Archive | 10:35 PM

 JAMIE’S BLOG – YEAR 7 – KINDNESS  DAY 164 :: the kindness of henna

5 Jul


I was asked to explain the henna on my foot and why and what and how it came to be (so I will!). It’s a kind story, really. It’s also a traditional wedding blessing, which we found out on the afternoon of my wedding.

Here’s a little bit taken from Wikipedia:

Henna is a dye prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis, also known as hina, the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet,[1] the sole species of the Lawsonia genus.

Henna was regarded as having Barakah (“blessings”), and was applied for luck as well as joy and beauty.[15]Brides typically had the most henna, and the most complex patterns, to support their greatest joy, and wishes for luck.

On the day of our wedding, just as ominous black clouds circled the sky and raindrops began to pour, Jill took me into Estes Park to pick up the cupcakes for the dessert table and to cool my nerves. Our surprise wedding was spinning out of control, while we were trying to plan the surprise day with an outdoor wedding, without anyone knowing…. and it began to rain.

I was a nervous wreck. So Jill took me to the little shop that advertised henna in the window. On the way, I promised her I would not fall apart despite the rain clouds, despite the night we had spent in the ER just hours before.

When we arrived, the beautiful woman at the counter told us that henna was her culture’s traditional wedding day activity. It was a blessing.

I looked nervously at the rain outside the window and she smiled back at me. “Don’t worry dear, the rain will pass, you are here for your blessing.”

I smiled, sort of. The inside of my stomach turned as the rain fell.

She painted the beautiful lines on my foot and I watched the little henna jar form a delicate pattern. She looked up at me and smiled. “We also do this on the wedding day to calm the nerves.”

Then she asked for Justin’s first name so that she could hide his initial in the pattern on my foot. “If the groom finds his initial on the wedding night, he is your true love.” She informed me. I smiled, thinking Justin would love the challenge ahead of him.

As we checked out, Jill explained our surprise wedding and the woman behind the counter asked us to wait. She walked out to the store, picked up a delicate pearl bracelet and placed it on my wrist.

“In my culture, the blessing is the gift.” She smiled, as she looked right into my heart. I looked into her eyes and the tears ran from mine. Then I cried. Heavy, hard tears.

The white pearls matched the bracelets I had laid out to wear later that day. She couldn’t have known that I had bracelets made from the broken necklace of my mother’s to wear that day. But there she was, placing a beautiful white pearl bracelet on my wrist that matched the ones that would be placed there within a few hours.

As we left the store, I cried. The sun shone. The rain dried.

And the henna on my foot hid the initial that Justin would find later that night. In so many ways, everything went right. And what we learned most was this: to trust. To let go and give in to the current of life.

We also learned this: sometimes plans are bigger than the ones we make for ourselves. And more kind than we can imagine.

And that… is the story of henna.

More tomorrow….


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