Wednesday, April 05, 2006
  Two Roller Coasters
First...

I took my two middle girls snorkeling yesterday. The waves were quite rough and it felt like being on one of those shake-you-up rides at the state fair. It was worth it though -- we saw schools of fish nibbling away at underwater plants, valleys filled with orb-leafed sea plants, and ridges of barnacle covered rocks. Little, yellow striped fish and round ones with a spot on the tail. The girls were enthralled. Naturally. The appreciation of beauty is an awe-inspiring thing. I don't mean appreciating something beautiful inspires me, rather the mere fact that humans can appreciate beauty, that we can look at trees and fish and waves, at clouds in the blue sky or lightning in a cloudy one, and see them as beautiful, and feel the connection to them. It sends shivers down my back and convinces me that the Creator loves beauty. In fact, the appreciation of beauty seems to me to be one of the best arguments for a Creator at all. Of course, there's a mundane explanation -- the endorphin high we feel in the presence of overwhelming beauty no doubt has survival benefit, but still, I like to think of humans and God as similar in that we both appreciate the loveliness of creation.

The other roller coaster... well, it wasn't so pleasant. While we were out snorkeling, someone broke the window of our rental car and stole my purse, including the usual credit cards, checkbook and driver's licence, but also the kids passports and mine, an antique pocket watch, Raheel Raza's book with her treasured inscription, my new cell phone (which is very expensive, but which I got at a really great price and simply could not afford to replace...). At first I thought I had also lost two rings, but it turned out they were in another bag, not my purse. Then, while we were at a local zoo (Lion Country Safari) we got a call from a local police station. Someone had turned in my purse. The credit cards were gone, and my driver's license, the watch and the book (somehow I can't imagine thieves reading Their Jihad... Not My Jihad, but if they do, all the power to them) but the passports and my cell phone were there. Whew! I'm sad to lose the watch, and about the inscribed book (I'm sure I can get a new one from Raheel), but I'm glad to get back my phone and all my coffee cards, gas station cards, library card, etc.

Noora, my baby who isn't really a baby any more, was quite upset at the incident. And it struck me how the somewhat blase attitudes of us adult -- cest la vie -- shows how far evil impinges upon our daily life. Petty theft is a violation of our space, our possessions, and by extension our selves. And yet we shrugged it off. Noora was, justifiably, unhappy and mystified. Why did they do this? All I could offer was that they were people who didn't understand right and wrong properly. In retrospect, I could have told her that maybe they didn't have enough to eat or couldn't get a job. That I didn't think of that at the moment certainly says something about how we are socialized to think about crime and criminals -- they are bad people, rather than they are desperate people.
 
Comments:
I love snorkeling -and have had the same feelings you had in a natural setting. As usual, you say in this blog what others (like myself) think but can't figure out how to articulate.
And sorry about the theft - what a horrible event on your vacation!
 
Pamela,

I hate to hear about the theft. Poor Noora, I can only imagine her expressions and trying to understand. I am glad you got at least part of your stuff back.
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


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Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

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English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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