Last night we had a Holiday party at our home.
This was a celebration for a council on minority issues and so, from the outside looking in, it'd appear that the defining quality of the crowd was the fact that the only people who belonged in the same category were spouses. There were people coming from every continent (save Antarctica, our Antarctican was, um, sick) and nearly every religion or lack thereof. And man, the food! This is one of my favorite holiday parties because where else can you get, on the same plate, authentic and skillfully made tandoori chicken, funeral potatoes, enchiladas, that Thai noodle dish, and those middle eastern pastries with that uniquely spiced meat inside (no I can't remember all those names)?
I'm still stuffed.
But the best thing is the fact that, from the inside, we all belong to the same group. We are all good friends. I can connect with my conservative Muslim friend from India better than with many people in my own LDS or gay culture. I love their company, their humor, and, especially, their passion and compassion. These are some of the best people I know, the sort who make you want to be better and do more for others yourself.
Some days, it feels like the world is composing its suicide note, and the earth might become one more silent speck in the infinite sea of silent specks. It seems religion or politics are just hoping for their Armageddon. Mumbai is, of course, the latest troubling incident, and along with the growing instability in nuclear Pakistan... It can be overwhelming to think of the what ifs.
But I can't help but be anything but optimistic after a night like last night. This wildly diverse crowd mingled around this socially controversial couple's kitchen table and there was only holiday joy, regardless of if we were celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, or secular Christmas, or just another Thursday. The adults all enjoyed each other, laughed and shared anecdotes, some with a glass of wine and others with the virgin Mormon punch, as the kids watched WALL-E. We talked politics and religion and no one got hurt, no one wanted the law to hurt the other person's family. The only negative note being our unanimous agreement that Senator Buttars is a jerk, but I'm sure we'd still let him have a plate of our food, if he dared.
Anyway, when we do find a way to leave Utah, I'll miss the diversity ;-). I will miss our friends.