You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Job Interviews

So I just graduated from college and I've been doing a lot of job interviews. It's interesting how it has made me analyze my own modesty and head covering practices.

I have to ask myself: do I want to be noticeably religious? I'm still not sure. Is being visibly religious like being the light on the hill or like being the pharisee on the street corner? And is being blatantly modest analogous with being visibly religious? (To this last one: I think it depends on context. At work, modesty is not inherently religious; at the pool, it might be.)

I've been debating these questions the past couple of days.

Today, I was on my way home from the temporary job I just acquired, and I read The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila (the only book recommendation I've ever taken). She had two points that I think help with this whole light on the hill/pharisee on the street corner question. And, because I like quotes, I shall quote her.

I warn you: abandon yourselves [to acts of devotion] only under the condition that you harbor no illusions about the Beloved being under some obligation to repay you for your sacrifice with divine favors. [...] What can we offer such a generous Beloved, who died for us and breathes life into our being?

She's speaking to her sisters in the convent and talking about, in particular, giving up worldly goods. I think she probably also intends it to cover other acts of devotion as well. If you are doing anything, really, because you think God should reward you for it, you aren't "walking humbly with God."

I've never really thought of of tzniut or head covering as something that should bring repayment from God. Isn't everything we do supposed to be repayment to God? God loved us and created us and then we blew God off. God came to down to earth to teach us the way Home and we killed God. God has done everything for us and we, as a whole anyway, have been brutally unreceptive. So I think all our lives should be repayment back to God-- mind you, that's hard to remember even on my best days.

That's where the head covering comes in, I think. I, as a human full of faults, don't always remember to live my life as an offering to God. The head covering is my reminder. If it acts as a label to identify me as Christian or religious, that's fine, but it is first and foremost for me.


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