still don't know what it means to me.
(And I am affected by him...still.)
I am not Muslim and I don't know why I find it hard to say that I am Christian.
To be honest, I have never while growing up in the West had to declare my religious affiliation.
This, even though every religion and sect from Judaism to Jehovah's Witness and Bahai to Hinduism is represented in the Caribbean.
I think that maybe for me personally, having a religious identity was not as important to me as having a fulfilling spiritual experience.
As I have written before recently, Christianity does not quench my insatiable thirst for communion with a Higher Source- in which I believe with every fibre of my being.
If there is any guilt in me saying this, it is not in relation to my apostate tone. Rather, it is because my relationship to the one person whom I love and love beyond words was strengthened during their search for and as a result of their belief in Christianity and the Holy Trinity.
The person to whom I refer is my beloved sister.
We were not that much of a Church going family and when I was sent to Sunday School it kind of acted as a 'make time for mommy' opportunity and a tick on the checklist of the things to do during the week.
Furthermore, the distinctly communal feel of Church which annoyed the hell out me, made me even more wary of Christianity.
I always thought that if I have to die, as I have to live too i.e on my own, why then, do I need a Church and hundreds of congregants to connect to Source especially when these same congregants routinely complain about the inefficiency of the Priest or Pastor because he (or she) failed to deliver jokes during their sermon?
I am not joking.
Church had become a fashion show and I dare say an excuse for entertainment for those not wishing to dare the vulgarity of Saturday night entertainment in clubs and fetes.
And with that said, I honestly felt then that it was not meaningful- nor the experience either.
But back to my amazing sister who felt the same as I, but refusing to let the disappointments of this experienced Christianity deter her from having a personal relationship with God through Christ, bought books and researched Christianity.
Upon making profound findings, she would often engage me in hour long conversations. These moments with her I will treasure till the day I die and after.
There are no words that can convey the gravity of those shared illuminations except- meaning and respect. She gave so much meaning to my understanding of Christ, and for that I have such a deep and profound respect for her.
Like the personal relationship that I wanted so badly with God, this part of my relationship with my sister was the most intimate to the point where no one else knows... well except for you reading this.
Furthermore, because I flourished emotionally and spiritually as a result of my relationship with my sister, I found it natural to fall asleep talking to God about whatever was on my mind or heart that day, because she had made my understanding of God personable.
Despite the naturalness of it- the act of talking to and with God, it was nonetheless haphazard.
And here lies the crux of the matter. I felt that I 'used' my or 'had' a relationship with God for sheer convenience.
An "Only when I want you God!" kind of attitude. Was this what a personal relationship with God was supposed to be?
With that said, I guess comparing convenience in times of mundanity to times of crisis is not quite the same . You know those life moments in which we all cry for Source; it is no longer convenient but rather quite necessary.
To be honest though I can't say for certain how my relationship with God as a Christian, affected me during moments of crisis.
Again, honestly, I think that in these moments I relied on universal and the universally accepted concept of good prevailing over evil etc.
In other words, a direct correlation to any one religion and its precepts, did not help to comfort me during those times. Rather, the precepts that all religions hold, did.
And so once again, the relevance of Christianity as I had been exposed to: the Only Panacea to pain and turmoil was thus declared null and void.
So many times black people have depended on the 'blood of Jesus' to see them through moments of injustice and despair.
However, I had found that it was not That that had worked for me but rather, just a fierce belief in an altruistic, good over evil paradigm.
With these emotional and spiritual triumphs scored not as a result of being a Christian per se, I still longed for an understanding of a personal and intimate relationship with God that was not borne out of convenience, consequence or need.
And almost two years after starting a life in a strong Muslim culture, I am fascinated at how the personal aspect of a relationship to God is emphasised at every turn of life.
Not just Sundays...well Fridays.
Five times a day the Ezan sounds to call believers... and unbelievers to prayer- an act that though routine, is profoundly personal, as are all acts of prayer regardless of the religion, but is even more so because of its frequency.
In Christianity the act of prayer which can be done at any time without fuss and formality is still, in my mind, strongly correlated with need and convenience.
Whereas, as I understand it in Islam, there can be a need as in some kind of problem to address, but there can also be, just as relevant, a need to just talk to Him.
Again, you don't need to be Muslim to quell these needs, but it is the act of five times a day that keeps you in constant intimate contact with God.
Furthermore, the women who wear the veil are constant reminders that your worth and value as a woman is not to be determined by things of this world, it is in implicit and is to be protected and valued. And I greatly appreciate and respect that.
So, one week before Ramadan and I am already awaiting with excitement this very sacred time ahead even though every day in an Islamic world seems just that- sacred.
One week before #Ramadan and I... am affected by him still.
Who is he?
Next blog post.