There is a very nice lady who regularly visits me at my home and graciously offers me brochures explaining her religious beliefs and an open invitation to attend a service at her church.  Sometimes she brings her beautiful daughter or a friend with her, but she is never without her Bible.  As I am cursed with a healthy curiosity about many things, I will sometimes invite this particular Jehovah’s Witness into my home for coffee and conversation.

On the most recent occasion, we talked about her religion and how she strives to live her life according to the teachings of the Bible.  But problems arose when I retrieved my own Bible, which once belonged to my parents, and discovered that that words, phrases and sometimes whole verses are different or even missing from my version or hers.  In light of these discrepancies, she could not convince me that the original message, the divine inspiration, had not been diluted, altered or morphed by translation and other forms of human intervention throughout the centuries like a children’s game of “telephone.”  Following this encounter, she has yet to visit me and I presume she has written off my eternal soul as a loss.

The diversity of religious beliefs held by human beings is truly astounding.  And yet, the similarities are even more interesting.  It seems that we have a deep seated longing for our existence to have a purpose and meaning, even if that purpose must remain a mystery which can never be revealed to us in it’s entirety.  To have faith that our brief, meager lives play a role in an infinitely intricate cosmic ballet choreographed by an all-powerful, all-knowing entity is an intrinsic part of a majority of religions.  And regardless of our particular form of worship, divine inspiration is sought by all.

But how is this inspiration revealed to us?  A feeling?  A voice in our head?  A burning bush?  A turn of events?  A dream?  Would we even recognize it?

I believe we receive inspiration, divine or otherwise, all the time.  It’s a glint of sunlight from broken glass swept into a storm drain.  It’s a precious moment spent observing our children as they sleep.  It’s a fleeting memory of disappointment, pain or fear that highlights the wonder of the gift love.  It is a painting, a book, a breath.  Anything and everything can provide inspiration if we are observant enough to recognize it and brave enough to use it to learn and grow and change into something more than we were before.

You never know, a cup of coffee with a stranger may be all the inspiration you need.



4 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. Aw wow. This post is awesome. What beautiful writing combined with glorious and meaningful sentiments! I loved this. I admire your willingness to sit down with someone espousing a different take on faith and religion. And the message to be more tolerant because at the root of it all it should be about “faith” not dogma. Lots of good stuff in this post to take away. Well done!

    1. Thank you! I really am intrigued by different beliefs and how they began and evolved in conjunction with civilization. Unfortunately, this infuriates my mother who believes she will be lonely in heaven without me. 😉

  2. Very nice post. I think tolerating and understanding different beliefs and how they connect to cultures and history is a very important thing. I personally have my own religion, and my fair share of bibles, but I also own copies of almost every major religious text. (ie: Torah, Book of Mormon…) Tolerance and understanding is the first step towards peace.

  3. Thank you for reading and for your thoughts. I truly share your sentiments – one tree and many branches – and I don’t believe humanity will survive if we can’t learn to open our hearts and minds to each other’s viewpoints and beliefs and give each other the gift of tolerance, peace and love.

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