Published July 17th, 2015
Today is Eid, Eid al-Fitr, the holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan -- the month-long sunrise to sunset fast practiced by Muslims worldwide. I really enjoyed Eid when I was living in Tanzania. Most businesses were closed, even those owned by non-Muslims. It was a day to cook, eat, visit with family and friends and enjoy life. A massive celebration. Even though I do not fast during Ramadan, having been raised in the Catholic faith, I do fast from time to time, more for health and spiritual reasons. And, I know, it ain't easy. I completely understand how challenging it is to fast, especially during the hot days of summer, when a glass of water would be most welcome.
So, when that sliver of the new moon is sighted and Ramadan comes to an end, you can feel the collective relief and joy of celebration, especially if you are living in a place where many people are practicing around you.
Now, what about the fact that a big part of this world is becoming more and more like the United States...in terms of being a 'melting pot' of peoples from all over the world...coming from many different cultures, religious faiths, and belief systems? How do we feel the collective vibe of celebration of holidays and events without it being watered down by too many other things going on?
These seem to be some of the most important questions in this present global society we are living in...
How do we maintain meaning, joy and celebration with our "tribe" while living in harmony with other tribes at the same time???
I don't know the answers, but when I asked Vine Pergola this morning, a stone pillar gave one response. The pillar was beautiful stacked with small stones, each with its own color, shape and in varying sizes. Somehow all stones were working together, actually supporting each other, while maintaining each of their own individual integrity. In fact, if you pulled a stone out, the whole structure would be compromised.
I immediately thought of our global society, and actually think that 'melting pot' is a poor description of what healthy and happy societies should aspire to. When people and their cultural practices melt together, they lose their original essences. Yes, we are all one in the end, but it is our unique differences that keep us all alive and kicking. Plus, if something came and heated up those stones in the pillar of the Pergola into one concrete block, it wouldn't be half as beautiful as it is now. (See photo on right) And there would be no spaces if the pillar was a concrete block. We need space, otherwise, how do we recognize and honor our specialness?
I know we have a long way to go as a global society to find a way to maintain and even strengthen our diversity of languages, foods, traditions, and beliefs while living in harmony with each other. The thing is, we can't stop the flow now. Best we sort out the lifestyle each of us needs to stay healthy and connected to our loved ones while honoring those around us who are all trying to sort out the same.
This afternoon I will go someplace on the sea in Miami and celebrate Eid like I did in Tanzania. I want to wish all my Muslim friends around the world Eid Mubārak! Have a Blessed Eid.
And God Bless Our Global Society