Saturday, September 13, 2008

And I Began to Speak in other tongue

94 Sherman Street
9/11/2008 11:48 PM

My study had finally began.
The first class was a little “O My God”.
Not just because, we are required to read up to 9 books but also the depth of content in the course that I fear I might fall behind.
See.. it involves theology interpretation of the bible etc. A concept I’m so foreign to it.
I am a Christian but never really have theology background.

Half way through the class I was intimidated by the other student in the class whom seem so bright, knowingly and expert on the field. While I find myself sitting there, kept saying to myself… “Uh-Oh… What did he says again? Who’s that person he mention?”.
Ooooh It’s funny when I think back to that second.
I mean… clearly I do not speak their language. How can I cope with that?

Then my lecturer gave 10 minutes break. I rushed to the student lounged.
Am I running away?
Am I so frightened?

A glass of cold water refreshed my dull mind

I am intimidated
But not by others or by the course … (well, maybe a little bit)
But by ME
I intimidate myself
I let myself to think that I cannot.
Who says I cannot? I just have to work a little harder

I marched back to the room with a brand new thought
Clearly I do not speak their language
But this course will enable and prepared me for a 1 year journey here at Hartford Seminary

And yes… I began to speak in other tongue

PS. Thanks Jacky

A Place I can Call Home

94 Sherman Street

The leaves of the Oak Trees in front of the main building of my campus has started to turn yellow, red and brown and then they fell to the ground. They say Fall is coming. It is also marked with the temperature drop and chilly wind. Something totally new from where I came from. I was indeed lucky to taste a little bit of scorching summer heat which left a good tan marked on my skin.

So here I am.. in America
I’m loving this new place
The people… the surrounding… the feeling … the sound

Who would have thought that a little girl dream of going to America is finally come true after quarter century of her life. The story she heard from her father about America and the thing she saw on TV. The people, the weather, the food, the roads, the technology. Now she’s experiencing it but in a totally different way. Her own way.

Before coming here, I imagine a big city with skyscrapers, hectic traffic, and people rushed about everywhere not caring who you are. I found things different here.
Green all around me… we have traffic but not as I imagine it is…
I found smiling faces around me… really care who you are.

Then I thought… God actually knows what I need better.

I arrived very very tired at JFK and found 3 big smiling faces.
Jacky, Nick and Virginia… Thank you for being there…

Then the driving… I know all of them must have been tired.
But thank you for making the trip comfortable.

I found a welcome note from my housemates…
Heartwarming welcome… from a friend I just haven’t met
And they are more than friends.. they;re family

Then everything just fall right in to place.
No rush… just flowing.
This morning, I sat in front of my window watching the squirrel plays
And the trees talk to each other.
And I think …

I can call this place …Home

Monday, August 18, 2008

Getting closer to the departure Time

Of all the things in the world, why must people fight because of GOD? If GOD should be the most Mercyful and Most gracious… the Love and The Live. Why must we show no mercy to others, why must we hate instead of love why must we killed?

I remember our Interfaith Maluku uniform, the black T-shirt with a bold white letters said “GOD, What is Your religion?”. Wearing the T-Shirt back in that first time, was with a twinge of hesitation. It’s quite a provoking letters we have there across our chest. Then as I walk along the work in Interfaith and flirt with conflict in Ambon. The words rang so true.

Each of the religious group possess certain arrogancy that they “way” is the right path to God. That they are defending GOD. Why defending GOD? GOD is capable of defending Himself. (I guess I heard this sentence from someone too).

My bestfriend (my boss but he hated to be called that), once wrote a poem about the young combatants in conflict which then I translated it, with the title “When God is Weak”. For me that was the most profound poem I ever read and it touched me so. Yes, Is there a time when GOD is weak? If He is weak, He cannot be GOD. Or is it just us who personifies ourself as the little god? Miniature god who can take the lifes out of others, who can judge others as pagans and we’re the saint ways.

GOD does exist and HIS presence is so overwhelming and so true. Am not talking about religion. Am talking about GOD. Don’t get me wrong, Am not against religions. I’m proud to be called a Christian. Not because it is one of the major religions in the world but because of my GOD. My Jesus. My saviour.

Why can’t people just forget about this and that of religion as institution and started seeking GOD.

What about start seeking for the destination instead of fighting and killing over insisting others what we think is the right path to the destination.

Many roads leads to Rome, right? People said this things. Can this be count in religion? It’s not that simple you said?

I said it is that simple. Unless you wanted to achive “other” goals and start utilizing hate through religion.

I’m getting closer to my departire to my study nest. Uncle Sam’s Home. And again many road leads to rome. I can choose from whichever airlines and routes I prefer and still I get to Hartford. I can take advices from people about how to get there. But in the end I am the one who make the decision. I am the one who pay my ticket fare. That’s my rights to choose and to believe that what I choose is right. Nobody should kill me and despise me because I choose a different airlines and different routes to get to US.

Would that be the same as religion as the path to GOD?

Studying Islam

Here I am… For 2 weeks I have been reading books and articles about Islam, answering question on why I want to study Islam, facing shock and disbelief faces of people when I told them am going to study Islam and respond reassuringly to those who warn me not to convert. Why is it so weird for them to hear me studying Islam? Is it because I’m a Christian?

These 2 weeks I hear myself answering those question as honest as I can be. I am not just trying to honest to them but also to myself. This is a challenging road I have chosen to take.

I am awarded with scholarship at one of prominent university in US to take up Islamic Studies and Moslem-Christian relation. I’m getting myself ready to a new endeavor on Islam and also America, the land I have never set foot on, until yet 2 months from now.

This area of study was suggested by my best mentor (he hated to be called boss), who was also studying at the university. He had literally coached me on many different aspect of my life long learning. When I first join Maluku Interfaith Institution. I felt I have so very nothing, I was scared and didn’t even trust myself. I suppose he gave me all the stepping stone I need plus giving me a great kick on the butt every time I let myself being defeated by me.

Anyway, When he first suggested I absentmindedly jot it down my application form. Part because I think I won’t be accepted anyway. Little did I know that, GOD has a road ready for me, the road I have always fear to thread.

Long after that, through some struggling with financial requirement and battling my already giving-up self. Then I received the news telling me I got the scholarship. I was so overjoyed I jumped in glee only to realize that I have just finish my shower and was only wrapped in towel. I stopped jumping but could not stop myself from giggling and smiling.

Then after the euphoria ended.. realization washed over me. I’M GOING TO STUDY ISLAM?

Well, it’s not that I don’t wanted but it felt weird. Some memories of the past conflict play on my memory slides. Different negative images and stereotypes and remarks shouted themselves from my negativity shell I have locked some time ago.

Am I to blame for this? Is this the right reaction of someone who called herself peace worker and interfaith worker? For God sake, Helena, you must be objective, My brain shouted at me.

Then I think again. This is normal. I believe this is GOD’s will for me to study this subject. This will complete my healing from the trauma during the conflict. I have considered myself healed. I have even helped people overcome the pain of conflict. But I must confess, These silent prejudices I inherit from previous generation and worsen by conflict are not over. They lie there in that negativity shell ready to explode.

If i wanted to complete my healing, I must find the answer to these questions in my head. I must able to see them beyond killer and hypocrite people.

I’m being honest. I’m learning. I’m walking to crossover.