So I'm sitting with a patient, a young Muslim woman of Pakistani extraction who is in to talk about the depressed feelings she's had since breaking up with her boyfriend of seven years. Seems he had emotionally moved on and she's been heartbroken ever since. In addition she belongs to a fairly small Muslim sect so shidduch possibilities aren't the greatest. Despite being in her very early twenties and a nice looking girl she's genuinely worried that she'll be single for the rest of her life.
I ask her how she deals with her fears and she says that her religion gives her strength. Then she pauses.
"I don't know if you'd understand."
I ask her why.
"Well, um, I don't want you to think I'm being offensive but..." (long pause) "do you believe in God?"
Now it's my turn to pause for an instant. Then I point to my kippah.
"I'm Jewish. We came up with the idea of Him in first place."
"Oh," she says, "I didn't know that. Wow. Anyway..." and on she goes.
* * *
In one of the ER's I work in there is an older lady who is an African nun. She's also a good ER doc and she's always interested in talking with me when our shifts overlap. I think she's looking for another religious person to talk to and there aren't that many in this ER (or any others I've worked in, come to think of it).
So the other night I come in to replace her for the overnight shift and she stops me and says: "Lord Ironheart, there are Jewish Chrisians, right?"
I pause because my first answer has at least two offensive words in it and she's a nice lady who clearly didn't mean anything insulting so it wouldn't be fair to unleash them on her. So I rephrase as best as I can and say "Um no, none at all."
"Well," I say knowing that I have to tread carefully, "you know all that stuff about God in a body, dying for our sins and the Trinity?" She nods vigorously. "Yeah, well we don't believe in any of that. In fact, it's against our faith to think of God doing anything like that."
She looks stunned. "You don't believe in J----s?"
I shake my head. "Nope."
"That's incredible! I never knew that!"