05 April 2012

the business of being female: where angels fear to tread

"While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head." Mark 14:3

i left the radiogist office and called my Mister. i am over 40 and every year i get to go see the radiologist for a special exam. it is quite uncomfortable. it made me wonder, "why are there no cocktail lounges in doctor offices?" i mean if you are going to examine me, like REALLY examine me, buy me a drink first. too much? being a girl is too much for me sometimes. 

females come face to face with their femininity early on and it gradually becomes more dramatic. it is glorious and gruesome. of course, this is just my opinion, but i have been a girl for 41 years so i know some stuff. like when you find yourself at middle school wearing white slacks on the wrong day. or when you sit with a friend who has found herself with an unplanned pregnancy-and is still in high school. or when you are told there is cancer in your body. infertility was never a struggle i faced personally nor miscarriage. but my beloved friends have.

i have stood in awe as one friend miscarried 3 times-quite dramatically. her strong body delivered 3 babies before they were ready for this world. she brilliantly went home to care for her family. and ultimately to have more babies.

i am dazzled by the resilience and beauty that is in a college friend's story-redemption that comes out of sexual abuse. she is the phoenix who has risen from the ashes. rage.forgiveness. acceptance. now she flies in beauty as she works with wisdom to unpack the hurt of others.

there is something about knowing the fierceness that comes in another dear friend's battle with anorexia/bulimia as she daily sets her face like flint to battle recovery not just for herself, but for her daughter.

a precious friend who i have known most of my life is a hospital chaplain. up until a few months ago she worked exclusively at a children's hospital. my friend held the hands of mothers who held their babies as they took their last breath. my friend dressed stillborn babies for their last visit with their parents. she walked where angels fear to tread. her work is holy. 

a few months ago one of my best friends held her teenage son as he moved from this world to the next. she was with him when he entered this world, and she was with him when he left. that, my friends, is sacred.

there is a fierceness in another friend who has gone to bat for her marriage-after finding out her husband had been unfaithful to her for many years. without sounding all sappy and silly, there is something to those helen reddy words, "women indeed do roar".

i have single friends who readily admit they are surprised with how their lives have turned out. they wish for husbands and children. women who love their careers, but want a little more. i love their authenticity. i have watched as mothers have buried their own mothers, sang over their unborn babies and wept for the child that never was. a mother's heart is created even before the child comes into existence. my boys will never fully understand a mother's heart since they are male. it is different. they were made male-necessary and wonderful in their own way. but different.

my girlfriends are sincerely the totem God has given to remind me that this life with all it's happy valleys and tragic mountains is worth the sojourn.

as i left the doctor's office today it became apparent to me that womanhood is hard and hurtful and full of all kinds of trouble, responsibility and power. it is deliriously wonderful and dangerously perilous. i am reminded of the story (there are many actually) of a woman in the bible. the one about when a woman named mary broke an alabaster jar to wash the body of jesus with her expensive perfume. the very body that went to calvary and died on a cross for the likes of me and you. a body that was mourned by His mother. the same body that was not found in the tomb by His friend mary-she encountered the risen Savior! it is a sacred privilege being female. i think it is glorious and ferocious. 

by the way, happy maundy thursday, dear ones. my feet have been washed by the women of which i write. forever grateful.xo

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. You are among a handful of women that I admire and am thankful to call "friend" today. Love you!