a bun doesn’t fit . . .

July 7, 2012

As a part of our closing ceremonies last night, many of us wore clothing we had brought from our respective countries. I had known ahead of time about this event, so had packed the most striking article of clothing I own. Sure enough, once I had donned the garb and was making my way through the crowd, I attracted a fair bit of attention. I think I may have even frightened one of the little children there . . . yes, as some of you may have guessed, I was wearing a Burka. Apparently it had a rather dramatic effect in that large church auditorium setting, with some of the crowd lined up at a barbeque buffet and others sitting at folding tables that filled the gymnasium. But the Burka does not readily lend itself towards dining ease [not for an inexperienced wearer such as myself, at least], so as soon as I had roamed about a bit, curious to see who would know it was me, I shed the cloak in order to dine. Shortly thereafter, I saw a friend I hadn’t spoken to yet and she noticed that my hair was not up as it usually is. I shrugged and said that, “A bun doesn’t fit in a Burka.” As soon as the words had popped out of my mouth, I paused at the oddity of them. She laughed and said that sounded like the title of a book. “Hmm—it does, doesn’t it? It does indeed . . .”
And I have been musing on that thought ever since. You see, there is so much packed into that little statement: so many layers of meaning if you think about the life of women where I live—about the life of this one dance-prone, free-roaming, song-singing, word-loving librarian. So very much.
Traveling again now, I also muse on the training session that has just ended. I will miss it. It frustrates me how times like this are so rushed; it is often not until the end that I start to feel settled enough to appreciate the things I’ve learned and the relationships that have begun and deepened. Two weeks of sleeping, eating, studying, and playing together. Well, not so sure about the sleeping part, actually: with a “dorm room” of an elementary classroom filled with cots, and approximately 100 people housed like this in one church/school building, you can imagine that sleep was not necessarily the easiest thing to come by ☺
But we surely did grow together. This morning I was moved, and awed, by the last meeting time of my small group of women. I’m not so great of a talker, when it comes down to what really touches me, so it caught me off guard that I time of spoken affirmations could turn out to be so significant. When working with children all the time, I think it is a struggle for me to let down my guard when I have some sort of role, like I did here. I forget to listen, and to learn, and to not just assume that I have to play a part and be a certain person, or a certain sort of person, in order to live up to the expectations of the moment. So as we shared with each other the ways in which we had all grown from, and learned from, the others in our group, I was amazed by how insightful these beautiful women were about the ways we touched each others’ lives. And I was honored. Honored to be a part of a community in which we are unified by a faith that crosses continents, languages, and nationalities. Honored to see such beautiful hearts, and to be welcomed into them. Honored to be seen, known, and loved.
As the journey of this season of my life continues, I have another foot photo. Enjoying a night out, we decided to take advantage of our unique location for a bit. So we crossed a bridge, came right back to the other side, and drove a bit in the opposite direction, in order to fit 3 states into one evening outing. Before crossing the river, I decided to play a bit with this side of it, and “step” into Arkansas while my behind was firmly planted in Tennessee. I’ll assume my readership to be savvy enough to figure out what the 3rd state of the evening was ☺

One Response to “a bun doesn’t fit . . .”

  1. […] “A bun in a burkha.” The closing piece of this manuscript was the entry with that same title, in which I concluded that the manner in which my “bun” did not fit in my burka was […]

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