A seed of fraternity from Texas…

19 April 2016

I had just dropped my mom off to work before noon and decided to drive around the neighborhood to see the new houses that were being built. Two rounds around the block and fantasizing of moving into one of those mansions later, I snapped myself back into reality. I realized it was time for me to head home and text my mom that I reached home safely, or else she would wonder what took me so long to get home.

On the way out of the neighborhood, heavy traffic tested my patience before I drove straight into the middle of the two way intersection where I would turn onto the next road. That’s exactly when another driver drove into the intersection and blocked the path with the end of her car so I would not be able to turn into my lane, and she was blocked from oncoming traffic. There we were at a complete stop in an intersection face to face, with traffic on each side, I had dropped my mom off so many times yet never experienced any trouble like this before. I was not upset at this point until I saw the driver’s body language. She was nodding her head as if I had done something terribly wrong, she just kept nodding her head and that made me so angry. Her body language through the window made me respond with “what are you trying to do here lady!?”, as if she could hear me. It took all my might for me not to honk at her. She made me so mad with the way she looked at me. All of a sudden the traffic cleared a little and we were able to move past each other from what could have been the most awkward intersection exchange ever.

I left that intersection with my blood boiling. Something in the look that that woman gave me through her window made me tick. I began to yell, scream and express anger like I have never seen myself feel before. I began to call her names and express hate for her. While I am yelling these things, I know I can’t hate a stranger, yet I still kept expressing my anger. The moment had already passed, and I was almost home. Why was I so angered by that exchange of glances? I began to realize that what I was expressing was anger that I had built up inside me, perhaps for another reason in my life, that had not yet been released. I began to realize that what I was saying was a reflection of my own self, not of a stranger that I barely knew.

I took a few deep breaths, and remembered it was Friday prayer. I am Muslim and we observe our holy day on Fridays. “I will go home, take a hot shower to cool myself down and pray peacefully at home. I need to make supplication for patience. I need patience.” I said to myself.

After prayer, I opened an app on my phone to look up a supplication for relief of anger. When I opened the supplication listed under ‘Anger’ there were two listed. One was a supplication that should be recited at the time of anger, and the other was for an invocation for someone you have spoken Ill to. I repeated it a few times until I felt relief.

I read the second supplication with a good heart for the woman who I had shamefully expressed anger towards.
My anger had now passed, I began to feel relief and even laughed a little. How could I have been so angry at such a small misunderstanding. Perhaps I made a mistake driving or maybe she was having a bad day, who knows? The reason I laughed was because the woman who I said I hated so much a few minutes ago, was the same woman who I made supplication for.

Prayer quickly turned my hate and anger into relief and love for my neighbor. I have started a relationship with Focolare and Youth for a united world and enjoy the unity that they bring into my life, they make me look at life from a different perspective, that is what makes me thankful.

Arshia Mohd – Texas, USA

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