My eldest sister called me on Friday evening asking me if I could make some cupcakes and lasagna for her, she was having friends over on Sunday and her son loves my cupcakes. Not a usual request, we are always baking in my family, each of my sisters is known to have specialty dishes, and so if I wanted chocolate cake or chicken pie or what ever, I knew which sister to ask.
When I arrived yesterday afternoon, I was greeted by her husband, the men were in the living room watching some game on television and the women and kids were outside by the swimming pool. This sister of mine loves to entertain. I went outside to greet my sister , I wasn’t planning on staying long when a lady walks up to me , kisses me on both cheeks , calls me by my name , telling me I still look the same , I haven’t changed one bit. Flattered but puzzled I had no idea who she was or from what stone she crawled out of. I joined the ladies at the table, they offered me some ice tea and I continued listening to their conversation bashing my brains hoping that something this woman said would ignite my memory and I would remember her, but I came up with nothing. My sister makes friends so easily, she knows so much people, but this woman seemed to know me.
I kicked off my heels and went over to the swimming pool to dip my feet in the water and enjoy a few minutes with the kids. I knelt over to kiss me nephew and my sunglasses fell in the water, with all this drama of the kids rushing to get my sunglasses out of the water and splashing me wet, I didn’t notice this woman was standing next to me. “Do you remember me?” She asked with a smile. Embarrassed I admitted that I couldn’t remember where I knew her from, so she told me.
My eldest sister went through a tough time with the father of her children, she had her first child out of wedlock and at one stage, she faced a financial crisis and moved into a neighborhood where there lived majority Moslem people. The houses were spaced very close to each other and there was a Moslem family on each side of the house, in front and behind. Since she was unmarried and battling financially she asked me to come live with her for a few months. Each Saturday when she went to work, I would be home and I got into this habit of playing gospel music while cleaning up. On this one particular day, I turned up the music really loud and was dancing with the feather duster and vacuum cleaner, just praising God, dancing and singing loudly forgetting my surroundings. At one stage I was upstairs , dancing and carrying on in my own little world when something made me turn to the window and I saw this Moslem woman and girl standing there watching me . I am a very private person and I went into shock knowing they saw me dancing and carrying on like that.
I dove into the carpet, rolled on the ground, yanked the hem of the curtain until it was closed, stuck my hand through the curtain and closed the window, shut off the music. I don’t know where I got those army moves; I was never in the military. I was so shy. Immediately my mind attacked me and won. If you are going to be embarrassed to serve God, He is going to be embarrassed to acknowledge you one day, I kept telling myself. For days I had this debate with myself , I was shocked that I felt embarrassed but because I didn’t want to offend my sisters neighbors or seem like a religious nut case , I just decided to listen to my music through my earphones instead.
That girl in the window was this woman standing next to me, and that was the summer her grandmother passed away, she was battling stomach cancer. She went on to tell me that, her grandmother was a Christian lady, who embraced another religion because of a pregnancy. I don’t remember her grandmother; I just remember the vision of this lady standing in the window with most of her face closed with a scarf. I was uncomfortable.
She went on to tell me that her ailing grandmother heard the music, got out of bed, stood by the window smiling and called her to come see me enjoy my Christian music. The old woman told her grand daughter, “look how free she is” and smiled.
I was on the other side of the fence, embarrassed and full of shame and going through a mind battle and beating myself up because now I probably look silly in their eyes, while someone else thought I was free. Everyday when I went to work I remember seeing this girl and she would wave to me, I just smiled and kept walking, it took me a while to get over my embarrassment. Sometimes we create drama that’s completely uncalled for, I remember this incident so specifically because it was such an embarrassing moment for me, how people view me was so important. Now years later, I am seeing the situation through the eyes of someone else and it’s surprising. I sometimes wish I knew then, what I know now, I am sure my life would be so much different, but I had to go through the things I did in order to learn, it was the only way.