As we kneeled for the 4th rakat of the Zuhr, I surprised myself by praying the prayer of Friar Richard Rohr: that God would “give me one good humiliation a day to keep me grounded.” Or perhaps it was a half prayer, because even as I said it, I wasn’t sure I fully meant it, especially given the night’s agenda.
Four hours later, we pulled up to the “Miami Residency Park,” walking through a 20-year-old Alice in Wonderland knock-off park on our way to the 25-year-old rotary-club-knockoff community center.
The organizer enthusiastically announced to me that they had switched the schedule so I would be talking first, even though I knew that he knew that I knew this was not at all something to be enthusiastic about.
As we prayed Maghrib, I thought back to Zuhr. I tried to think about how perfect the afternoon with Yousaf, Basil and Faheem was, and wondered if the Friar Rohr prayer had anything to do with it.
Then I thought about the 1.5 minutes I spent with JN before a talk in Kenya 2 months ago. I remembered how terrified I was, and how she told me that it didn’t matter: I was an instrument. And regardless of how it went, I was still an instrument.
As she said this, my mind went to Dr V, who was a role model of JN’s (and mine) and described himself and his team — in one of those “it will change your life” type books — as instruments in the hands of a higher force. And at that moment, I felt a deep relief, almost as if I had just finished giving the talk.
And so, as half the audience clamored in late throughout the talk — and the organizer tapped his watch every time I made eye contact with him — I tried to remember both my talk and that sometimes God uses the foolish things of the world to bring him glory. Sometimes even a broken instrument can be used for good. And sometimes just reaching one person — even if that person is you — is enough.