I don’t pretend I am the most religious of people. I live my life my way and let others live theirs, and hope we can all live in harmony together on this earth. I try to make the most of my travelling time to work these days – as soon as I get a seat I whip out my Sefer Tehillim (Book of Psalms) and use the time to get a little bit of prayer in. This is more or less the only structured prayers that I do every day, other than brachot and praying to G-d to help me find a parking spot or to hold my tongue.
The other day I sat down on the train, pulled out the tehillim and immersed myself. In my peripheral vision I saw a gentleman sit down near me and take out a little book and he seemed to be moving his lips in silent prayer like me. I looked up expecting to find another Jew. I was wrong. This man was reading the Koran or some other book written in Arabic. He was as intent on the words of his holy book as was I. There was a moment or two where I felt uncomfortable, but it passed. He was just as entitled to pray as I was, and you know what, the fact that two people in the subway car were praying – I am sure it made all the other travelers feel safe!
I always felt a little self conscious sitting there with my tehillim, but somehow seeing someone from another religion acting in a similar fashion helped me to get over that.
Life can teach us lessons when we least expect it.