The Rhythm of the World

Hi friends! As you may or may not know, I am currently studying in Edinburgh. My friend and I have been exploring the United Kingdom for the past couple of weeks — Don’t worry, I’ll blog about that soon! However, while I’m still in the process of getting settled, I thought I’d share a piece I wrote a few months ago for my literary essay class. In the spirit of globe-trotting, it encompasses some of the moments I’ve been blessed to experience around the world. I’m excited to add Edinburgh moments to this story when the time comes.  I hope you enjoy.

I feel it on a rain-stained rooftop in Central West Africa. The sound of clapping and dancing rising from the schoolroom below as I stare out at the endless purple sky. Drumbeats. Stomping. Cries of joy. The air is thick and lightning flashes in the distance. I clasp hands with friends beside me and we begin to sing, harmonizing our own tune that echoes into the night. — No, the song is not our own. We are just joining in the music below, offering our voices to the one great song.

I feel it in an abandoned building just outside of the Brussels Red Light District. A caramel-colored Moroccan woman grabs my arm and pulls me into a dance circle. The music from her home country blares from the stereo, echoing in the barren white room and seeping out the open window into the streets below. Joyful and carefree, we kick out our feet, shake our hips, we loose our tongues to the music. I am not myself anymore, I am part of them. A refugee. We may not have much, but we have celebration, we have the dance, we have our part in the song.

I feel it in the voice of a tired Sudanese woman in the Judean Desert as her long dark fingers cradle a sleeping child. Rocking back and forth on the dusty floor, she sings in a language I don’t understand, her voice laid bare, vulnerable in the quiet room. She rocks, she lifts her arms, she sways, and she mesmerizes. Far from home, in an unfamiliar land, this victim of genocide heaves her soul into her voice and takes her place in the song. Tired, weary, and far from home myself, I listen, eyes half-closed, and let the music flow through me, bringing fire to my bones.

I feel it in me, I feel it in them, I feel it in the rain, the wind, the lightning that illuminates the darkness. I feel it in us as we come together, hearts beating to the rhythm of the song.

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