Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good Moments (and embarrassing ones)

For those not hip to our name changes, the names I use on this blog and my other blog, Testimony and Truth, are our native names that we've given to one another. Hubby is Kakitapi Ashunoah, I am Muhala Akamau, our oldest is Zwaraha Obigawe and our youngest is Tashumawe Nawagaki. Because each of us has such a lengthy name (!), I'll usually use abbreviations of some sort.

This photo of us was a good family moment. Except our youngest is refusing to smile. Both kids seem to have gone through a stage when they flatly refused to smile during photos. Bo-Bo is at the tail end of that stage, though; in fact, he's been smiling a lot more for photos (he turns two tomorrow!). But he had an off moment in this photo.

Speaking of 'off moments', I had a terrible one a couple of weeks back. It was the most embarrassing moment I'd had in a long while and though I'd love to forget about it entirely, I feel like it's going to stay with me a long time.

Such a naive new headcoverer I am! I try to wear my headcovering as often as I can when Ashunoah isn't around; as you know, he doesn't prefer it, so I try to make the best of those times, and -- surprisingly -- I am having a good hair week, but I digress...

So here I am skipping along, thinking all is well with the world now that I'm a headcoverer. I shopped along at my favorite thrift store during at outting with the boys a couple of weeks ago. I recognize what I'm sure is another headcovering woman (I'm sure of it!), and I'm also "sure" she will respond to me well when she finds out I'm a headcoverer, too. She'll be ecstatic!


I can't believe I even mustered the boldness to ask her, "Excuse me, are you a headcoverer?"

"What?" She had a little girl there with her, who looked to be a bit younger than my boys.
"A headcoverer."
"What's that?" She asked, turning her attention back to the clothing racks, clearly uninterested in me.

Uh oh.

"Um...women who cover their heads..." I said, rather shakily, wondering how on earth I was going to exit from what looked to be an emerging, majorly embarrassing moment.

"Yes, I'm a Nazarene Christian," she said, still searching the clothes, while I stood there with an awkward (unbelieving?) half smile. She couldn't have been less interested if she tried. I introduced myself and my sons, to which she offered a feeble, "Hi." She never introduced herself or her daughter and she kept her attention on the clothes on the rack, and I was just...well....standing there. Looking stuck on stupid.

She made it clear that she was done talking with me.

I pushed my cart past her, feeling like I wanted to cry. I felt so discouraged at that moment. Here I am facing this new challenge, joy and revelation in my life and this is how it is? I felt terrible and couldn't shake the weird way that woman had responded to me. Maybe I was the wrong color? I am not one quick to throw in the race card, but I wondered if she would have responded to me differently if I was white and wore a flowered dress down to my ankles.

As if that wasn't enough, I saw another woman, the next aisle over who looked like the Nazarene woman I'd just spoken to. I thought for a moment that they might be together, but hoped that wasn't the case. She probably couldn't have been any meaner than the woman I just left. I think they were together, though, as that was confirmed later. As I made my way to the checkout counter, I saw the two women together, talking. It looked as if the woman I spoke with was telling the other woman about her exchange with me, because the other woman was now looking at me. Oh, great, I think. It just keeps getting better and better.

I tried to erase the whole thing from my mind, but obviously, that's pretty hard to do, so I may as well write about it, right?

And, God forgive me, but the evil thoughts I had about this woman! I wanted to tell her off right then and there, up one end and down the other. I wanted to tell her I thought she was a perfectly lousy Christian and probably couldn't even convert John the Baptist with that nasty little attitude of hers. What would Jesus think, lady?!?...Oh, I wanted to ream her bad. You have no idea.

Mostly, I was hurt. Seems I've a little wising up to do. But...all a part of the journey, I suppose. Worse things have happened to far greater people.

Grace, beloved...


Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear this... no matter how busy we are we should be happy if someone approach us 'cause this can be opportunity to share our belief... so, with time you will learn that even someone has sign of submission on her head that doesn't mean that she is submissive in the heart... or polite... or kind... pray for her...poor, blind woman...

Muhala Akamau said...

How blind I am!! I hadn't even thought to pray for this woman, so overcome I was by my own hurt and anger. Thank you, dear sister, for reminding me of something so important.

God bless you...

Anonymous said...

I want to ask you about your native names... I remember that you gave explanation what that names mean but on what language?

Muhala Akamau said...

The native names come from our own 'created' language. One night hubby and I were watching 'Dances with Wolves' (Kevin Costner), and we decided that we wanted to have names that meant something too, so we each created a name for the other, complete with an 'ethnic' sound and meaning derived from positive characteristics we saw in the other. We'd gotten away from using them so much until recently, when we gave our boys their native names. Usually, around the house, we use our legal names (or some term of endearment) when referring to one another. But we also periodically call the boys by their ethnic names so that they will become accustomed to hearing and knowing it. They definitely do know them, too, and it's so cute. Even if they can't pronounce them yet! I've come to use my name more seriously of late, because of its meaning ('she who is loved by God and her husband'), and it also creates a sense of privacy out here in the 'web world'. :-)

Rosheeda said...

John the Baptist, huh? :-)

I'm sorry she was so rude to you. Goes to show that some of wht we do is just tradition and not a true act of a submitted heart. The beauty is that YOUR heart IS truly submitted in this.

Incidentally enough,I am soon going to find a prayer covering. Seems that all week anytime there is serious prayer of which I am a part, I end up with my head bowed and my arms and hands over my head - because I dont have any other cover with me.

I'd say you've started something, sis.


Muhala Akamau said...

What if God is up to something? What if He's gonna start a revolution!? I'm happy to be standing with my sisters on God's side!:-)

LisaM at ThoseHeadcoverings said...

I'm praying that you made a loving impression on both of those ladies - maybe other seeds have been planted. God continue to bless you and yours...

James Tubman said...

sorry im late ma lol

she betta not be messing with my blog mom

i dont take that

Alana said...

Dear Sister,

I've had similar negative reactions/snubbings from fellow headcoverers. Many have the attitude that if you aren't part of "My little group" then what you are doing doesn't count.

Try not to take it personally, and know that it wasn't just you, and that you aren't the only one who has ever experienced this sort of rejection.


Alana Juliana

lil_misschatterbox_28 said...

hahahah Sister I laughed when I read this, and smiled a knowing smile! I've been covering now for 4 months.. I'm a 20 year old unmarried woman I don't fit into any "group" either.. I attend an Anglican church, used to attend Baptist youth group, and my grew up in church of Christ. My style of dress is my own modest comfortable clothes.. no long flowery dressed for me either! And I'm not catholic/mennonite/amish/anabaptist/orthodox etc. Neither my mum (and amazing Christian woman), or any other Christians I know cover.. One or twice I have seen a few women who seem to be "headcoverers" (imagine my excitment, a few month before I wasn't aware they even existed!!) and after my broad smiles and (one-off) attempt to interact were met with hostility or disinterest I gave up! Actually I have had more shy smiles from Muslim women who are unsure as to whether or not I am muslim! I felt hurt, more than a little foolish and had the same thoughts as you, "This is NOT Christian behaviour!" but Praise God, He has used this as a lesson to keep me grounded in remembering the reason behind head covering, and serves as a warning that head covering rather than being an expression of humility can actually give rise to pride! It is also a reminder that as a Christian we are examples in Christ AT ALL TIMES. A grumpy or haughty attitude quickly betrays Jesus' teachings and makes hypocrites of us, Whereas a kind and friendly bearing can actually be a witness to others! How often have those who have come to Christ remarked that it is the loving and welcoming attitude of Christians that intrigued them! Good luck with covering, and it's good to know that if I ran into you one day, there would be one sister who would give me a smile back and maybe even a few words of support and encouragement!!

liz said...

As I sat there reading this I recalled too many times where I was hurt by a similar situation. Though I have been saved for several years, I really didn't begin to blossom and grow in faith until a few years ago. I often feel pushed aside by others. But then I thought to myself, how many times have I been the one that hurts another? Won't it be good when we no longer have to fight these battles, and instead live in sweet fellowship with the Saviour?

Thank you for visiting my blog the other day. New commenters (and friends) are always such a blessing as we strive to reach out to fellow believers via the internet.

Muhala Akamau said...

You are a gem...I've truly been blessed by you --- thank you! I appreciate your presence!

You found me hiding over here, huh?:-) It's strange to see a male around here, but you are more than welcome, so long as you don't mind our stories. :)

Thanks for the words of peace. I will try not to take it personally, and I've certainly felt the sting of it less as the weeks have gone by. Now I understand that I'm not the only woman who's experienced this. Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone.

It's a joy to have you here and over at T&T, too! I'm so thankful for these connections to other sisters, as many of us rely heavily on these since there are no other headcoverers in our lives. God bless are always welcome here!

Well said! Someday we will leave these hurdles and challenges behind (and I look forward to the day!). I found your blog refreshing, and I'm so glad you are there to lend many of us need it. God bless you and your family as you strive to walk faithfully with God.

Peace and grace...

Lucy said...

how horrible!!I apologize on their behalf.