As my friends and I followed the salesman down the hallway to see where the rugs were being made, I realized this was the first time I’d see a group of Moroccan women since arriving in the country two days before. A woman had decorated my arm with henna at a family-run apothecary and I’d visited the colorful courtyard outside the university founded by a woman in 859 AD, but almost all the people I’d seen seated in cafes and gathered at the market had been men.
The women sat on cushions in front of their looms in beautifully embroidered black dresses. Their massive rugs were in various stages of completion as their children played together nearby.
“Most of the women work at their homes,” the salesman explained quietly as he led us along the corridor, “but a few prefer to work here.”
I think of these craftswomen when I read about Mary traveling to visit Elizabeth. Both women are experiencing miraculous pregnancies, and many in their communities will not believe them. But together, they accept and celebrate each other. Together they share their concerns and joy. It must have been a treasured time of support for them amidst their rigid culture and difficult circumstances.
Like the Moroccan women who choose to gather as they create, we draw near to each other when the challenges we face are bigger than we are. Our gathered community helps us to stand firm against opposing forces, to tell the truth when our voice shakes, to discern creative solutions, and to implement the wisdom of God. Our gatherings, like the work itself, are tremendous blessings. May we reach out for one another, gather together, and gratefully weave God’s blessing.
With whom are you safe to be yourself? Who do you seek out when you face challenges? How can you support those experiencing a hard season?
Lord, help us believe that what you have spoken will be fulfilled. Show us the safe corners where we can find and be in community. Amen.