I wonder if each and every one of us has a version of a burka in life? The thing that we put on before going outside that keeps us hidden and obscure from the world.

I saw a woman today getting out of the passenger side of a small SUV. She had on a burka-like covering. A burka is a covering worn by Muslims that cover the head and body most often to conceal a female’s identity. It can include a veil over the face that very much obscures who she is.

In some ways it would seem that the burka or hiddeness becomes her identity. She is hidden from the world. She sees but remains unseen, she is a spectator not a participant. She is not heard or known. She is covered by a tarp. It was 90 degrees out today.

I wonder how she feels about wearing that covering? As part of her cultural and religious beliefs she may enjoy it, she may simply endure it or feel safe beneath it, understanding that traditions bring security. She may believe it is valuable and necessary. She may not. But how would we know what she thinks?

I wondered if she wanted to rip it off, but didn’t feel she could do what she wanted. Did she have even an inkling to be free from it, to emerge from behind the heavy cloak like a butterfly from a cocoon. Does she feel that it defines who she is or who she could be, does she resent it, does it stifle her ability to breath in a world that comes to fear what they cannot see. Does she appreciate the power? or feel a lack of power? What are her thoughts? What is she capable of? Is she afraid? Alone? Angry? I couldn’t tell. Neither could she.

As women we fight similar battles, burka or not. Women throughout history since the beginning have been arguably the most oppressed people populations on the planet. Have we sewed our own burkas, or are they forced upon us?

I do not wear a burka, yet there was something about hers that gave my personal feelings of hiddenness a visual to reflect on. I don’t wear a burka but I often wear a disguise, hiding my true self. I wear coverings that I cannot seem to remove. sometimes they feel safe. sometimes more like a prison. At times my burka covers my flaws , other times my potential.

Why can’t i do the things i want to do? Why do I keep myself under wraps? who will I disappoint if I take off this shroud?

Lately I feel it is 90-degree day and I can’t breathe. I feel smothered behind a wall of inability to move forward, dream bigger, do something and be something different. It’s not wrong to want to do something different or to be free from the parts of yourself that feel have cloaked you in fear or weaknesses or deception.

Often I feel I am bound up behind and underneath a certain system, a covering that at one time was true for me, good for me, my training wheels per say, perhaps my own ideals. A place I felt safe and that I thought I believed in or understood and accepted. I am older now, I want to find a way out, grow. I want to reveal myself to the world that I may become part of it, the way Jesus became part of ours, to make a difference we have to be that difference.

I want to be free of the ideas that have kept me captive to a mindset, a lifestyle and tied to an outcome that I wait for day after day, year after year, but it never seems to arrive.

Who is under that cloth covering? I don’t know her. I don’t know her name, her background her loves and hates. She is just a woman to me on the side of the road. Perhaps there is more to her, to me, to all  those who remain veiled and buried by fear and tradition. I don’t want to be just a woman on the side of the road.

I find that I lie dormant beneath the weight of my personal burka, like a flower frozen in the ground under a blanket of snow. I’m sad for her, though she may be perfectly content. I’m sad for her because in her I see myself. I’m sad for me, I’m not perfectly content, is that wrong? Sinful? I do want to tear off the things that keep me isolated and unseen. and i’m not even sure what they are so where do I begin? How? How do we break free? I’m sad for the peoples that are a mere splinter of humanity.  I don’t want to be a blotch but a voice.  When is it time, what is the indication and ripeness that permits the unseen to be noticed, to come forth, to orient to life, freedom and joy.

Sometimes we need to question our systems. Take risks, live our lives. But then again that is a concept for someone who lives outside the burka. Sometimes we are the ones keeping ourselves behind shadows. and until we come out from the burka we will never feel the sun only the heat. God has created men and women without burkas, without masks and Without heavy loads that burden our hearts.

So why do we hide? The world might reject us, rape us, strip us of our beauty and hate us, murder us. We might cause the entire population to sin and be punished for it for all eternity… or we could believe something different. We could for a moment entertain the thought that sin has been paid and we are free to do what we were created to do – Like be a counterpart, a corresponding item, an equal. What if instead of being the thing that caused the world to sin and be punished what if we might cause the world to be holy, to be righteous to wake up and to see! What if Jesus came to the woman first and he revealed himself to her, so she would reveal him within her?

What if our voice resonates and reflects the voice of our maker? What if the song that comes forth soothes humanity the way a mother soothes her child? What if our existence threatens the purpose of man? Because through us the world is introduces to the one true and living Word of God. What if our potential and reason for existence is to bring forth the messiah? Is that blasphemous? if so then I am a blasphemer, because I believe what the bible says that it was a woman who brought forth the Messiah the first time, and I believe it will be for the sake of a woman and for the love of his bride, Messiah will come out of his own hiding a second time to free her from the world that so faithfully oppresses her.

Perhaps it is not that the world fears women, but fears itself in the presence of a woman. The world may fear its own feelings, thoughts and actions-the ones it cannot control in the face of a woman and what she represents?

There are religious rules in every organized and established religion and the religious dutifully live within the boundaries of them because we believe them, we were raised in them, we have come to love them.  I realize also there are rules in every nook and cranny of life that we have come to accept. Rules are not bad or wrong. Sometimes they are there to protect us, sometimes to define us but sometimes to suppress us.

We do them to be loved, to be accepted to be safe to understand the world around us. Will there come a day when we violate them , tear off the things that conceal our identity, the dark shadows that shroud our very existence, and live as God intended us to live free and seen.

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