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I never particularly liked the Beatles. Well, that is not true. I did LOVE ‘Yellow Submarine’ when I was a kid. I had one of those baby record players with the plastic indestructible records, I only had 3 and one of them was ‘Yellow Submarine’. I played it maybe a 10 thousand times…..

Today I was looking for symbols of peace to post on our Flying Carpet Facebook. If you did not know both my husband and I are Muslims, and I am really feeling ashamed, vulnerable, sad and helpless with all the shit going down in the world. I wanted to post something that would reflect our allegiance with all humanity. I *really* want to put a star of David on the rooftop of The Flying Carpet, a Crucifix at the order window…I want to shout from the roof tops that we are NOT terrorists, we do not sympathize with their ideologies nor do we accept the tenants of their politics……but that is not realistic. So here I am searching Google images of ‘Peace’ and what up comes is a  picture of John Lennon. I fell to pieces when I saw it….sobbing really. How long had I denied you John? How long had I dismissed your lyrics as naïve and irrelevant? I remember when I actually listened to 'Imagine' the song. I was in my teens driving with a friends; as soon as the song came on the car went quiet and the volume was turned up. I listened unaffected. I thought the melody was nice but the lyrics! This guy has smoked too much weed, had too much money and has lost God in his assent to fame and wealth…..I thought to myself.

Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s made me insecure. My parents had left the Catholic Church and we now went to Unity Church that ‘hugged’ as a part of the ceremony (can you imagine hugging strangers!), self-help books, and a few crystals started to lay around the house. I was sent to meditation classes. My mother discovered she maybe of Jewish ancestry and was fervently reading everything she could about it. For a girl who grew up going to Catholic school this was a hard pill to swallow. Most of my friends parents we getting divorced and at some point I heard of a ‘key party’ happening in Barton Hills. We were latch key kids and spent most of our time at home alone. In my child’s mind I determined that all things New Age (including John Lennon, Feminists, and Crystal Lovers) were a threat to my intact family home. I quit going to Unity church with the folks and headed back to the quiet ritual and familiar rhythm of Mass. What can I say? Kids need consistency and Jesus is awesome.

Now I am about to turn 45. I am married to a Moroccan Muslim Man. An incredible man, so full of love it brims out of him like a fountain. We have a son just as sweet. I converted to Islam about 14 years ago. I took my shahada (conversion ceremony) without Abdu’s knowledge. I practiced Islam moderately for about 11-12 years. Last year I decided (for my own personal self) that I no longer wanted to be any one religion. That my religion was LOVE. I did not like the divisions religion created. I decided I loved all the prophets and all the people who followed them. I still identify culturally as a Muslim. If I am going to pray I prefer to pray with Muslims although I can fellowship with people of ANY faith and do regularly. I am at home in a Mosque and find Muslims to be incredible welcoming and kind people. I know I am a ‘out there’ kind of Muslim….but guess what? I was an ‘out there’ kind of Catholic…..I believe we ALL have a place at the table of God…..and I always have. I remember as a child gardening with my mother. Putting my hands in the earth, it was summer and dirt was warm, there were worms in it; I could feel the buzz of insects flying around me and sweat dripped from my head. I laid down on belly so I could ‘feel’ the earth below me, I heard the heart beat of the world that day. I blinked my eyes and let the soil stick to the side of my face as I watched my beautiful mother plant rows of pink flowers. That was the day God made him/herself known to me. Even then I knew she/he was too much to contain in any one book or human mind, and so I accepted him like this, in the dirt, with the hum of bees and the whisper of wings.

Here I am now looking at a picture of John Lennon FINALLY realizing that ‘Imagine’ was not trivial or naïve. This Godless song was in truth, God’s song.

So from my family to yours:

We love you….whatever you believe in….whatever color you are….wherever you came from, whoever you choose to love, and however you celebrate life.

Here’s to you John wherever you are; I got the message and thank you.

IMAGINE

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

 

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