My family attended a “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors” open house this weekend in Denver. Evidently, over 700 people did, according to an article written for The Denver Post.
We had to drive about 20 miles to get there. I’ve whined before about how there is very little diversity in our Denver suburb, because 1) suburb, 2) Denver, and 3) I haven’t looked that hard.
According to Wikipedia, here’s a demographic breakdown of my neighborhood:
As of 2010, the racial makeup of the city was 89.08% White, 0.9% African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.5% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.7% of the population.
Anyway, in trying to make an effort to learn about others, attending this open house seemed (and was) a really wonderful idea. If diversity doesn’t show up much in your neck of the woods, seek it out. Educate yourself. Educate your kids.
The presentation was lovely and super informative. Also, the people who hosted the event were so attentive to everyone’s needs. They came across as overwhelmingly humbled and grateful for the massive crowd that showed up at their doorstep.
Once inside, we situated ourselves in the packed room. We quietly sat in a corner, listening to a woman talk about the history of Islam. While sharing the similarities of the Abrahamic faiths, my daughter leaned over to me and goes, “Wait. We’re not Christian, are we?”
Insert note to self about talking to my daughter more about religion, spirituality, humanism, etc.
And we’re not, really. I could get all philosophical, in that I’m as Christian as I am Muslim as I am Sikh as I am Jewish. There’s truth in all religion, in my opinion.
There’s also humor in all religion, because, you know, we are human. With the confession I share below, I mean ZERO disrespect. I just think there are times when occasionally we have thoughts we think no one else has, and so we share them in order to reassure others we’re all occasionally ridiculous.
Just as a reminder: my whole family learned a lot. I was honored to be among so many people seeking to bring our city together safely and with love.
That being said…
While observing the men in prayer, sitting there on the carpet in sacred silence, it crossed my mind how horrible it would be to pray as they do and have bad gas.
My inner 12-year old just galloped into my brain, said “fart,” and ran back out.
(Upon reflection now, I suppose there’s never a good time to have bad gas while praying. For instance, I just imagined a Buddhist monk farting. Or a Catholic nun. )
And then, because karma has the best sense of humor, I suddenly got gassy. I actually had to focus all my attention on waiting until the prayer had ended, getting up off the floor, and carefully tiptoeing through a ton of people while hoping with all hope I wasn’t going to fart on someone’s head. Fortunately, it didn’t happen. Well, I mean, it eventually happened, but not there. You know what I mean.
I have no idea what the moral of this story is. I guess it’s this: Even when you go for over two weeks without writing, you can get the courage to log back into your account and write about something — ANYTHING — even if you mean to speak to the bigger ideas of community and compassion and wind up talking about farts.