February 1, 2023
Today is the first of our daily reflections for Interfaith Harmony Week. The Interfaith Peace Project is pleased to offer you these reflections for each day of Interfaith Harmony Week, February 1-7, 2023. World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event observed during the first week of February. The General Assembly of the United Nations designated this week to point out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace. Therefore, the General Assembly established World Interfaith Harmony Week to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.
Our reflections this year come from the diverse people we have met on the streets. The houseless community is a vital part of the Interfaith Community. Over the years, we have learned the wisdom of simplicity from our friends in the streets. We are pleased to share their wisdom, courage, and creativity with you. The names and locations of the various individuals have been changed for their safety and anonymity. The people involved in these reflections asked for nothing but the opportunity to be heard, and we are grateful for their sharing.
INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK: THE WISDOM OF THE STREETS
THE DRUM BEAT OF LIFE
THE WISDOM OF AGNES
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The drumbeat reminds us of the heartbeat of life surging within everything that lives. Everything, visible or invisible, has its own unique heartbeat. Everything blesses us with the energy of its self-giving. If I behold a flower, hear the chirp of a bird, or encounter the majesty of a mountain, I am touched by the heartbeat of their generous self-giving.
Agnes can often be found beating on her drum under a palm tree on Market Street in San Francisco. While she has no permanent housing, she is very much at home in the World as it is. She does not ask for anything. She blesses the streets with her majestic drum. Her music comes from her heart. I once heard her say to a person who stopped to hear the music:
Life is like a river
I do not resist it
I go with its flow.
The river takes me places
I might not otherwise go.
I am free
Free to be myself
I am not afraid of losing anything
I have nothing
But the river flowing in my heart.
The river is like life
It takes me places
I might not otherwise see
I meet people
I might not otherwise meet.
I am free to love
Please find your river
Jump in deep and wet
Let go of all your fears.
Sense the river of life flowing through your heart.
Today pledge to enter into the river of your life.
Let your heartbeat be the compass of your soul.
Hear the sacred heartbeat of the Universe.
Feel how It beats within you with delight.
Let it be your joy, your peace, your friend.
Seek to hear the music of another person’s heart.