Islam, Rihanna & the Surprise of Belief

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There are many days I wake up and know that I am going to be a little crazed today and perhaps for a few weeks or months if it lingers.  My brain simply feels different.  I act and think differently too.  I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder a few years ago.  In my condition, I often oscillate around in an aggressive mixed state of hopeless depression and uncontrollable mania.  In these mixed states of mania and depression, much of my thinking centers on God, the problem of evil and relationships.  If God is good or love then why is there so much pain?  Can I trust anyone to love me and not hurt me?  If we are just going to die then what is the point of living?  Would I be better off if I never talk to another person again?  There are many others, but you can probably imagine the damage that can be done by not being able to come off of these or similar questions for weeks or months could do.  Regardless, I presently do pretty well thanks to a little miracle drug called lithium that keeps my symptoms under control.  I still experience these mixed states of mania and depression, but they are much more subdued than the times that I am not on lithium.  Throughout this past week, I have experienced a subdued time of depression with flashes of mania.


In my doubts, I have to preach to my self.  Last Wednesday the State of Texas executed Suzanne Basso, I was pretty depressed (  I told my self you must believe that love will win in the end.  I decided to go and get a bite to eat at my favorite restaurant down the street.  While there, I had a long talk with the owner and his son about Islam.  The beauty of the way they talked from an Islamic perspective about Jesus and the need to love all people moved me deeply.  Their faith pushed me to believe again.


After a slow snowy day of driving and depression to Dallas and back, I picked up my twin sons from their little school.  I was planning to take them home…when I got a call from my wife to come over and join her at her classmate’s house.  I went over to the house and the first thing I noticed was that the wife of my wife’s classmate was in a burqa.  I sat down and began to talk.  My friend described the pressure that is felt by women having to make their bodies and persons look a certain way and that she was glad she could wear a burqa and not have to worry about it.  We moved on to faith and the way that the couple described their conception of God as a loving uniter of all people pushed me past my preconceived notions of what a family would be like where the wife and mother wore a burqa.  Their faith moved me to a deeper place of belief.


Before I went to bed last night, I was preparing for our church service this Sunday when I heard Rihanna’s unmistakable voice come over my computer.  “Now we are standing side by side as your shadow crosses mine what it takes to come alive…We found love in a hopeless place.”  The words of “We Found Love” moved me to tears.  I realized that in this hopeless place called earth, I found and shared love and faith in places that were unexpected and surprisingly found Jesus once more too.  My Islamic friends and I might call our religious  symbols and the personification of love different things and that is ok…but love is always an unmistakable substance…and the love they spoke into my life was the love that I needed.  As my shadow crossed the shadows of friends new and old…I was healed.  I believe.



“We Found Love” lyrics

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