Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Buddhist and A Mormon

A Buddhist and a Mormon walk into a bar…

Just kidding. I’m not gonna tell a joke. This is a serious post so if you don’t want your heart strings pulled I suggest you stop reading.

OH! GOOD! You’re still here.

Story time.

I made a new friend yesterday.

“I’m Buddhist,” she said. “I’ve been a spiritual dance teacher for over a decade. I have received permission to continue learning in India.”

We sat cross legged and eyeball to eyeball on the floor of a busy hallway and talked.

Something was off. I could FEEL it in my bones.

“I spend a great deal of time in meditation,” she said.

Ugh. I could NOT get over that SOMETHING was WRONG with this woman.

Generally when I converse with very spiritual people who spend a great deal of time in prayer and meditation I feel a sense of calm. Very spiritual people calm me.

She continued talking. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

We talked about all the Stage Moms who were bickering and stressing over tu-tus and tights.

“It’s all so SILLY,” I said. “The things that are upsetting these women are so TRIVIAL!”

“I have been watching you today,” she said. “You are such a kind, happy person. You seem to be at peace amongst all of this chaos. I need someone like you in my house!”

Then she began to cry.

I immediately put my hand on her leg. She held my hand tightly.

“I am so unhappy! I’m ALWAYS in pain,” she said. “And I NEVER cry. NEVER! I always pretend I‘m Ok.”

“Then cry,” I said. “Go ahead and cry. I understand.”

And she did. She cried hard. Her tiny frame shook with the sobs.

I just held her hand.

“My little girl was taken from me! My x-husband fought me so hard! The courts just TOOK HER! He was so mean! She cried for me! She cried when she understood it was not her choice anymore. SHE WANTED MEEEE!”

She crumbled.

She told me details of her serious depression through her tears. I felt her pain acutely. My heart burned with her pain.

“I’m at the bottom! I’m so low I can’t ever come back. I KNOW in my heart I will NEVER be healed. I will NEVER be ok. I AM NOT OK!”

I remembered a conversation I had with my brother somewhat recently.

“Joe,” I said. “Things just cannot get any worse! I am so unhappy! It just can’t get worse!”

“If things can’t get worse, then they will get better. You can only go up when you are at the bottom. Good things will happen for you,” he said.

So I looked my new friend dead in the eye and said, “You are NOT Ok. I can see that. But you WILL be.”

“I will?” She sounded like a lost little girl. I felt her. Broken and Bruised.

“Yes,” I said with all the conviction of my soul. “If you are at the bottom, you can only go UP from here.”

She began sobbing hard again.

“But I HAVE NO HOPE! I prayed so hard to be able to keep my daughter. My teacher and all my friends prayed and NOTHING happened. She was TAKEN from me! I’m WORTHLESS. I’M SO WORTHLESS,” she wailed.

I can’t tell you how hard I prayed throughout this conversation.

Please, please God, HELP HER! Help her to see her great worth. Bless her and her child. Give her peace. Give her comfort. Give her hope. Let her feel Thy Love. Let her feel MY Love.

I repeated these things in my mind over and over as she spoke.

I comforted her as best I could with my words and my touch. But mostly I listened and prayed.

I felt calm and strong.

Since Fashion is ALWAYS a factor I looked down at my crazy silver pants and thought, “This is the WRONG outfit for this conversation. Completely incongruent with the subject matter.”

One of the last things she said really struck a nerve for me personally.

She said, “In my spiritual practice I’m a MESS! I’M THE WORST ONE!”

I often feel that way in my own spiritual practice. Among other Mormons I often feel I am the worst one. Do YOU ever feel like you’re the worst one?

I’ve had an epiphany:


We all have trials we did not expect to face in life. We have all made mistakes we never intended to make. We have all been damaged in some way, haven’t we?

But we are not given the same trials and experiences as someone else. Our struggles are unique to each of us; Therefore, no comparison can be made.

My new friend is not the worst Buddhist and I am not the worst Mormon.

After we had conversed for an hour on the floor and our hands were sweaty from all the holding she asked me a question.

“I feel silly at this point. But what is your name?”

I smiled. “I’m Crystal. What’s yours?”

She smiled and told me.

“It’s nice to meet you,” I said.

And it really was.

What an amazing honor for a stranger to trust the light she sees within me.

Om Namah Shivaya.  Namaste.

PS  I really dig that this dress has pockets. Fab lil detail. :)