Holy Envy makes for Intention Making
This morning, I woke up fully intending to share a message with you all which was carefully crafted throughout last week. However, today I had a whole different reaction to living in the era of Covid-19 than what I had written before. I'm sure many of you can identify with the emotional whiplash this pandemic brings. So in the spirit of authenticity let me share how this morning went:
At 7:00 am, I opened my eyes, put my feet on the ground next to my bed and drank my 12 oz of water. I plopped over to the bathroom to splash my face with water, tip-toed out to the living room to see the sun beams shining in the window and placed my yoga mat on the floor to start my daily practice. Moving throughout my morning routine---which those close to me know I thrive by doing--- it was a normal morning. Until Adrienne, YouTube yoga instructor of my dreams, asked me to make an intention for the day.
Friends, I could not think of one. Not a one. In typical anxiety driven fashion, hundreds flashed into my head and then not one stuck.
Through the entire practice I could feel my frustrations rise, my heart sink, and my breath quicken -- and not just because planking and a million Caturanga poses made my abs and arms feel like fire. This morning, this wasn't working.
Naturally, in my angst I whipped out my Facebook app and began trying to zap my attention to something other than what was on my own mind. Fully intending to distract myself I came across an article from Al Jazeera entitled "US: 'Historic' Ramadan call to prayer echoes in Minnesota city". My cheeks rose bringing the edges of my mouth with them into a small smile. Flash backs and memories of my time in Oman studying Arabic in the sandy and rural areas of Ibri, and Christian-Muslim relations in crowded city streets of Mutrah harbor flooded my ears. The one constant in my study abroad experience was the call to prayer which woke me every morning, reminded me of prayer throughout the day, and lullabied me to sleep in the evenings. It gave me comfort, it gave me constant, it gave me conviction.
I am not a Muslim. I identify as Christian and live a life by which I hope to reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ (of course of which there is a wide spectrum of what he may have said --- which is a story for another day). However, in the time of Ramadan and in remembrance of the wonderful memories of my Muslim neighbors near and far, I truly can say that being surrounded by those following the teachings of Islam did and does influence what intentions I make in my life. Knowing Muslims around the world are intentionally fasting to bring their hearts back to God (submitting themselves to God as the word "Muslim" evokes), reminds me to allow an intention to guide my day. Listening to the call to prayer this morning helped me to lean on the simple intention to "submit to God and submit to prayer" even in this scary moment in time.
In the unknowns of COVID-19, with the fears and the doubts and anxieties, I look to my Muslim neighbors who show me that intention and conviction to pray, to give to others, and to gather in whatever virtual or vocal way possible, can guide us back to a comforting, consistent and constant presence of God.
Allison Pelyhes is in her first year at Elon University as Multifaith Coordinator at the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. In her role, Allison oversees Numen Lumen, a cohort of Interfaith interns, and the Interfaith House LLC. A recent graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, Allison is thrilled to take her passion for interfaith communities and education to another campus. While at Hope, Allison received a dual Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Sociology with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies. In addition, she studied abroad in Muscat, Oman where she worked at the Al Amana Centre, an NGO devoted to Muslim-Christian relations within the Sultanate.