Birds of varied feather can be heard singing outside in the trees. A sun descends into twilight as Iftar approaches; a cross - culture, interfaith feast of roast chicken, Persian basmati cherry rice with saffron, kabob koobideh with white onion, cucumber salad, sangak bread, naan and more awaits. Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, friends and strangers gather to pray together, then break the Ramadan fast with an offering of fresh watermelon juice and sweet dates before gathering to break bread.
Ramadan --- a time for everyone wanting to pay heed to those who go without in this world; the impoverished, the destitute and the poor. A time to reflect on those who suffer, those who seek shelter and those in this world lacking the most basic of needs, a chance to walk in shoes not one’s own. On this particular evening, three Christian women are present, two of whom venture a chance to experiment the art of veiling, even if but for a moment. As soon as prayers end and the fast is officially broken, golden haired, blue eyed Madison, a behavioral therapist, approaches her friend Dakoda, a nurse, wearing a black shawl with a red hibiscus print. The atmosphere if filled with mirth and merriment. A third friend, Leah, also a nurse, looks on as Madison offers Dakoda an ivory satin scarf with decorative scattered roses. “Try this.” She says exuberantly. Madison has achieved the placement of an ivory satin veil upon her own head and now wants to share what she’s learned.
Apparently, there’s an art to it.
“Roll your hair up!” Madison explains as she affixes the veil onto Dakoda’s platinum tresses. “Hold on. One side needs to be longer…and then you wrap it to the other side like this...” She continues and the two manage to step into another faith not quiet their own. It’s that simple. This is what faith is about--- stepping out of one’s comfort zone with an open heart and willingness to learn. The girls will eventually unveil themselves with mirth and merriment because, for them, the veil of decency, self - respect and dignity is worn on the inside and that’s OK.
What matters most is that there is a place at the table for everyone’s voice to be heard.