Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Walking, Standing, Sitting

I had this post all planned out for this afternoon. But I just couldn't break away from the boys, nor did I feel I should. Our 2-year-old (Bo-Bo) is a sweet and mopey soul. He mopes around hoping to happen upon a snack ("Mama, I want some pancakes!") or some comfort food ("I want some cream of WHEAT!") or anything else remotely resembling edible pleasure. When he can't eat, he wants to help out ("Mama, I want to HELP you!"), so I knew I had to find some task to dig into, so that he could come along and help out. So that's what I did.

I sorted through my closet(s) and pulled out items for the local Salvation Army. Bo-Bo helped. Too many clothes! Though the closets in our house are small, my goal is to fit all of my clothes into our small bedroom closet that I share with Ashunoah. As it is, we have clothes in our bedroom closet, as well as clothes in the guest bedroom closet. Then you must sort through the colder-weather clothing, pack them away and pull out the warmer weather clothing. So, my neighbor has a friend who had decided she has too many clothes. My neighbor discovers that I am her friend's size. She tells her friend. So I regularly get very nice, higher-end clothing items from this very nice woman I've never met. And also, if you lived as close as I do to the best thrift store in the city, you'd probably end up with a bunch of stuff too. But I am not one to accumulate much, so my closet gets downsized on a regular basis, particularly when I feel the Lord is telling me to simplify my life.

In this last batch of clothes passed onto me by the very nice woman I've never met, there were several skirts. Here's where the tide starts to turn for me a bit. I know there are women who feel led to wear skirts or dresses all or most of the time. Quite honestly, I've never felt led in this way. Most folks would describe me as very feminine, whether I'm in a pair of comfy jeans, slacks or a long skirt (I don't do short skirts anymore), and most times I just feel more comfortable in jeans or slacks. But as I'm writing this book, I was reading through some pages of one of the women I'm writing about. She mentioned something about feeling like skirts and dresses show off less of our "assets" than slacks or jeans. Hmmm. Okay, I'd be willing to consider that. I don't think I'd ever heard it worded quite that way, or maybe I just wasn't listening before. I don't know. I know there are some slacks I may never give up, as you can't beat them in terms of comfort. For me, the BIG thing? Comfort. Comfort all the way. Sometimes comfort can come before style. I want clothes that move with me, clothes that don't bind, pinch, pull, separate or otherwise show skin I don't want revealed (midriff, lower back, chest area or legs). So, the nice lady I've never met who sends me clothes? This time she sent me skirts. Cotton ones. Ankle-length cotton ones. A-line, ankle-length, cotton skirts. Okay, they weren't too cute, but why was I loving them?! Because they were amazingly comfortable! Add to this a pair of cute, comfy sandals, a t-shirt and I'm good to go! So, in essence, if I wound up having more of these ankle-length "flowy" skirts, some of my jeans and slacks might get kicked to the curb. We take it a day at a time.

Similarly, many of my dear sisters feel led to grow their hair long(er). I've never really been in that camp, either. But guess what's been happening the past few weeks? My hair is growing, and I like it. No, I mean I really like it. Okay, so I joke, "Um, hi...1983 called and said she wants her hair back", but I love its fullness and body. It could easily become (more of) a vanity thing, but the headcovering cuts right into that. Just cover that sweet glory right on up.

A couple of weeks ago, Ashunoah and I watched a movie called Brick Lane that my mother-in-law recommended. It looked a lot like the movies I'm drawn to -- independents with an interesting plot. I think I've gotten hubby to like indie flicks, too, but action and suspense are still our favorites. And documentaries. Or maybe that's mostly me. But I digress. So this movie seemed right up my alley. Only it had adultery as a pretty big part of the plot. Hubby and I don't dig movies about adultery. They just serve to tick us off. And of course hubby and my mother-in-law end up having a spirited exchange after the movie was over. I'll spare you those details. But check it out: the female lead in the movie was an Indian woman living in India who covered all the time. She had been married for 16 years or so, and had a couple of kids. Her husband was a really good guy, much older than his wife, overweight, not terribly interesting, but very loving and kind. Of course the male lead was single, young, handsome, mysterious, passionate and very interesting. Their connection started out very innocently. She was doing some sewing on the side, in her home, to make extra money. He would drop off clothes that needed alterations. At the beginning, whenever this man showed up at her house, the married woman was always covered from head to toe --- especially her head. You could tell that she was very unaccustomed to showing her hair to anyone but her husband and kids. She'd be holding the head covering in place, to make sure no hair peeked out from any end. Then the attraction came. As it did, you could see the gradual change in the woman by the way her relationship to her headcovering changed. Ashunoah was very sensitive about this, and I was impressed that he really took notice. At the onset of the attraction, the woman still covered her head, but maybe she didn't pull the fabric as close to her head as she once had. She wasn't as concerned about making sure every square inch was covered. As the attraction further progressed, she grew more cavalier about her head covering --- it might drape loosely around her head. Later, the head covering moved further back on her head, exposing more of her hair. Still later, the covering draped loosely around her neck. By the peak of their passion, the man (still coming into her home --- this is where they conducted their affair) would knock on the woman's door and she would now greet him with no headcovering at all.

Isn't this something to really consider? Covering has great value in our lives, and I really enjoy having an outward sign of my devotion both to God and to my husband. But sin is sneaky, is it not? Remember the first Psalm? First you are walking, then you are standing, next you are sitting. Sin can sidle up to you that way sometimes....it's smooth and gradual. Sometimes you might not even feel it's happened. I loved the spiritual parallels I found in this movie (we are always looking for them!), and the way it provided a deeper understanding of why women cover, and what can sometimes happen when we don't. To be sure, we can sin with or without a covering. The issue in the movie was the woman's heart. As it drew closer to sin, and the full manifestation of that sin, it cared less about any outward sign or what that sign represented. I'm not saying I recommend this movie. I'm just saying that I got tossed lemons and tried to make lemonade. All in a day's work.

And with that, beloved, it's good night...

Grace to all,
P.S. Movie Spoiler (beware): I should say that at the end of the movie, the woman let the lover go, and seemed to understand that there were different kinds of love. She deemed the love she had for her husband to be the lasting kind. Hooray!


Ahavah said...

What a lovely and interesting post.

The hebrew word 'tznius' is an all encompassing word for 'modesty' and not only speaks to the way we dress -from top to toe but about our behaviour, our speech and our actions as well... just covering your hair is just a teeny tiny part of the gift.

Lucy said...

I *always* wore skirts and had long hair as a kid.

Muhala Akamau said...

Well said!

Thanks for dropping by. I think maybe the fact that I didn't wear dresses and have long hair as a kid kinda helped me not to be turned off to the idea as an adult. I mean, maybe it wouldn't have mattered either way. But I'm thankful I know about it now. God has us where we need to be at all times. I'm thankful your parents led you along such a good path. :-]

Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

Hello there, I am hosting a blog carnival in honor of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women who choose to cover their hair in obedience to their Lord. I linked this post in my carnival because I think it is so beautiful, insightful and inspiring. Thank you.

Muhala Akamau said...

What a grace. Thank you.