The Septembers of Shiraz

septembers of shirazI just finished reading “The Septembers of Shiraz” by Dalia Sofer. It really made me think a lot about religion, privileges and circumstances.

I’ve learned over the past few years that it is difficult to be friends with people that are not in the same class as you financially. The main reason has a lot to do with how money makes others feel.

For those who have abundance and can buy their own freedom, they can’t trust those who do not have these same privileges. Why? Because the green eyed monster can take its toll. In places like Iran (where the setting in this book takes place) where the mullahs rule, having abundance is looked down upon.

They will rob a man who worked hard to have the finer things in life. They will say that they have a right to those things. They take from others what they did not earn. They justify their thievery by saying that someone who worked hard for those things did not deserve them.

The thing is, we see this everywhere. People who are less fortunate blaming those who are fortunate and worked hard. That’s not to say that everyone doesn’t work hard. It’s just sometimes people think that people that are more fortunate didn’t earn it or work hard for it. We all do…but the type of labor performed is different in every circumstance.

Some people work 18 hour days and even though they have a family, they are married to their work moreso than to their own families. They miss out on that treasure because they’ve determined that providing for them was more important then nurturing them.

Others make their family their priority, and in some people’s eyes, that makes that family the richest family around. Some people can’t have a family, so seeing a couple with a few kids running around will make them a little bit jealous.

What one man’s fortune is can be different for the next man. It doesn’t always involve money. Being fortunate requires a lot of work in life (no matter how it’s performed). We oftentimes give up one thing so that we can have another thing.

I gave up the thoughts of getting married and having a family of my own because I was more fortunate in my career. I’m already well aware that if I were to have a family I would have to choose whether to give up my career or let my children be raised by nannies. With the way my life has been going, it’s better to just forego making that decision and continue doing what I’m doing…that is until God changes my circumstances.

A lot of people assume I’ve always had money. The truth is…there was a time when I had to hit rock bottom in life and try to be the starving artist in order to realize what it was I wanted out of life. I remember how my diet consisted of chicken broth (which ironically is still the case but that’s due to different circumstances).

During that time, I didn’t have a choice…I could only afford chicken broth. Now, it is a choice.

I always like to remind myself of where I came from and how I rose above those circumstances to be where I am today. I was fortunate in my path in life. But this is my path. It is not meant to be traveled upon by anyone else but me.

We make choices as we go along this path in life. We have a choice of suffering or letting go of the suffering and realizing that we don’t have to suffer in life. We are in charge of our own life and the choices we ultimately make.  Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” is a great example of this.

When people allow jealousy in to dictate how they will treat the next person…it’s not right. Shakespeare did not call it the green eyed monster for nothing! Jealousy is a monster. It changes people. It makes them bitter, evil and mean. It does not serve anyone any good to be jealous. It only promotes more hate in the world.

The “Septembers of Shiraz” really made me think a lot about life and our circumstances. It’s not just a story of a Jew that is thrown in prison by mullahs in Iran. It has a lot of deep meaning to it.

It also really made me dislike religions even more. It’s just amazing how much hate is spread if you believe differently then the next person. To be ridiculed, tortured and forced to believe in something you don’t is to me…absolutely STUPID. Can’t we all just get along?

You believe how you want to believe. I’ll believe how I want to believe. The only thing we can agree on…is just being neighborly. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

About Michelle Kenneth

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