I’m back with a bit more from our India trip— this time it’s all about the princesses. We may not have encountered any actual royalty in Hyderabad, but I can assure you, it felt like we were surrounded by Indian princesses everywhere— beautiful girls and women dressed in stunning saris of every color imaginable, all with heads held high. It doesn’t matter if they are sweeping the road or carrying a water jug on their heads, these ladies are gorgeous, and they know it!
I was completely fascinated by the women of India. My first reaction to seeing them all in saris and very traditional clothing was “Wow!” and “They look like princesses!” and “How in the Dickens do they manage to sit side-saddle in those things on a motorbike without getting mangled?” But after a while, I started to get all uppity and a bit concerned for them. I asked my long-suffering husband, “Don’t you think it’s a bit unfair? How come the dudes get to wear jeans and collared shirts? Do these women even get a choice in what they wear?” (There were hints of the western world, but almost like they were little teasers, not to be accepted. Clearly, I am an absolute expert in their culture!)
Lyndon replied, “Honey, don’t you think they look beautiful? I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing they enjoy looking beautiful.”
Darn it. He was right. Again. These women looked a million bucks, even though the majority of them are living in poverty- some of them extreme. Not only that, but the more I got to know them, the more I realized these women are strong, courageous, hard-working, intelligent, AND beautiful.
Just throwing it out there— would they have that same air of quiet confidence if they stood at the market selling their wares in an old pair of jeans and a sweaty T-shirt? Maybe, but probably not. They take a pride in their appearance, and I have a feeling it makes them feel very special. It gives them a princess quality.
One dear friend is fearlessly building churches, and an orphanage, and gardens to the feed the poor, and food programs for children, and numerous projects I could only dream of. She is a tenacious woman of faith, speaking volumes to the community with her hands and her heart. And she does it all in a sari.
So I wanted to try it out. Be a princess for a bit. Okay a waana-be-Indian princess. Who is blonde and very un-Indian. Anyway, we managed to wangle a little time from our schedule to get me a sari fitting, which was a wonderful experience.
As a side note, I had the pleasure/ surprise of praying with a sales assistant the next day, who was not a Christian, but thought I looked like I was, and wanted me to pray for her and her husband. In the middle of the store. The one with the god idol thingy in the middle. I love India!
Back to the sari— firstly, I had to decide from a rainbow of colors, so I deferred to my fashion experts (my husband, my son, and my father!) and the consensus was bright yellow. Go big or go home. I was measured for the top to be made, and then they gave me a lesson on how to wrap the sari (SO much fabric!), which I promptly forgot and hoped I could Google. In reality, I paid the adorable hotel maid to come to my rescue and sort me out so I wouldn’t unravel in church.
And yes, I did feel like a princess! It worked. I was held together by 5 safety pins, but I was swishing and twirling like I’d been wearing one all my life. I understood why the women felt special and held their heads high. Lyndon said it was my 3rd most beautiful day ever (after my wedding day and the day my daughter got married). Quite frankly, I couldn’t wear it on a daily basis and I completely admire those who do, but it was worth the effort. I still didn’t exactly blend in (no duh!), but I was congratulated on at least trying!
Now I’m not suggesting that we all get our prom dresses down and dusted and head to the grocery store. Nor am I threatening to wear my sari to the mall so I can feel princess-ish (mainly because I still haven’t got an earthly clue how to wind and fold and tuck without it all coming adrift on me). Even though I’m a fan of fabulous fashions and cool clothing, I am talking about something deeper. Something some of my Indian sisters have experienced.
Being a daughter of the King.
I’ve had 1 John 3:1 bouncing around in my head this past week, and it’s gradually sinking deeper (sometimes takes me a while!)
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Because God LAVISHES (doesn’t that sound exquisitely extravagant?) His love on us, regardless of our country of origin, social standing, race, intellect, or looks— we get to be His children. And girls, that makes us princesses, seeing as how he is the King of Kings. I don’t know about you, but that makes me sit a little straighter in my chair. It puts a spring in my step, and my head is held just a little higher. NOT due to anything I have done, because I mess up on a scarily regular basis, and have absolutely no right to hold my head high. But my Heavenly Father has poured out His love to me and to you in torrents. We are loved as daughters. As princesses. And that gives us reason to live life to the full.
We don’t need a sari to feel like a princess. (Even though I thoroughly recommend the experience.) We are loved with an everlasting love, whether we live in India or England or Canada or Iceland or anywhere else on this globe, by our Heavenly Father, our Mighty King.
Know you are lavished with love today…
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers. Check them out: