Last Time I Cried

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to an interfaith luncheon at the Islamic Foundation here in St. Louis. With the current political atmosphere, it seemed necessary to learn about the faith many follow and are being persecuted for following. It was asked that guests bring a dish that would feed 5-7 people and, if they were able to bring either cleaning or sanitary items to donate for their pantry.

I was definitely outside my comfort zone but I'm not one to shy away from feeling uncomfortable. Over the last couple years our neighborhood has seen the addition of several young Muslim families and I would like to feel that I can reach out to them. This event, in my mind, would make it easier to understand them because I would come out of the luncheon with some understanding of their religion. That was definitely simplifying things significantly but a step in the right direction.

Anyway, the gym was filled. The woman in charge of putting the event together said they expected around 100 people to show up. By the time I arrived, they said they had set out 400 or so chairs. It was an overwhelming experience to see such an outpouring of love toward this community that has to be feeling quite fearful. I couldn't hold back my tears. It felt good to know I wasn't the only one interested in learning so that we could relate to more people and be of service in way or another. 

It is definitely in my nature to cry quite easily. I cry at happy times and, of course, at the typical sad situations. Live music has been known to bring me to tears and I'll admit that I have shed tears while officiating at a few weddings. Like many women, I tend to cry at weddings and do my best to become so familiar with the wording of your ceremony that the emotion is neutralized for me. In the event you choose me as your wedding officiant and I shed a tear or two, know that it is because your love for each other is visible and palpable. I'll do my best to keep that from happening but if it does, feel free to laugh at me. I'll likely laugh with you. 

Rev Jessica Winter