Learning the Language of Hope

Shame was a language I learned early, right along with how to say “please” and “thank you.” There was an unspoken etiquette we learned growing up in the Southern United States. The tea should be sweet. You should address people older than you as “ma’am” and “sir.” I knew the taste of collard greens and […]

I Won’t Look Away

Our eyes grew wide in disbelief at the yelling, shoving crowd. We had been warned, to be fair, that our trip to the Mogamma, the towering government building in Tahrir Square, would be difficult. But this was something entirely otherworldly. We clutched our passports to our chests and braced ourselves against elbows to the ribs. […]

Life Lived From the Middle

I bristled when I received a message from an editor at a publishing house asking if I was working on any projects. “I can’t write a book now,” I thought. “I’m still living in this messy space of transition between Asia and America, between old dreams dying and not yet discovering the new. Standing on […]

Don’t Be Afraid of the Unraveling

Life is not a matter of creating a special name for ourselves, but of uncovering the name we have always had. – Richard Rohr My sense of the self I try to project, the name I hope to make for myself, started to unravel one day when I was deep in my own thoughts, walking […]

May You Bloom

There’s something inside you waiting to unfurl. It is quietly growing beneath the surface. You can feel it gathering itself up, the momentum of its growth building. How it began is a mystery. What it will become is yet to be seen—even to you. But in its time, if you nurture it well, it will […]

Our Hope Rises Higher

Surveying the damage, they can’t imagine life again after the storm. They can’t yet see the trees that will grow to replace those pulled up by their roots. They can’t picture anything flourishing again in this place of devastation. *** Looking out at the endless sea of cars sitting on the interstate, I felt restless […]

A Letter to My Muslim Sisters

I don’t remember your name. I do remember your laughter, your patience when you helped me with my pronunciation of sounds that are difficult for the English-trained tongue. I never saw you again after our college Arabic class ended but the look in your eyes has remained with me all these years—the fear and sorrow […]