Different religions, but shared dreams.

By Kelly Hill - Peace Corps Volunteer, Indonesia (2014 - 2016)

Shared prayers to different Gods,

some say they’re one and the same.

But would you?

Would I?

They warned me about you.

They said I wouldn’t be safe in your hands,

they said your hands prayed prayers of violence


preying on fears

consuming religions unknown

cultures unseen

people unmet

but I’ve met you where you are.

I met you on the terms of our shared hope,

I shared with you my dream,

a common dream

to paint uncommon love

on a hurting world

darkened by their assumptions

preying on fear and ignorance

keeping us apart

until we meet

unseen, unheard

in our prayers

transpiring in our minds

like your bismallah

from masjid towers

ringing in my ears

like hymn song

remembered across oceans

so far

but not as far as you are from me,

praying the same prayer.

Prayer of our shared vision

to see a world

where children perceive

their futures across borders

of nation and economy

of station and status


always asking with my praying hands

your praying knees

for opportunity.

Opportunities to break down walls

of ignorance and fear.

Are you afraid?

Am I afraid to wonder

what it would mean

if the mean of our beliefs

was a common God

averaged out to extraordinary love

for God and our neighbor

as common as our shared hope,

our shared prayers?

They warned me about you.

But they did not know you,

my neighbor.

This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.

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