A friend just messaged me on Facebook with a photo of a big diamond on her finger to tell me she's engaged. Woohoo! The funny thing is that you might say we're unlikely friends, because she's a Muslim and I'm a Christian.
We met in year 9 at school. We were both pretty loud crazy girls, but as I got to know her I realised that was about the only obvious thing we had in common. My skin was about as fluorescent white as hers was deep chocolatey brown. And just as much as I wished mine was more tanned like hers she wished hers was creamier like mine. Funny how we often love what others have!
We knew each other by name but didn't really know each other as friends. That was until one day, at a mutual friend’s birthday party, we got chatting about why we both didn't drink alcohol and ended up chatting for hours about our different faiths. Neither of us changed our beliefs that day, but I certainly changed my mind about who this Muslim girl was. You see before that day she was a generalisation, but after that I realised she, like me, was a girl becoming a woman, trying to respect what her parents wanted for her while discovering who she was herself, and questioning the world around her for answers about life, death, faith and the ways to live well.
I'm so grateful I made that unexpected friend. I am looking forward to going to her wedding, though I'm sure it will be very different from mine. But that makes both our lives richer, because we enjoy each other's differences, even laugh at them together!
Celebrate the diversity of people you find around you today. You'll find we all see the same skies whether through brown eyes or blue. So ask someone new you meet what they see and why. You might find out more about yourself as you get to know more about them too!