The Best Advice I've Ever Received
She didn't mean to give me advice. Years ago, a classmate made a comment in passing after she had started attending a new church. She said to me, "Tuscany, last night, I heard some people gossiping about [name retracted] and I decided to pray about it.
"I asked God to give me eyes to see the best in people. I want Him to show me what is great about every soul I meet."
This idea was so breathtakingly simple and beautiful. I wanted to emulate this action, so I went home and also prayed for the same exact thing.
At this point in my life, it was long before I had converted to Islam. I wasn't sure if God was even out there in the world or the universe or wherever.
But if God was there - and I now believe He does exist - then I wanted some sort of divine support in my life. Why not get all the help I can get in life? I created a prayer during one cold autumn night for the exact attributes I craved to have:
Please let me see the best in people. I don't want to judge them anymore, especially not for the things they can't change. I know everybody sins and nobody is perfect. Please give me the eyes to understand.
Wash away from my heart the concern I feel when faced with people I don't know or people I don't really get. Please show me what is great about every soul I meet, even if for a second.
Grant me the ability to love tremendously, abundantly, and endlessly - without reservation."
And I think I added an awkward "Uh, thanks?" at the end because I wasn't really sure how formal I was supposed to be in my prayer the first time. Nonetheless, I put in my request to the Divine and hoped it would work out.
I did not pray for this just once but over again and again throughout the years. Every time I said this supplication I would notice more opportunities to change how I viewed the people around me. I was a sophomore in high school when I asked God for this and while I've come far, I still have so much work to do.