This I Believe

Mohammad - Coventry, Connecticut
Entered on August 16, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: hope, legacy, peace
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I believe in my grandmother, her stories and her perseverance through life.

After my grandfather died she raised her five children and sent them through school by selling food in a small canteen (small cafeteria), outside a school in India. Neither poverty nor the insurmountable odds for a widow in India shook her confidence. I have seen the lower, the middle and the upper class. She fit in none of those. Always the first to smile, she had the most pleasant gum-y laugh. She lived her life in the most respectable manner. She was hope and her stories reflected that sentiment. I remember her stories about faith and love; about great leaders and humanity; about the coming of peace and prosperity for all. I remember listening intently to her simple yet amazing stories, all of them ending with a simple yet valuable moral lesson. I believe her stories reflected her life, her faith and hope that sustained her beyond all odds. It has been fourteen years since I have heard her stories.

She passed away two years ago, but, I was not able to see her; to thank her before she left us. With every story she would renew my faith in humanity. I missed my grandmother on 9/11. I have missed her every day after that.

I wonder about humanity and the promise of peace that she told me about. I wish she could tell me one of those stories again; I wish I could tell them to the world.

Recently I went to Mecca and there in front of the Kabaa’ I felt that same peace and quiet that I felt in my grandmother’s stories. I saw a sea of people circling the house of God; people from around the world standing together shoulder to shoulder, men and women, Sunni and Shiite, rich and poor. I saw people; not Sunnis or Shiites.

I believe my grandmother was right, I believe that the time will come when we can no longer hate each other. I don’t know if that will be during my lifetime. But I will prepare my kids for the world and I will teach them to look for peace and to embrace it wherever they see it. I will tell them the same stories she told me and hope that they continue to hope, just as she did.