Yes, I feel bare these days. People-peering-into-my-life bare. I-read-my –journal-entry-at-spiritual-formation-class-through-muffled-sobs bare. My-third-culture-kid-goes-to-play-therapy bare. There was something relatively easy about staying hidden, staying clothed, staying safe when I lived with people who were different. There was so much we couldn’t understand about each other. So many times when my culture and their culture bumped up against each other and instead of baring more of my soul, I hid my true self behind language insufficiencies and walked away. But now I’m here with people who call me “sister” and bare their hurts and dreams and aches and call me to do the same.
The realization dawns as a surprise in my mind that when I chose to veil myself in respect of my Islamic host country, I veiled pieces of my inner life. To be sure, that veiling was appropriate at times. Restraint is not always the correct posture but it doesn’t mean it never is. That veiling began when I was misunderstood. When my grandmother died and a neighbor asked how old she was as I wept and I said that she had lived eighty good years and the neighbor said, “Khalas.” Enough. No tears for the woman who lives eighty years. No tears for the mother who lost her mother. No tears for the future, knowing that you will one day bury your mother. Enough.
The veiling began when another colleague told me that I’d just have to get used to that when the shock of seeing a man hit another man with a large piece of lumber in my first few weeks in-country made me gasp. The tears fell again and again I was told, without being told, that I needed to not bare my heart, not bare compassion, not bare tenderness. Enough of the tears, dear. You’ll need to get used to a little violence.
The veiling began. I felt it; I embraced it; I lost some of me.
Now I find myself here. Exposed. And I feel these tender hands unveiling me. Showing me to write again. Asking me to walk into bare naked tears and cry them, for myself, for others. Gently pushing me into the spaces I wrapped up because the rawness of leaving them bare in a broken world was too much. He unveils me, leaving me bare and I see him, full of grace and truth, baring himself for me.
Let me tell you, if you start with Five Minute Friday, you will be changed! http://lisajobaker.com/2013/02/five-minute-friday-bare/