Thursday, September 1, 2011

Really Seeing

G has loved having this time in the middle east.  At least once a week he says to me, "I hope it's stable enough for us to come back someday."  He talks about it being a beautiful, but very much war torn country.  His heart breaks when he hears other disparage it, reminding them that a dictator tore it up for kicks for decades.  So yes, it's a poor country in many ways.  But the culture and the people of it are beautiful. 

I love countries that are so different from our own.  As much as I love metropolitan areas, my favorites from my trip a couple years ago were definitely Turkey and Egypt.  I found both to have this sort of hospitality mindset that was surprising.  This warmth.  Their countries might in some ways not be as "sophisticated" as ours, but their pride in it was beautiful. 

I had picked up a large pashmina in Turkey at a local market that I wear all the time.  And I bought a couple scarves with gold threads woven in from a boy in Egypt.  So when G said he was going shopping I told him I would love to have a scarf from Iraq.  He found one today in a shop that a local he knows/works with was the best on base.  It's beautiful, warm colors that I can't wait to wear this fall. 

I want us to go to these places some day.  To be able to safely walk around the market places and take tea at a small cafe.  To see some of our faith's sites, because they are spread all throughout the middle east. Until then, we have photos, and a scarf to remind us of this place we hope to tread in the future.

1 comment:

  1. The Middle East is indeed a wonderful, warm place. I attend a Middle Eastern church (Melkite Catholic), which has seen a surge of new parishoners as a result of the more recent troubles have sent the minority Christian population overseas for safety, and spent the last couple of high school years in a Muslim country. In those days, before the surge of the extremists, interfaith relations were very good. My best friend was a local Muslim girl, and our Muslim driver reported to my younger brother that among the servant population in the American diplomatic community, our family was held in esteem because we practiced our religion, were respectful of the local traditions (e.g., we would never interrupt our chokidar, or guard, to open our front gate when we returned home if he was in the middle of his prayers ), and treated people well. In fact, one of our servants, a conservative Muslim and a rather naive young man, once sat himself down in my father's office and told my father that he approved of him. Now that is a true compliment and one to be taken seriously, given that, as the saying goes, "No man is a hero to his valet." Sophistication, on the whole, is a mere veneer, which can add pizzazz, but isn't something to be taken very seriously.