• Guest Contributor

The Key to Wisdom

The great Sufi master Mullah Nasruddin was on his hands and knees searching for something under a streetlamp. A man saw him and asked, "What are you looking for?" "My house key," Nasruddin replied. "I lost it." The man joined him in looking for the key, and after a period of fruitless searching, the man asked, "Are you sure you lost it around here?" Nasruddin replied, "Oh, I didn't lose it around here. I lost it over there by my house." "Then why," the man asked, "are you looking for it over here?" "Because," Nasruddin said, "The light is so much better over here."

The wisdom tales of Mullah Nasruddin are great for a laugh, but they rarely come with an explanation. One meaning we can extract from this tale is that we often stay within our comfort zones. We may go where it is easy for us emotionally, even when we know that it is not beneficial. Instead of confronting a difficult situation, we might take an easier route and deny the problem or run away from the situation.  One of my favorite quotes is attributed to the legendary musician Jimi Hendrix: "Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." Within the walls of the Truitt Center, we find chaplains who, in their wisdom, seek to hear your stories. By listening, we create space for students, faculty, and staff to speak their truth, fears, and hopes. It is my sincere hope that you visit the Truitt Center, connect with a chaplain, and share your unique story.

May the blessings of God rest upon you,

May God’s peace abide with you,

May God’s presence illuminate your hearts,

Now and forevermore.

Imam Shane Atkinson spent twenty years caring for patients as a Board Certified Orthotic and Prosthetic Practitioner. In 2011 he was awarded an Ijaza (Masters level traditional degree) to teach Islamic theology, law, and spirituality. He entered the Clinical Pastoral Education program at UNC Medical Center in 2015 as the first Muslim in their Chaplains Department. He completed a rigorous four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), and now teaches in UNC’s CPE program as well as serving on their Professional Advisory Group. Since 2015, Shane has served as Associate Imam at As Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was named the recipient of the 2019 Muhammad Ali Spiritual Leadership Full-Tuition Scholarship to support his graduate studies in the Master of Divinity program at the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Contact: satkinson2@elon.edu

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