What Sacred Story Do You Turn To?

In my story “People of the Book,” three people — a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew — face a crisis … Continued

In my story “People of the Book,” three people — a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew — face a crisis in their lives. The three people are strangers and have little in common, yet each of them in their separate, fraught worlds discovers the same secret: The transformative power of the sacred tale. They find role models in their holy texts, as ancient characters emerge to show them the way. The patriarch Abraham, King David and the Hebrew slaves walk beside them, guiding them — alive as any idea.

People in public life have spoken of similar inspiration from holy books. Recently, the New York Times ran a story stating that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin drew strength from the biblical story of Queen Esther. Sen. Hillary Clinton has said that she identifies with Esther, as well.

What about you? What ancient character, or sacred story helped you solve a problem or gave you courage to grapple with something you couldn’t face alone? Does this work? What are the benefits and what are the dangers of looking to ancient tales for guidance?”

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  • ASTORIA

    Hagar, the mother of the Prophet Ishmael, wife of the Prophet Ibrahim(Abraham), in her deperate search for water, running between the hills of Safa and Mawra millions and million and million and millions of people have imitated this run, called Sa’ee every year at the Hajj to Mecca. It is also the site of the miraculous well whcih sprung up when she dug it with her finger, called Zam Zam. Muslims still bring vials of this water to friends and relatives when they return from Mecca. And it has never run dry. In times alone, when it seems we are abandoned- and confused by the actions of others- her faith- unquestioned and firm- in the face of what would seem to be certain death,by dehydration, by starvation, not only for her- but her innocent baby- is so remarkable in the face os such privation-