This morning Aaron went off to play a show fairly early. I was tooling around on the internet, not doing anything much. Saw an article about Sufis, an article about a mosque bombing. Clicked, began to read it and when the fact melted into my brain that three hundred Egyptian Sufis had been killed, my body started to rock back and forth. I cried. No, no, no, over and over I whispered it as I rocked and cried.
I called my mother and my brother but neither answered their phones. I read the articles and cried.
My family is Sufi. They run a center in Minneapolis. Our order is based out of New York. I know not all Sufis around the world practice in the same way or share the same kind of character, but the ones I know are gentle. They are kind. A good portion of them are feckless. They see a world of chaos and madness coming at them full tilt and they open their arms and as it hits them it turns to flowers.
I got ahold of my Dad and talked to him and my Mom. We prayed for the dead, and for those left behind, and for the ones who are so distant and wrapped in their own separation that they could do this.
I went out into the garden, covered my head, wept and did zikr for the dead. Zikr means remembrance.
I came back inside and charted a new song. I put on hijab and walked to the coffee shop. I’m cautious about wearing hijab, nervous of being called a hypocrite, running into friends who might not understand, or harassment by strangers. There was no harassment. Only shy smiles. And I did run into a friend, now working at the coffee shop, who has changed their name and gender identity as they needed to. There was no strangeness, or no more than is normal between friends who don’t see each other as often as they might. We make room for each other’s multitudes.
I wore hijab today to mourn those who have gone. And to say that though I am afraid to be known as a Sufi, for whatever my fearful ego thinks the consequences might be, I must do better. I am afraid of aggressive secularism and fearful patriotism and I am afraid of the wounded beast that believes it polices true Islam. All these things seek to damage. All these things seek uniformity. My existence puts the lie to them. And so does yours.