The Center of the Universe is on my living room floor in Oxford, Mississippi. I studied it carefully this morning for over an hour: the colors, the intricate patterns, the symbols of birds, flowers, animals, people; and then I saw beyond the simple beauty and usefulness of the thing to the patience, the mindful vision, the love of life and color that flowed through those busy hands onto the loom in the Afshar province of Iran. I thought for a long time about the life of the patient maker. I thought of her daily life, her family, her descendants, her community. I asked God to bless them all. When I look at the Center of the Universe, I am not afraid of mosques or mullahs. I am not afraid of someone with a long name who happens to have a title of authority. I am not afraid of a people who can produce such intricate, durable beauty that speaks to me daily. I am only afraid of those who with a foolish use of raw power would destroy and devastate the careful hands that made the Center of the Universe on my living room floor in Oxford, Mississippi.
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