Seeing Faith, When It’s Invisible

This blog post will be more vague than most. Let’s be honest this is a longer conversation that what I can write in the waiting room of Mikail’s doctors appointment this bright and early Friday morning.

Faith is a big deal in our relationship, as you can imagine with Jonathan’s career based in a faith community. I come from somewhat of an in the middle of conservative and liberal Muslim family. What does that look like? Growing up…Sneaking out of the house after bedtime and changing clothes in the car on the way to a party I should have never been at in the first place 🤪 Also being an immigrant my parents toggled between balancing culture shock, values and traditions from our culture and maintaining their faith in a totally new environment. No complaints about how I was raised in my faith. I always knew right from wrong; even when I chose to ignore it and I knew that my purpose was beyond only living my life for me but to impact others around me.

Jonathan is what they call a “cradle Catholic.” You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to use that lingo. He was born and raised Catholic. Church on Sundays, Confirmation, Communion, Easter egg hunts and waiting for St. Nick by the fireplace, the whole shabang! At one point of his life he found himself looking to possibly lead in the church. (Phew… close call. We almost would’ve could’ve never been… JK 😆) In all seriousness though, today, I can proudly say he is a very significant part of his faith community and impacts quite a few lives daily.

Marriage can be a funky concept where you take two people from completely different backgrounds, upbringings, cultures, families and perspectives in the world and merge them together and hope for the best. I suppose we both could have found partners similar to ourselves and eased those hurdles but that would be too easy right? 🤣

Between the two of us we have different families, skin tones, ethnicities, experiences and much more. It honestly makes our relationship very, and I mean very complex. These differences really call us to truly put ourselves in each other’s shoes. Not just the “my wife cooks and cleans after work, I should probably take out the trash,” or “my husband worked all week tirelessly and did the laundry I can run and do the groceries,” kind. Like truly immersing ourselves into each other’s vision of the world. It is practically impossible to be a partner in a relationship if you are not willing to walk the walk of the person you love. Our relationship means toggling between different ideas and values and finding what fits our family best.

Faith is different for everyone. We recognize that sometimes faith is believing in God. Sometimes it is believing in yourself and other people. Sometimes faith is simply hope. We do believe that faith is a pretty fundamental factor in life; in whatever way, shape or form you choose.

When it comes to faith I think the most important perspective we have gained is respect. We have both taken time, energy and heart to learn about each other. Through respecting the values we come from and the values we want to uphold in our family we have to agree on every. Single. One. If it doesn’t sit right with either of us it simply doesn’t make the cut.

We’re not in the business of proselytizing anyone because well…that’s unnecessary, but we believe that finding purpose in ourselves and the people around us help us believe in our faith. That has been the underlying factor of our faith and what has become the foundation of our life together. Faith is such a personal journey and experience. I could be 100% wrong but to me your faith should mold your decisions when it comes to how you raise your children, how you view the world, and expressing those views, your stance on social justice issues, the politics you converse about and just about everything in between.

Our faith in this very moment calls us to be forgiving, kind, understanding, compassionate, and loving to all the people we find so hard to love. Forgiving those that don’t ask for forgiveness. Kind to those who we don’t feel deserve it. Understanding when you can barely find the middle ground. Compassionate even though you have no idea where the other person is or where they are coming from. And loving to people who don’t ask or don’t seem to want our love.

Funny how it is the hardest at home to do all of those things. To wake up every morning and choose to be the best person you can be to the people that surround you, the people you love the most and then to go out to the people that you don’t even know and do it all over again. Many times, and I mean MANY times I need a reminder of that. (Thankfully I have friends to CONSTANTLY remind me of that 😉)

Over the past three years the biggest lesson that I have been blessed to learn in my relationship is that faith is beyond sitting in the front pew of your home parish or letting your forehead hit the prayer mat five times a day. Faith is living the values you believe in, every day of your life even after you leave your place of religion. Faith is expressing and living all of which you hear in a homily, sermon for khutbah in your every action and word.

We are far from living our faith, everyday, but life is that journey for us. And speaking of that journey… I am also going to throw in a shameless plug since we are talking faith…

I AM BEYOND PROUD TO BE THE WIFE OF SUCH AN INSPIRATIONAL MAN.

This weekend Jonathan launches the second round of a program that he has helped in an immense way to bring to his faith community. Along with a group of amazing people who also believe in finding purpose and community; Renew will change so many lives.

I have seen this man put blood, sweat and tears into every aspect of this retreat. He saw a program that changed many lives being discontinued and refused to watch it go away. His faith in God, community and people is truly reflected in every page of these books. His vulnerability and honesty through this process is so admirable. His own breakthrough and rising through his current journey is the definition of what Renew is.

We are constantly striving to find joy and purpose in this world and this is what I have found to be one simple way to possibly find that.

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