I close the bedroom door softly and step out into the early morning cosiness of a house warming up after cool night.
My long, soft, black robe hangs loose as I pad down the stairs into a world that looks like a black and white photograph in the gray early light, the lack of colour reinforcing a lingering shudder in my soul.
I just finished listening to an audio book that I borrowed from the library, by Carmen Bin Ladin: Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia. The book left me filled with sadness for the author and her three daughters and also horror at the darkeness of a religion practiced with fanatic piety and brutal punishment of disobedience.
Carmen's face on the cover captivated me with its exotic beauty. I was drawn too, by curiousity--what was life like "inside the kingdom,"--in a world as hidden as its women, in their black abayas and thick veils?
From the first word I was spellbound and held in fascinated dread and a tension that built with each chapter. Carmen's story was painful to listen to; a story of fabulous wealth but inhumanity, hypocricy and suppression.
The book made me grateful for our freedom, so easily taken for granted. It forced me to realize that many in this world live in a system that controls and oppresses.
I am grateful for a faith that teaches the infinite value of each individual regardless of race, gender, wealth, or level of intelligence or ability--and I am grateful that my faith is built on love above all else.
The morning light intensifies, bringing with it colour and chasing away the shadows. I breath deeply the air of freedom.
1 John 2:9-11 (The Message)
9-11Anyone who claims to live in God's light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It's the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God's light and doesn't block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn't know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.