Three weeks ago, I went for the big plunge and I wore my traditional, handmade clothes to work for the first time. I’ve always, of course, worn head coverings and my modest clothing but until then, I had always stuck with bandannas, scarves and full coverage, modern clothing. However, with my baptism looming ever closer, I took the leap of faith at last. I had just finished crocheting a new black bonnet and ordered my new Plain wardrobe from an amazing Mennonite lady in Illinois (Thank you Mrs. Paula! :)) (http://thethriftyamishandmennonitecloset.com/). At last, I was going to wear them in public in front of co-workers and old classmates who knew me before I was Plain. At first, I was admittedly a little embarrassed. I knew that I was getting stares and comments while I was at work. At the grocery store, the stares kept my eyes down and an old high school tormentor stopped into my job to get one last comment in, ‘So you’re, like, Mormon now or something’, before meandering on his way, curious daughter trailing behind like a little duckling. Being uncomfortable under scrutiny since childhood, this big step was somewhat distressing for me.
But then I decided to pray about it as I swept out the newly opened Garden Center. Slowly, I began to realize that this was the best way for me to be able to witness to others about my faith, discomfort and all. Just by my observing Gelhassenheit and the Plain way, people immediately singled me out as a follower of Christ. Of course, there would be the expected case of mistaken identity: “You’re Amish right? Do you have a car?”. But even those awkward moments could be a great thing. I could kindly explain that, “No, I am not Amish” and that “Yes, my mother drover me” and then explain our various similarities and differences. Education of faith. Oftentimes, they would want even more information once they realized that I’m not at all put off by the asking. Despite it sometimes being exhausting at the end, this is a crucial part of the witnessing process. People being hungry for information. Also, I thought to myself, how could I possibly be embarrassed by following God’s will? In hindsight, it seemed preposterous, silly. That is why, not matter how different and weird I may look to other people, I wear my bonnets and handmade dresses with pride. They are a badge of honor, not something to be embarrassed about.
In the ever-loved words of the folks at Wreck It Ralph’s Bad-Anon, “There’s no one I’d rather be than me”.