Celebrating an Interfaith Household
By Debbie Milam
For centuries Jewish mothers have experienced the joy in watching their sons become men in the eyes of God. Sitting in the synagogue, witnessing my son's Bar Mitzvah was an extraordinary experience on many levels. As I sat savoring the holiness of the moment, I looked around and noticed that I was surrounded by an interfaith and multi-cultural rainbow of diversity.
I am Jewish, my husband, his mother, one sister and two brothers are Catholic. He has a brother who is an evangelical born again Christian, one who is Lutheran, one who is Methodist, one who is Baptist and one who is Presbyterian. Among our friends and temple congregants were a multicultural mix of Native Americans, Hispanics, Italians, and African Americans.
Although our skin may be of different hues, our liturgy in varying verse and our rituals diverse as our faiths, each of us is a beautiful child of God. In my heart I sense that God appears to each of us in the way in which we can perceive him.
When God created the heavens and earth he made the sky blue and the trees green so they each could look more beautiful against one another. He made the colors of the rainbow different to reflect each others light. He also made us Jew, Christian, Muslim, Black, White, Oriental and Hispanic not to fight over whom is better but, so we can live a rich, cultural existence. God had a perfect plan when he made us all different.
Yet, those differences are what often create conflict, oppression, and violence. When groups feel that their truth is the only truth, when individuals feel their view is the only view, when people see their race or religion being better than that of another, it separates us. How many wars have been fought trying to get others to believe the way that we do? How many fights have you had trying to prove yourself right?
Reality is, we are all different. Yet, within our differences there can be unity. When we acknowledge that each of us needs to be loved, appreciated, and listened to. When we understand that each of us was miraculously created as a child of God. When we remember that the light of the divine is within all of us, we create peace. The key to creating unity and peace is acknowledging, celebrating, and honoring these differences as gift, then recognizing the magnificence in each and every person.
As my husband's Christian family each blessed and prayed for my son in front of our Temple congregation, my heart was filled with unbridled joy. I felt a deep sense of unity. This is the unity that I pray our world experiences from this moment until eternity. May you and your children be showered with peace, health, joy and most of all love.
Debbie Milam is the author of Stop Fighting and Start Connecting. An occupational therapist and life coach whose work has been featured in over 300 media outlets including The Miami Herald, Elle, Ladies Home Journal, PBS and The Hallmark Channel.