It’s a poet’s town.
1400 people sprawled out over 44 verdant square miles and rolling hills.
Winding dirt roads, a tiny village market and deli, a gas station and picturesque homes. A place where children can run completely unattended.
For me, it is a place where awkward disappears.
In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam’s husband tells her she must wear a burka. She is surprised to find she likes it:
And the burka, she learned to her surprise, was also comforting. It was like a one way window. Inside it she was an observer, buffered from the scrutinizing eyes of strangers. She no longer worried that people knew, with a single glance, all the shameful secrets of her past.
I spent many years wearing a burka myself. No, not a veil that covered my face, but there are plenty of other ways to hide oneself from the knowing eyes of people: alcohol, perfectionism, ministry, frenetic activity. And even though I’ve been transformed from the inside out by a Gracious God, and even though I’m delighted with my life, and even though I’m more than transparent these days, if I’m not careful there are moments when feelings of awkward still show up: in large crowds of people, when talking on the telephone, doing anything that requires excessive physical coordination, playing Jeopardy when highly educated people are in the room…all leave me with the slightest twinge of discomfort, a sense of awkwardness, a desire to put my burka back on.
But not here, not as I march along the dirt road lined with endless trees and dandelions that wave to me as though I’m a passing parade. Some of the dandelions are still in their youth, a bright yellow against a brilliant green landscape; others are gray haired and simply waiting to lift wishes to the wind. Although I don’t believe in dandelion wishes, I cannot resist. I pluck one from the wet ground, close my eyes and blow, thinking of my family back in Colorado. I open my eyes and watch the gray hairs floating downward.
Tractors and farm equipment are nearly as prolific as the dandelions-some rusted and cast aside, others shiny and new. And everywhere there are shades of green.
The humidity sits heavy, like a damp shawl about my shoulders, pinning my seafoam colored tank top to my back, until a gentleman breeze comes from behind and slips it off. I lift my arms skyward and grin. It is here, all alone, on a winding dirt road that my burka is completely removed; it is the place where awkward disappears beside a beautiful landscape painted by my very own, amazing Creator.
Later my mind wanders to some of the people who live here year round and have lost the sense of splendor, the folks that appear to be old men in children’s bodies. unable to see the miracles all around them. Instead they are simply waiting, doing time. It is a grace reminder for me; a reminder to stay aware that Christ in me is fullness of joy to be experienced right now. Sadly many believers are unable to see this, and go about their daily lives thinking glory is merely a future place.
The phrase in Christ is as prolific in the Bible as the dandelions on the side of the road. It is the place of reckless abandon; the place of fullness of joy. It is in the here and now.
And it is THE place where awkward totally disappears.
Grateful for this wonderful life,
Marie with a