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A Tapestry of Faith and Friendship: Navigating the Unseen Paths

P.S. Gratitude to my dearest friend for allowing me to share fragments of her here.


In the quiet spaces between the pages of my life, there exists a sacred narrative woven from threads of faith and friendship. I hail from an all-Muslim family, proud custodians of a lineage that traces its devotion to God through the echelons of time. From my great great great grandparents to my father, who cradles the Al-Quran as a compass through life and death, our faith isn't just a choice; it's an unwavering certainty. Confident, or so I believed about myself, though, for now, let's set me aside.


Let me unveil a chapter in my story, one shaped by the extraordinary bond with my best friend, whom we affectionately call Angel. Before she even graced this world, her narrative began with an unconventional melody. Her mother, a devout Muslim, married a man seasoned by life, traversing Buddhism, Islam, and returning to Buddhism. Angel, the result of this symphony of beliefs, stands amid the swirl of her family’s diverse convictions—a Muslim mother, a Buddhist-then-Muslim-then-Buddhist father, a Catholic sister, and a strikingly attractive Christian brother. A cacophony of faith that would challenge the most seasoned soul, let alone a child’s tender heart.


Our paths converged in kindergarten, orchestrated by her father's nudging, for I was the socially active one. Growing older together became a testament to resilience—through thick and thin, even during the detours of middle school where our paths briefly diverged, only to reconvene, saying our hi’s and bid our bye’s.


Elementary years unfolded like a complex tapestry, especially at the tender age of eleven when comprehending the diversity in Angel's family tested the limits of my young mind. It wasn’t until I immersed myself in their holidays that I began to understand the nuances of belief. From accompanying her father to the monastery to witnessing siblings discussing their disparate definitions of God at the dinner table, these experiences were a kaleidoscope of spirituality that my own family had not offered.


As we matured, we faced the inevitable storms of identity and belief crises. Now, standing on the brink of our 16th year on this bewildering earth, we find ourselves slowly gaining control over the tumult within us. A brunch invitation from Angel unfolded a revelation. "I want to learn the Bible," she uttered, and as I sat in silence, coffee in hand, I struggled to synchronize my thoughts with hers. I knew what she meant, but the 'why' lingered like a delicate whisper in the wind.


In baring her soul, Angel confessed that her current religious affiliation felt like a mere cloak, concealing the genuine fabric of her being. Prayers, once profound expressions of faith, now felt like hollow rituals, a façade to stave off guilt for not fully embracing her religion and God.


Witnessing such internal turmoil wasn’t unfamiliar, but seeing it unfold within someone so close was a poignant revelation.


Tolerance became my armor, but societal pressures shaped my perception. Society had molded my brain, compressing it into a container of narrow standards, creating a stereotype that condemned those exploring themselves, risking the impeccable, the uncharted.


A decade of shared laughter and tears, of being each other’s pillars, etched indelible marks on my soul. Without Angel, my voice might have been stifled, my thoughts confined for the sake of societal peace. I might have grown into an intolerant being, believing that divergent paths to God equate to guilt.


So, no, I don't dissent from her journey, nor am I dissatisfied with the path she's chosen. It's not an indictment of shifting times or evolving laws. As citizens, we retain the sacred privilege of choosing our beliefs. If you ask, “What do you believe in, Adni?” In this moment, at 9:42 PM, I hold a fervent belief that our fractured world will mend into a tapestry of peace and harmony when the explosive force of "freedom" finally ruptures from the silent ticking bomb, echoing across the fabric of our existence.

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