Yesterday, I went (totally) out of my comfort zone and helped hand-out free holiday roses to complete strangers walking through downtown Disney, with other Muslim friends.
I had been afraid to publicly identify myself as Muslim, and to talk to strangers, but perhaps the state of the U.S. today has compelled me to “come-out,” so to speak.
The idea was to help fight the hate that is being directed at “people like us” with the message of love and tolerance that my friends and I were all raised with. Each rose had a message “Happy Holidays from Your American Muslims neighbors.”
One non-Muslim man took a rose, left, and came back. “Would you like another?” I asked.
“No, I already have one,” he responded. “But I just read your message and wanted to come back to say that with all the hate that is around, I really admire that you all are responding with love. It really touches me to see this.”
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And then he hugged me, and we both shed a tear (well for me, many tears). It was a cathartic moment – even I haven’t realized how emotionally impacted I have been by what I’ve seen and heard. That man made a difference to me and gave me back some of the hope I’ve lost seeing the state of the world as it is today.
It also reminded me that individuals can make a difference. He made one to me and hopefully we made a difference to others.