Patrick, the Heart of Sudan: Finding LOVE in Ottawa

I asked him if I could have the stir fry dish without the chicken.  He said, “No, it’s made all together.”  Then, he asked me how he would charge me, that he didn’t have a button on his register for rice or, vegetables.  It was a rhetorical question. Before I could say anything, he said he would take it to his cook and see what they could do.  He came back a few minutes later and said yes they can do a plate of rice and veg for me.

As he placed my plate on the table he noticed I was reading, The Lost Gospel, Decoding the Ancient Text That Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene.  His response was, “Christians are going to have to believe that Jesus was a man, with hormones.”

I loved that.  Often, I’ve questioned what and who Jesus was. And, here, a total stranger suggested that Jesus was a man, like all other men, like the rest of us, human with hormones.  Why wouldn’t he get married?

In fact, it is one of the arguments in the book: that it would be highly unlikely, even abnormal, for a young Jewish man not to be married in that era or, in any era for that matter.  The idea that Jesus was human goes against Pauline Christianity, the form of Christianity that has been practiced since the 4th or 5th century, and teaches that Jesus was more ‘divine’ than ‘human.’

The young man continued to talk with me and told me that his mother was Muslim and his father was a priest from Canada and that his mother’s brothers were very hard on his father, until they married.  They lived in Sudan for many years and finally because of the war, the family came to Canada, in 1995.

He also told me that he has studied many different types of spiritual and religious practices.  Tapping his chest, he says that he has come to listen to what he calls, ‘the little dude’ who helps him know what is right for him.  I understood what he meant and I told him that I too have an inner voice and that is how I know what is truth, because ‘it’ either resonates or, ‘it’ doesn’t.

He shared with me examples of his spiritual practice. He spoke about when his father fell deathly ill.  His father’s doctor told him to prepare for his father’s death, that his father would not make it through the liver failure and spreading toxicity in his body.  The young man told me how he had tears streaming down his face while adamantly telling the doctor that the doctor could never really know such an outcome.

He told me that he and his younger brother went to pray.  While praying they asked for help to have a clear mind, to accept what has happened to their father.  They didn’t pray for a change in their father, for him to be healed, they prayed for courage and the ability to have clearer thoughts to handle what had happened. They knew they needed to accept the reality of the situation.  They knew they needed guidance on how to proceed.

After praying, his younger brother put his hands on his fathers’ body, over his liver, and prayed for forgiveness for his father for allowing himself to become ill.  He worked to heal his father through his faith, believing that anything and everything can be healed, through forgiveness. I never asked if or, how they knew that there are spiritual and healing practices that believe that the liver is the organ that holds toxic emotions, such as anger.

Anger is harboured when we will not forgive whatever has caused us to become angry in the first place. It struck me that they prayed for their father to find forgiveness, to forgive himself for hurting himself, in order for him to be healed.  One needs to believe in order to know that healing is possible through forgiveness.   It struct me that more than two millennia ago, someone else brought this to people as a central message in learning to heal and love ourselves and others.

Their father recovered from his organ failure and systemic illness and was released from hospital. He now resides in a home.  This is a beautiful example of what prayer can do.  Praying for a clear mind helps us to accept the reality of all situations. So many of us live in denial of the truth, or reality.  Asking for clarity thereby, minimizing the chaotic chatter in our heads, helps us to know what to do in situations where we are confused, where we have no idea what is real and what is imagined and ultimately, what our path truly is.

I have family and friends and often meet people who are very down on themselves, depressed and in the extreme, have suicidal thoughts.  It pangs me. I want to do something for them but I don’t know what to do. I pray for them, that they find comfort and solace in their creator, in the love that is around them and within them, that I feel, they are momentarily blinded to.

But to pray for someone to have clear thoughts, that their thinking no longer be clouded by judgement, criticism, guilt, shame, hatred, fear and anxiety, this is a beautiful prayer that addresses the source of ALL suffering. It helps people connect with their inner truth, learn what is best for them.  It helps people to trust that they are in control of their lives and will be divinely guided, if they so choose.

I heard somewhere, that even though we all have free will, when we pray for others and indicate that if the one we were praying for knew that prayer worked they would pray for themselves, that the prayer over rides another’s free will.  Who wouldn’t want clarity if they knew it was lacking thereby, causing them suffering?

He also shared with me how he handles the racism he’s experienced since moving to Canada.  He said, “You would not believe the things people have said to me and the ways in which people have treated me since I’ve come here.” He moved his arm in a sweeping motion, indicating even in his workplace, right there in the restaurant.

He’s right, I wouldn’t know.  Even though I am a white woman and have experienced many forms of egoic-isms, such as sexism, misogynism, male chauvinism and nationalism throughout my life, I can never know what his experiences feel like. But, I do know how I’ve felt when I’ve been treated unfairly and viewed through clouded lenses because someone perceives me as inferior. We all have exactly the same emotions underneath our exterior differences.

He said he knows that people who exhibit racist attitudes learn this type of thinking from others, such as family members, the media and other sources.  No one is born racist.  In essence, he does not hold them responsible, he forgives them because they know not what they do.  I have heard that somewhere before…

What a beautiful example of compassion, a beautiful act of forgiveness.  When people are prejudiced, judgemental, critical and confrontational they expect their target to retaliate, adding fuel to their flames.  This young man has chosen not to contribute to learned hatred, to stoke the fires, so to speak.  We are not born racist, or sexist, or with any of the egoic-ism’s.  They are all learned, somewhere, somehow. And, can be un-learned.

My lunch finished, we exchanged first names over a warm and solid handshake.  I asked Patrick if I could share our conversation on my blog and he said, “Yes, of course.”  I wrote the name of my blog on a napkin and suggested he search for it, it will have his name in the title.

When he finally brought me my cheque and I couldn’t help but smile.  He found a button on his register to use, charging me a mere 4.19$ taxes in, for my plate of veggies and rice sans chicken.

Thank you, Patrick, for opening up and sharing a part of yourself and your life with me, for teaching me what I needed to remember, once again. I needed to remember that I have a choice in how I perceive others, I can forgive others and myself for our ignorances and trespasses.

I can forgive those for teaching me egoic-isms.  They know not what they do. I can let go of anger and other toxic emotions. I can heal myself and others… Have faith. I only need humble myself and ask for clarity.  And, guidance will follow.

My prayers were answered in Ottawa. Meeting Patrick has reminded me that LOVE is truly in each and every one of us.  But… I will never see it if I don’t believe it to be true, if I don’t have faith that it is so.  So be it.

Please feel free to like, share and comment…:)



 ©Judi Risser We Are All Awakening




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