Karen Hernandez: Reflections at the Parliament

30 August 2015, 1:46 PM
goup photo

Karen with URI sisters Potre Diampuan and Despina Namwembe at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City, UT, USA

The last five days at the Parliament of the World's Religions has been a whirlwind of learning, meeting new and incredibly interesting people, seeing old friends and colleagues, and realizing more and more that I am on the correct vocational path.

As I walked through the Salt Palace on the first day of Parliament, I was reminded of how I felt the very first time I attended Parliament in Melbourne in 2009. People from all over the world, dressed in beautiful, spiritual garments that give you a sense of what religion they are, or what their roots are. More, the sense of community and wonder is palpable. Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Baha'i's, Sikhs, Humanists, Wiccans, and those I really connected with this time at Parliament, Native Americans and Indigenous people from the world over have graced my path.

Panels after panels are available to attend, which I love. I got to listen to Karen Armstrong, Tariq Ramadan, and my favorite speaker this time, Jane Goodhall. Since I was a child, I would sit, listen to, and watch Jane Goodhall on PBS, or read about her. Her consistent, not to mention, altruistic way of being in this troubled world of ours, brings a sense of hope that I don't receive from many others. I feel truly blessed that I was able to hear her speak in person.

I leave Parliament full and in awe, but, I also leave with a sense of urgency. There is much to remember.  Much to be done. Much to adhere to. Because it isn't just about talking and being seen and networking at Parliament, it is about taking what you have gleaned from all the amazing people who touched your soul and doing something with that gift to make a difference in this world.

As with all my URI brothers and sisters, I leave with a desire for peace to prevail on earth.

May it be so.