My stomach was swimming, yet I felt confident in my decision. I knew though, in my gut, that every thing was about to change… forever. I held the phone tight in my hand; knuckles as white as the glow from the computer screen against the darkened room. The distance of the call was apparent by the muffled static in my ear. Maybe I was crazy, but I had been studying every religion I could find since I was eighteen and after three years of intense focused research, I found my truth.
“Are you sure this is what you want to do?” he asked in his rough thick accent.
“Yes, I know what I am doing,” I slammed back in my independent southern way.
“Ok, just repeat after me…Ash adu la illaha ila Allah, wa Mohamedou Rasuluh Allah.”
“Ashadu… la illah… ila… Allah… wa… Mohamed… Rasulla… Allah.”
“Now, let us say it in English.”
“There is no God, but God and Mohamed is His last messenger.”
“There is no God (inhale) but God (exhale) and Mohamed is His last messenger,” I murmured while something was being pulled out of my solar plexus. A force…a corpse of my former self, something was purged; sucked out of my being with such strength that I nearly fainted.
“Are you ok?”
“Uh, yea I think so… ” I thought so, but really was not sure. Something strange was happening to me and I did not know what. I felt in between worlds. I detected some thing dark hovering over and behind me, then dart. Shadows scattered in the corners of the room; crawling up the walls to oblivion. I was scared. I felt alive. I felt anew.
I suddenly thought about the term “Born Again”, that many converts to Christianity speak of and felt I understood finally. I was not a Christian though and that would be a challenge for me in the South. The difficulties I would face was a testament to my love of my faith. People trying to tell me what to do only made me stronger in my will.
“I think I need to take a shower. I just need to clean myself. Scrub off the past.”
“Ok, you go do that. It is a good way to begin your new life.”
“You are welcome. Asalamu alaikkum [peace be upon you].”
“Wa… laikum… salam.”