In 2018, I got a chance to go on a night tour in the Great Mosque of Cordoba. It was a fantastic experience. During its lifetime, this Mosque/Cathedral has passed from the Visigoths to the Arabs and then to the Spaniards. Anyone who has studied Spanish history knows that relations between the different groups of people in Spain were not always the best. Despite that, there are lessons of collaboration and understanding to be gleaned from this building. So, here are some life lessons from this amazing structure!
Life lesson #1: Build on what others have built before
One of the first life lessons the Mosque of Cordoba has to teach us is the importance of relying on others. Are you always focusing on being original, different, unique? Do you feel like you have to build yourself from the ground up?
Don’t be afraid to rely on others. Sure, times change. Sometimes the mechanics of the matter are different than they were twenty, thirty, fifty years ago. Nevertheless, people continue to be people.
The Mosque of Cordoba was built up, one culture on top of another. One material on top of another. They didn’t start over from scratch each time, they took what was good and built it up. From that, it’s clear you don’t always have to be original to make a big impact. Sometimes taking what’s already in the world and adding to it is more than enough to change someone’s life. Don’t be scared to rely on the people around you.
Life lesson #2: Don’t tear down the differences that make the world beautiful
It would have been so tragic if Spain had ripped down the Mosque because it was from a different religion. Excruciatingly tragic! Lucky for you and me, they didn’t and today we can still go visit!
Have you ever overlooked the beauty of something because it came from an unexpected source? Beauty can come from anywhere or anyone, no matter the culture, religion, or anything else.
Sometimes, the beauty lies in being different. This is the second of the life lessons that I took away from my experience. I learned about the Mosque of Cordoba the first time back in high school but I remembered it for so long because the red and white brick really made it stick in my mind. Not to mention those amazing arches! It’s so different and that is part of what makes it beautiful.
Another example? Well, people! Sure, there are some things in common. However, for the most part, the most stunning thing about people is that there are so many of them and there’s never a repeat! Ever! I have twin brothers. Although others sometimes mix them up, to me they look so very different (check out that picture). Not to mention, they’re two very different people personality-wise! Everyone is different, let’s not tear down others for their uniqueness.
Life lesson #3: Just because something is used differently than originally intended doesn’t mean it’s worthless
The final life lesson I wanna share with you today is about use and worth. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is also a Cathedral. It underwent “renovations” a while back which inserted an area for Christian worship. Notwithstanding, it isn’t any less moving for those changes. Perhaps it is not appropriate to use it for its original and intended purpose. Despite that, people from all over the world come to see this amazing building. It still changes people’s lives. It is still inspiring and informative.
For information on this image go to the Wikimedia Commons.
You ever feel like you’ve taken away something that may not have been originally intended, that adds meaning to your life? Something that maybe wasn’t originally intended by the creator of the thing?
Examples, please? When studying scripture, one method of dissecting the information is through exegetical analysis. You try to see the info in context and then decipher the meaning for the original audience. However, you can also take a hermeneutical approach. That entails looking at the info in the context of your life. It wasn’t intended purpose, but it’s no less meaningful.
Life Lessons: A lasting impact
The first time I visited, I went to the Mosque with a dear friend. I hope someday I can visit the Mosque of Cordoba again with my family so that they can see it and learn their own life lessons from this structure. But even if I don’t make it back, I learned valuable lessons from this place that will continue to impact me for years to come. If you want to know more about the Mosque of Cordoba, go ahead and visit this Lonely Planet post. It gives some more information about the history of the building and even mentions the night tours (I highly recommend that one, it was amazing).
If you are looking to travel, Thea Olsen writes this article How Traveling Can Be Spiritual that explains several places she visited and also explores how you too can make traveling possible. Go ahead and check it out!
What are some of the places you’ve visited around the world? What lessons did you take away from your experience? Feel free to post in the comments below!
The source for the cover image was also Wikimedia Commons.