Attitude is the Only Prayer

By Shadi Salame, Palestine.shadiwebsite

It was a beautiful sunny morning. Everything and everyone seemed to be optimistic and energetic except me, who was frustrated and worried for no obvious reason. As a catholic who was born and raised by strictly catholic parents, praying and referring to God has always been my first choice in such an inner mood. I remembered that there is a mass in our local church at 5 PM and decided to go earlier to get some quality time where I can pray with no distraction.

I quietly entered the church, closed the door behind me and started to walk very slowly focusing on the holy sacrament and as soon as I got very close to it I knelt down and closed my eyes.

“Ha ha ha ha ha!” it was a very loud laughter that broke the silence inside the church. I don’t remember how long I kept my eyes closed, not noticing anyone inside the church when I came in but that laughter made me stand up and look around. Oh, it’s Maha, the lady known for her dedication in serving the church for no reward. Maha spends many hours a day serving the church, and all the people appreciate it. Everybody always saw her very well-mannered inside the church, and I thought she was an example of a true Christian.

A mix of anger and surprise was obvious in my tone and facial expressions when I said, “Maha, would you please pay more respect to the holy sacrament?”

“None of your business” she replied rudely while anger was floating in her eyes.

“Do you pay more respect to the priest rather than the holy sacrament? I bet you don’t dare to behave this way in his presence,” I said after a moment of silence.

“What are you trying to say” she asked.

“Nothing but interpreting your fluctuating behavior” I answered and left the church.

That wasn’t only an eye opener but also a life changing event. I left the church and started my own journey, looking for the truth of religions and being religious, and took the decision of studying all holy books. The Torah was already known to me since its part of my belief as a Christian but I had never read it or studied it myself, the Bible was what I used to hear in the church and Qur’an was something I heard of but never read.

I studied it all, trying to understand religions, not to compare them. I found beautiful stuff in each holy book. I then went into comparing what each book says with how the religious, or at least those who like to be called so, behave, and enjoyed the surprises all the way on my journey. The funniest one is that those who consider themselves religious highly believe, in a way or another, directly or indirectly, disclosing it or not, that they’re closer to God than any other and that they’re authorized to practice exceptions☺.

I lived in different countries, traveled to a lot more, met people from many cultures and religions, as well as atheists. I know for a fact now, that attitude is the only prayer, and apart from that, people aren’t being so honest to themselves before being honest to God. Holding to a religion, carrying different titles, wearing many symbols, spending long hours praying, growing your beard … etc. can never make any person good or bad more religious or not its only attitude what makes the person.