Monday, August 29, 2016

When patrons form their opinion based on research

A couple of months ago, I had a patron come into the library looking for books on Islam. She asked me a couple of questions, came back the next day and took the books I offered her from my personal collection. About a little less than a week after that, handed them back with a smile and a thank you.

Over the next couple of months, whenever I saw her, I was greeted with a genuine smile and a 'how are you'? Neither of us mentioning the books.

She came in last week looking for me, asking if she could talk to me for a couple of minutes. She had many questions about Islam, and she came ready for answers about various aspects of it. I answered her questions as best I could. As she asked her questions, I saw that they've changed from the first time she asked them. This time, there was a real passion, wonderment, and a need to know.

So I asked if I could ask her a question in return. A question that, to be honest, I wondered about after our first conversation a couple months back. I asked her what got her interested.

She smiled and says, "I've been feeling lost for a while. And it's because I NEED religion in my life. I am Christian, but something doesn't feel right to me. The first time I asked you, I'd been looking deeper into Christianity, I studied Judaism, and I looked into Islam. And what I found about Islam is that it did not add up with what I was seeing in the media. It's all about good. How to live a good life. How to be a good person. How to give. How to be kind. And the more I read, the more I found peace here (she points at the center of her chest). I stopped feeling lost and I wanted to know more. I feel like I'm finally home because I'm not lost".

In that last line. "I feel like I'm finally home because I'm not lost". I definitely teared up. I felt my heart ache. Many of us had/have our obstacles with religion. Obstacles we generally don't talk about. Where we fall off the path a little. We stop praying. We get angry. We blame the world. We blame God. And we move further and further away from him. And then someone says something in passing that rings a bell. Or you watch someone on TV and something strikes a cord. Or out of nowhere, it's almost like God himself is say it's time, and you find yourself praying. Or you find yourself breaking down and the only words you repeat is "oh God" over and over again.

And in that first millisecond of your intention to do it, to go back to Him, you feel everything fall into place. The world stops spinning. The weight lifts off your shoulder. You're "home".

And isn't that all we ever want? May she and anyone else looking to feel "home" find their way. Amen.

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