, isolate us from each other. It is his hope. When we fear, we are suspicious, we react, we decide poorly, we destroy each other. He hopes we will do the destroying for him, so he won’t have to. He will stay home and have more babies with all his wives, all of whom will be as safe as he will allow.

If I were a Muslim, I would start a peaceful rebellion with all other decent Muslims and work together to cease the insane, destructive behavior of those giving our religion a bad name.

And so it is.

The idea for this story came from listening to Dina Temple-Raston’s story March 10, 2011, at

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