06 May 2008

The Interpreter

I had a conversation with a muslim woman last week. She is a refugee from Iraq and I was driving her to an appointment. As we began to pull away, another car parked behind us and flashed the lights.
Another woman, wearing modest dress with her head covered, approached and got in the car with us. She introduced herself as the interpreter. Greetings flew in two languages, or maybe three.
Using a printout of an online map, complete with turn-by-turn directions, we arrived punctually before the scheduled time.
I took myself off to a nearby cafe to read my book on Thomas Merton and to prepare for a Bible study that evening. The tea was good. The restrooms were not. The hostess was gracious and the time passed nicely.
Returning to collect the ladies, I found the interpreter quietly reading her Quran. There was an intersection. Now for the conversation.
The map, held this time by the interpreter, guided us back to familiar territory as we discussed the common ground of our faith and practice. I too carry a diminutive holy book, the New Testament.
We parted, each blessing the other, clearly holding eachother's gaze as we contemplated the many similarities lurking not far beneath the surface of two women from very diverse backgrounds.
We shared a conversation, at an intersection of several lives, and I am richer for being there and listening.

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