Shade to Share

Posted on June 24, 2020 by Myra Crane

Is there anything more inviting than a spot of shade on a hot summer day? Recently my mind collided with the thought of it while I plodded through a sun-soaked, mid-morning jog. Beads of salty sweat dripped down my forehead, through furrowed eyebrows into my unprotected eyes.  Beyond the sting, I saw a willow’s shade. I ran to it.

Its canopy sheltered me from the sun’s ravenous reach, and its cooled air soothed my burning lungs. I lingered there; I didn’t want to move. Beneath this shade, I felt cared forand safe.  Everything about it was good.  

Some Muslim girls refer to their veils as their shade. My friend Ikraam wears hers very responsibly.

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Free for the Asking

Posted on June 3, 2020 by Myra Crane

Thoughts of language school in Pakistan stir up lots of memories, some delightful and some excruciating. This one is a bit of both.

One particular day our vocabulary teacher introduced us to the word safar. 

“Repeat after me,” she said. “Súh-fr.” We did, and of course, she kindly approved. 

Safar means journey, like when you travel. Often in Urdu words sound like the feeling they provoke.” She chuckled affectionately as she explained herself.  “When you travel in Pakistan you suffer, because the roads are very bad here. Maybe that will help you remember the meaning of safar.” She literally laughed out loud, and we all joined in. Anyone who has traveled at all knows that travel can mean many things to many people.

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Iftar Reflections

Posted on May 4, 2020 by Myra Crane

Just a minute ago I received a sweet text from a Muslim friend who will soon start cooking for Iftar, the meal with which Muslims break their daily Ramadan fast. She shared her mouth-watering menu with me. She’d probably invite me over if we weren’t in the midst of COVID-19 distancing. (Picture a sad face emoji here.) 

Ramadan is the month when Muslims reverence Allah’s initial revelations of the Qur’an to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. They fast food, water and sexual relations from sun-up to sun-down, in an effort to receive forgiveness from sin and earn Allah’s favor.

When our family lived overseas, we cherished visits with our Muslim friends during Ramadan. We enjoyed quite a few iftar invitations. At the appointed time we would snack on dried fruit, nuts, shami kebabs and savory samosas before diving in to a larger, delectable fare. A cup or two of creamy, cardamom chai usually topped off the feast.

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A Sanitizer Prayer

Posted on March 30, 2020 by Myra Crane

The only reason I haven’t joined in the frantic hunt for hand sanitizer this virus season is because I already have more than I’ll use. I’m a grandma AND the wife of an endearing germaphobe. I carry the stuff in my purse, along with a travel-sized package of germ-annihilating hand wipes. I make sure I’m able to sanitize well, no matter whose sneeze I’ve just neutralized …or when my concerned hubby might ask if my hands are clean. 

 

Before our current pandemic it had never crossed my mind that the alcohol content of sanitizer must be 60-95 percent to meet the necessary criteria for clean. It was a fact that didn’t seem to matter much before now.

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We All Need a Savior

Posted on March 24, 2020 by Myra Crane


Today my Muslim friend told me she is afraid. Her family is in our US city on an academic scholarship. All of a sudden they are cooped up in an apartment while their dreams of a great education begin to fizzle. She wonders if they should all go home. She’s afraid of getting sick.

 

These days all of us humans need saving from way too many things: growing potential COVID-19 contamination, job insecurities, financial loss and unknowns, isolation mandates, difficult work logistics, home schooling challenges, the unrelenting deluge of ominous news, emotional fatigue, and worry.

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The Shepherd's Love

Posted on March 11, 2020 by Myra Crane

Recently, I had a “moment” over coffee and croissants with a new Muslim friend. She is from Saudi Arabia, but for now she lives where I do. 

The freshly baked, chocolate-filled pastries were delicious. We chatted about more stuff we loved to eat, particularly a rice dish she had recently cooked, called kabsa. Then she wanted to know if I liked lamb, one of her favorite foods. In broken English she lamented its scarcity and how expensive it is in the few stores that carry it. She managed to explain how she and her husband drive to a farm about two hours out of town, where they can purchase good lamb from a farmer who kindly sells to them. Then I watched as my friend’s thoughts inevitably veered toward her Saudi homeland, where her parents and her younger siblings still live. She began to share about her dad. 

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Celebrating Christ with Muslims: Christmas Reflections

Posted on December 23, 2019 by Myra Crane

There is not a person in our family who would not be able to recount our first Christmas in the Muslim country where we served. It was a very conservative nation, and we knew before we ever went there that the context would not lend itself to traditional celebrating. We determined early on to do all we could to make it wonderful for the family and meaningful to our Muslim neighbors.

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The Power of the Cookie

Posted on December 16, 2019 by Aria Morgan

I found myself at her house late in the afternoon. My new Muslim friend *Muna had invited me over to learn how to make a traditional dessert from her home country. After settling down in her living room with cups of tea and light conversation, we moved into the kitchen where Muna walked me through the recipe step by step.

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Easter's Lamb

Posted on April 19, 2019 by Myra Crane

Easter is a time for reflecting. Gratefully we remember Christ’s cross, His very temporary grave, and the truth of His glorious resurrection. 

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Guarded Steps

Posted on April 12, 2019 by Myra Crane

I’m in a South Asian neighborhood in the Bronx, New York, looking out the window of a great city church into the face of a very large mosque, which sits just across the street. At this time of day, it’s mostly elderly-looking men in loosely fitting ethnic attire who enter its gates. A few veiled Muslim women, one or two with kids in strollers, have walked past but not gone in. 

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