Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
"May it be Your will...to guide us in peace...to lead us to our desired destination in health and joy and peace....Save us from every enemy and disaster on the way, and from all calamities that threaten the world."
Summer vacation has arrived. As the airplane lifts off the ground, I pull the gently-worn copy of the traveler's prayer from my wallet and begin to recite the words under my breath. I am immediately struck by how relevant this prayer—written many centuries ago—remains in this age of modern travel. The author of this text was most likely anxious about storms at sea, bandits along trade routes or the physical deprivations that were the hallmark of travel in ancient times. Yet his words resonate for me as I drag my suitcase through the security line which snakes through the terminal; I am reminded of the "calamities that threaten the world" as I pass a soldier arriving home on leave. When the TSA officer returned my driver's license to me and told me that I was "free to move about the country" I didn't feel entirely free. But soaring through the sky, I ask God's protection and guidance, and dream of a time when the words of this prayer will no longer be necessary.
Tziporah, as a traveler on life’s journey (alas, not privileged with vacation at the moment), I share your mindfulness of the many “calamities that threaten the world;" in that knowledge, I too find solace in a prayer beseeching God to lead us “to our desired destination in health and joy and peace.” In a prayer for travelers from my own tradition, the invocation “O God…whose presence we find wherever we go” reminds me that all our journeys begin, continue, and end in God. Despite all dangers in our path that rob us of a sense of safety—whether they come from natural disaster, personal illness or threats of violence—I take comfort in the wisdom expressed in the words that “when God is all we have, God is all we really need.”
I agree that we suddenly become aware of our potential lack of physical wellbeing and security as we leave the comfort of our dwellings. But this vulnerability does not go unnoticed in the eyes of our Creator. According to Muslim tradition, various times are considered “special windows of supplication opportunities," and travel is one of them. One Prophetic Hadith states that the supplication of the traveler will not be rejected.* In addition to reciting several prayers for his or her own safety, the conscious Muslim—in a heightened state of spiritual awareness when traveling—is often asked by friends and family members to pray for them during his or her journey. To me, the weakened emotional and physical state of a traveler is mended by the comfort and peace of being in an elevated state of connection with The Preserver and Trustee.
*Three supplications will not be rejected by God, the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler. (al-Bayhaqi, at-Tirmidhi - Sahih)
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
“Whatever beings there are in the heavens and the earth prostrate themselves to God, with good will or in spite of themselves; so do their shadows in the morning and evenings.”