Two Hands.

by

Hold out two hands.  This was an act that our professor encouraged us to do many times during our time in Morocco. It was a way for us to balance the horrific happenings of history that we were learning about with hope for a brighter future. This simple gesture has helped me understand reconciliation on a deeper level.  Attending a small Christian University whose mission statement proclaims “Engage the Culture, Change the World” reconciliation is a word that I seem to hear a lot. I have been in a plethora of Theology classes and have read books on the power and importance of reconciliation.  I knew as Christians we are called to reconcile, yet I never felt like I actually practiced it until my time in Morocco.

There were two main instances over the course of my trip in which I could actually feel reconciliation. The first was at the Imams house, who is a religious leader for Islam. We were able to sit down with him and a few other Muslims to have an open discussion. This was a time where we as Christian Americans could come and hold out our previous misconceptions and stereotypes and seek to hear the truth of Islam from the mouth of a reliable source.

The second instance in which I was able to feel reconciliation was at my friend Meryeme’s house, where three of my classmates and I were lucky enough to share dinner with her family. This was another instance in which we were able to have open and free conversations on what we think of Islam and what they thought of Americans. At the end each group had cleared up so much garbage and lies that we thought was the truth. They were relieved that not all Americans acted and reflected what they saw in Hollywood films. The whole family encouraged us that the small groups of Islamic extremists do not portray correctly Islam or the teaching of the Quran.

Both times I was able to come with two outstretched hands. One hand was full of things I wanted to share with them. The other hand was completely empty, ready to receive new perspectives and knowledge. This was a beautiful thing for me. It allowed me to learn so much and stretch my perspectives even farther. Far too often I believe we come with our fists clenched of all the things we know. We end up wagging our fists at others trying to force our beliefs and knowledge on to others. To me, that is not true reconciliation. When life is handled in such a manner as that an entire realm of beauty, peace and true reconciliation is easily missed.

Our new Moroccan friends.
(The man at the front desk did not want to stand up)

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