It starts with an unexpected smolder. It won’t matter if the time is right or even available. It won’t be ignored. I call these clear impulses, embers, seeded in our heart by the Beloved. Sometimes they call for individual action. Other times, it takes a village. Graciously, this is one of those other times. The story, now just unfolding, is reported below…enjoy!
Early in December our Tree of Life Interfaith Temple board gathered for a meeting. One of our treasured members, Ilona Kwiecien, gave us an amazing talk of her experience at the Parliament of World Religions. Thank you Ilona! Stay tuned for a special presentation to come! At one point, she was conveying suggestions the Parliament had given for action and one of those was to hold a Peace Walk. When she said those two words, I felt a clear bolt of Yes! I had been feeling growing concern at the increasing amount of polarizing political rhetoric and, somehow, this felt instantly like it could galvanize a response to right action. Just a few days earlier, I had sent out an invitation to my professor of Islamic studies at Andover Newton Theological School, Celene Ibrahim, to come and speak at our next Community Retreat Day. As I drove home, I remember feeling a smoldering – that familiar stay tuned…something bigger is ready to take form here….
The next morning I was coming out of my practice when I felt a clear impulse. Really? Today? I am SO busy! School work due. Christmas right around the corner! Today? My mind protested! I was so enjoying just basking in the lights on the tree and around our living room. But, I knew I’d been given an assignment and I’d learned long ago not to hesitate. So, upstairs I went to write what would be the article I would send to the Nashua Telegraph and Union Leader: A Call to Action to Religious and Political Leaders. I had absolutely no idea it would be published as a Guest Commentary in the December 13th Sunday paper – right next to the only other Guest Commentary by Jeb Bush. Thank you editor of the Telegraph! Meanwhile, Professor Ibrahim had, excitedly, agreed to come. Thank you Professor Ibrahim!
The day after the Telegraph publication, my longtime interfaith colleague, Don Alusic, of the First Church of Christ Scientists in Milford, emailed me to ask if he could forward the article to others he knew involved in interfaith work. Sure! Thank you Don! Well, within just a few days, I was in touch with a growing number of people connected with the Manchester, Concord, Nashua and New London interfaith councils with whom I have shared both the January 24th talk with Professor Ibrahim as well as our idea for the Peace Walk. And, a representative from Rep. Kuster’s office called to get more information in advance of a meeting. Thank you Aseeb Niazi!
But, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was sharing the idea for the Peace Walk in my spiritual studies class and our Barbara Landry said, Why not a ‘national’ Peace Walk? Thank you Barbara! This amazing comment led me to forward the article to the three national organizations to which I belong as a way to hopefully introduce the idea of the Peace Walk. I now have a Skype meeting with the Chairperson of the Board of A World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy, Rev. Frances Bagdasarian. Thank you in advance Rev. Bagdasarian!
I am always left with such a simple yet overflowing, indescribable, heart explosion of amazing, grace-filled, gratitude when I sense being caught up in that which I could have known not – ie: did not see coming. Yet, of course, it all makes perfect sense even as the baffled mind composes Hallelujah – to reference a popular song.
And, it does take a village!! Each unchecked soul’s impulse, contribution, is needed to complete what is already conceived in the Beloved’s Soul – now seeking manifestation. This amazing vision of both cultivating and expressing interfaith solidarity beyond our local community is inviting all of us to participate in the ways most expressive of each individual’s soul impulse. We have been given this amazing assignment to bring forth the melody of the Beloved’s Song for our time. We are uniquely poised, qualified and experienced. Mostly, we know, tendering and deeply, the Love from which the Song of the Beloved is sung.
Look for opportunities to contribute coming in the near future – whether you are reading this near or far! Perhaps, just perhaps, you too will feel your heart set afire!!
4 responses to “Breaking News – A Heart on Fire!”
Dear Stephanie, I have recently been thinking along the same lines that you mentioned in your blog–a peace gathering or walk encompassing all who wish to participate. I was thinking only of the communities around Milford, but with your wider connections, I see it could expand to the wider even international community. What a truly deep message such a walk could send into our needy world. Thank you!
Dear Alice, it is so very good to hear from you! I would love to see you and have you participate in any way your heart may desire. Let me know via the contact info on my website if you’d like to be included in future emails about either our Jan 24th event with Celene Ibrahim and/or the Peace Walk…All the best and I’ll look forward to seeing you one day soon!
Your spark sets me ablaze! I have often imagined our community, not only unto itself, but reaching out to be that Living Bridge overarching the individual chasms to unite the common threads of our humanity. (I wonder if my 8 foot dove is still marchable? She has weathered many a winter out of doors. Perhaps it is time to create anew!) Like Alice, I am sure there are many holding peace in their hearts!
And how wonderful to hear YOUR spark Ahjan!!! We are blessed to have you walk with us in all ways in our community…may we set ablaze the vision of collaboration and peace near and far!!!