Day 7 is complete. For most of the day the kids and I stayed home because my daughter Guinny has a horrible cold. I did my work for church on my computer while the kids played on iPads and ran around the house playing tag and hide and seek. After nap time my husband and I decided that we would take the kids to the Riverfront Museum. We have a love/hate relationship with that place. The kids really love it, but we’ve been there so many times that Jeff and I want to gouge our eyes out. We went through the “Stuff” exhibit first, which are random collections of peoples things, from cases of butterflies and rhinoceros beetles to beanie babies and Pez dispensers. I like that part. Then we ran off to the play area…which is the area that Jeff and I are sick of, but the kids adore. We played with blocks, at water tables, threw softballs, and shot basketballs. It was fun, but after an hour and a half, we were ready to be done. The evening out ended with dinner at Qdoba. It was good. Not a lot of stares or weird interactions the whole day.
I guess today is a day for reflection. It’s been one week. So far it’s been a positive experience. But there are a few things that I wonder about. I would say that I am usually a friendly person, one who says hi to moms and their little kids in the grocery store, or to the covered women in the aisle at Walmart…but I wonder if I’m going above and beyond that simply because I’m wearing the hijab. Am I being extra smiley or happy because I want people to accept me with hospitality even though I’m wearing a hijab? I feel like maybe I am, and I don’t know what to do with that. And if I am doing that, am I getting a real feel for what it’s like to be a Muslim woman in America? Don’t get me wrong, my Muslim friends are very warm people, with open arms and friendly personalities. But I guess I want to know how they feel out in the world-at the grocery store and the park. I guess I should just ask. I think I will, and I will share what I learn here on my blog.
I’ve unfortunately also learned that I am judgmental. If you’ve read Day 3, you already know what I’m talking about. I’m always speaking out about how a few extremist Muslim groups don’t speak for the majority, and that I know tons upon tons of Muslims personally that would never condone such acts. And that we should get to know people before grouping them in with stereotypes that the media feeds to us. But on Day 3 I quickly and wrongfully judged a man wearing cammo in Pekin, Illinois. I assumed he hated me and what I stood for, and all the while he was just a nice guy with a toddler, just like me.
This first week has also been humbling in terms of this blog. Word is spreading way more about what I’m doing than I ever thought it would. I do like to see that people from all over the world stopped by to see what’s up here…places I would have never dreamed of-Egypt, Saudi Arbia, UAE, Morocco, Spain, Jordan, Netherlands, and the list goes on. It’s insane! I even have an interview tomorrow morning with a website that searches the depths of the internet for good stories, and thinks that mine is worth writing about too! Weird. I hope that together we can change peoples views, break down barriers, and love on another.
Keep spreading the love.
Grace and Peace.