August 24, 2010

when you have the chance to sit it out or dance...

I was excited at the prospect of visiting the Maasai village... until we were actually on our way. The fear crept up on me and as the kilometers between us and the village disappeared, so did my desire to be there. What exactly was I afraid of? Being social, I suppose... and not being able to make the most of an opportunity. I knew we would be invited to interact with the people, but as we bumped closer and closer, all I wanted to do was stay in the truck.

Even as we climbed down from the Land Rover, and we were surrounded by the little children, my instinct was to hold back. Looking over to Laura, I saw her in the midst of little ones clamoring over her to see their image on the display of her camera. So I began taking her picture...until I was utterly mesmerized by the parade of women making their way towards us singing their foreign song. Before I knew what was happening, I was taken by the hand, beaded collars passed over my head and I was being draped in fabric. And then... we danced.


I tried to repeat the foreign song and succumbed to laughter as I failed, as did Ava, my newest friend. I briskly handed over my camera, my jacket and every bit of fear I had padded my heart with, and I danced... with abandon and laughter and... joy. How welcomed and free I felt... and I recognized the gift that had been given.   I turned to Ava and asked her How do I say thank you?  She smiled and coached me through the syllables until I could repeat it... ashinanay.  And when I thought I finally had it right, I looked into her eyes, took her hand and thanked her, in her own language, for the beauty she had shared with me.  



While we were in the small village, we thatched the roof of a hut and Camden helped mud the inside (with a mud that surely included elephant poop.) We shared conversations about their life, and ours... and then we shopped from the array of treasures they layed out in our honor. Many times during our visit I turned to Ava and repeated the words she had taught me... ashinanay.  But when it was time, I said goodbye in the language of the heart... a hug.  Before we climbed back into the truck, I stood with my Mom for a moment and we turned for a last glimpse together.  Then put my arms around her sobbed a thank you.

That evening, at dinner, George (one of our wonderful drivers!) asked me if I had enjoyed the visit to the village.  I answered without hesitation Oh, yes!  George smiled, and told me that he had seen me dancing and laughing... and then he asked Why did you have tears?  With a deep sigh, I thought about the time we had spent with the Maasai, and then answered. They were so welcoming and open to us. They shared so much and the beauty struck my heart. And I cried... because... it was so very beautiful to me, and then because I might not ever pass this way again.
Maybe I will, and maybe I won't... but driving away from the beauty, I told my heart in no uncertain terms... to banish the fear.  I almost let it take away one of the most unique experiences of my life, and I would have been sorry... forever.   And this life we are given... it is not to be missed!

Today I celebrate breaking through the fear to find beauty within... and the beautiful and extraordinary place that brought me through it.  Thank you, Emily... for creating a place to celebrate a Tuesday.

Photobucket

17 comments:

Jo@Mylestones said...

Wow. Just wow.
"This life we are given, not to be missed." Amen!

Busy Bee Suz said...

So beautiful Dawn...you and your heart!!!

Kay said...

Such beautiful images, and a beautiful heart!

I'm bawling now...just so ya know. : )

Corinne said...

So very beautiful, Dawn!
Can't even begin to imagine what those moments were like for you.

Melissa | Madabella: made beautiful said...

How wonderful of God to replace your fear with beauty. A blessing indeed, a privlege really to be welcomed and loved by friends willing to cross borders of their own hearts. I imagine there are numerous moments you experienced that words will never do justice, but this is a powerful, life changing experience.

Elizabeth said...

Amazing, inspiring and beautiful. Thank you for sharing you experience - I could feel your every emotion through your words.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

What an experience, what a story to share.

togetherforgood said...

Well good heavens I'm crying all over the internet this afternoon. Dawn, this is just beautiful. I don't know what else to say. :)

elizabeth said...

AMAZING...BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY WAY!
And you thought my photos were good...oh my goodness!
Elizabeth
http://www.justfollowingjesus.com

Jen said...

I see movement, even in these still pictures.
Just awesome Dawn!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

This so touched my heart. What a beautiful experience you were blessed to have had. A wonderful and special experience. I am so happy you chose to dance!! :)

Dawn said...

I'm so glad you danced! When I saw that photo, I cheered you on! Go Dawn! What an amazing, incredible experience.

I hope I would have danced too.

Southern Gal said...

Oh, Dawn. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face. The pictures bring back so many memories of mission trips taken by Joy and my daughter, Rebekah. So glad you were able to take that trip and not miss out on one little bit of the experience because of fear. And I laughed at the picture of smearing mud/poop on the huts. That must be a job they get you to do to make sure you really want to be there? That's what I told Rebekah anyway.

Thank you for all your sweet comments and prayers for Joy. They were felt. Her legacy lives on in all the children, widows and poor she touched with her life. Her legacy will live on in The Joy Bausum Orphanage in Malaysia, too.
Hugs.

Graceful said...

I am just mesmerized by this story.

tracie @ {tsj} photography said...

oh friend ... what a beautiful gift to unwrap for us today. i feel chill bumps all over right now.

i'm loving this last image.

i can so relate to this post and these feelings and i LOVE how you chose to dance. thank you for sharing with us today!!!

imoomie said...

I am giggling with joy and crying at the beauty of your victory over fear and that you wholeheartedly embraced the moment.

You danced :) !

Ruby Red Slippers said...

LOVE THIS-What a memory-