A [very] Good Day

I checked my email around 7:30 this morning, and I had a message that my friend, Mary Bliss, had forwarded from another friend, Pat, that CAIR Oklahoma (Council on American-Islamic Relations) was hosting the first annual Solidarity and Peace Rally at 10 AM. I knew instantly that I wanted to attend, and I actually had a few minutes to figure out how we would make it work in our busy morning because the girls were still asleep - yes, a miracle occurred at our house.

I knew that I wanted to go because of an interfaith meeting I was able to attend at our church building in Hyde Park [Chicago] a few years ago. There were representatives from two Christian churches (Catholic and Mormon), a synagogue, the Islamic community, and I feel like I'm remembering a Unitarian. The topic for the discussion was, "What has been the biggest change in your religion/denomination in the last 30 years?"

The Islamic woman who was there was a student at UChicago, and what she said touched me deeply. She was in 8th grade when 9/11 happened, and she told of how the events of that day as well as what followed affected her and her faith community. Before we knew who was responsible, she said to herself, "I hope they aren't Muslim." The backlash was horrible. Her words were both heartbreaking and healing. She strengthened my resolve to not be afraid of the unknown. In my life as a Christian, I believe that we all come from the same God, that we are all spiritual brothers and sisters, and I wanted to lose the fear of those who thought, believed, prayed, lived, gathered [you name it] differently than me. There will always be those people in any group. The ones that cause devastation and fear, but they are not the whole.

The real whole doesn't have parts. The real whole is you and me, and everybody, despite the path we choose to navigate this great big blob of humanity.

So in-between Magnolia's dance lesson at 9, and Cora's dance lesson at 11, we went to the peace rally at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. We walked around the perimeter of the grounds and then listened to people from various local organizations give a message relating to the theme of the rally: "Moving Beyond Coexistence."

I love that idea. How can we get beyond a life of simply existing with one another ["tolerating" one another], to loving and building and growing from one another? What could we do and be if we listened to one another, and thrived off the uniqueness and respected the pieces of truth we can all bring to the table?

Jake left right after the walk to take Cora to her lesson. Magnolia was going to stay with me, but decided that she must be with Cora, so I caught up with Jake and handed her over and went back to listen to the messages. When it was over, I stuck around for a few minutes and then made my way on foot to the library.

On my way, I passed firefighters from all over the state [and I believe a few surrounding states] who were participating in the 9/11 stair climb. Most were finishing the 110 story climb and changing out of their full gear when I walked by. That, too, was emotional, and I was glad I was wearing sunglasses because those emotions certainly got the best of me. I loved that I'd just come from the rally to this event.

When I got to the library, I read a few books on architecture, and when I thought it was about the right time, I headed for the art museum [gotta love Bank of America free days on the first full weekend of each month]. The timing was perfect because Jake and the girls drive by when I was right across the street from the OKCMOA. We decided to eat our prepared lunch in the break room rather than outside because today was hot. The girls were so good. We wandered through the exhibits, one of which contained interactive cubist puppets. The scale and design of the puppets was amazing. Another exhibit was "Of Heaven and Earth," which is a collection of Italian paintings from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. My favorites were the depictions of Mary, Jesus, and Saint Anne.

We came home and had a early-ish dinner. The girls took baths and went to bed. I read through a paper Jake is working on (it's shaping up to be one of my favorites). And now here I am, up a little too late, sharing the events of this day that I think was a great one. When I was walking to the library, I thought that I could live in the tiniest of houses if I had several uplifting, inspiring places to go each week - live out in the world rather than inside walls.

I know, I know. Here's what you've all been waiting for. Magnolia after her very first dance lesson. Watching her dance this morning was the cherry on top of this wonderful day.


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