Muslims, Hindus, and Christians…oh my!

*

“My father is Islam, but not fundamentalist,” she’s quick to add. “My mother is Christian. Next month I’m going to a monastery in India to study with my guru there. I go every year for three weeks.”

“So you’re Buddhist?” I’m more than a little intrigued.

“Oh yes, but my passport says Muslim because my husband is Muslim and in Indonesia…” she pauses.

“The wife must take the husband’s religion,” I finish for her and she laughs.

“But before I married him, I made an agreement. You call it a prenup, yes?”

“You made a prenuptial agreement, really Meli? Here, in Indonesia?”

“Well, I had already divorced one husband because he wanted to tell me what I couldn’t do, so I learned from that. This time I would make sure I could practice Buddhism and go every year to the monastery. So I made the contract. If he agrees…marriage. If he doesn’t…bye-bye!”

I’m in awe of this feisty, well-educated, forty-something woman. She tells me that her man agreed to the terms and they’re quite harmoniously married. They live in Bali where the religion of choice is Hindu. “I also make offerings to keep the peace between good and evil as my Balinese friends do.” The corners of her eyes crinkle and she winks. “When my husband notices he says, ‘What are you doing? That is a Hindu practice.’ So I stop until he leaves and then continue.”

Where else on earth? I can’t conceive of another place like this. Bali is a feast of diversity, a conundrum of befuddling opposites, a loveable, laughable hodgepodge of unique people who are slow to judge and quick to call you family. They are who they are without apology and that gives me the freedom to be me, the warts, the contradictions, the glorious all of who I am because there’s no rigid, this is the way, walk ye in it! Rather, an Indonesian person will say, “Well, you can go this way, but today there is a ceremony, the road is closed, so maybe you go around, it’s a little longer, but you will see the rice terrace, or my cousin can show you the small roads, I’ll call him now, or maybe you wait until tomorrow.” Bali, the land of endless possibility, if not today, tomorrow!

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sageblessings
    Aug 10, 2015 @ 09:55:20

    That love and acceptance is so palpable in Bali. Nice piece.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Susan Wiste
    Aug 11, 2015 @ 09:41:54

    I found Nepal to be that way as well.

    Like

    Reply

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