My sisters – the 3 other women that I share breakfast and life with on Wednesday mornings – are truly my sisters in Christ. It’s amazing what happens week after week. One of the questions we reflect on is “when was I most aware of Christ’s presence this week?” Doh! What always seems to happen is one or more of us starts with the statement: “I just don’t remember a close moment….” and then the week comes into a different focus and we become aware of the times when we were touched, or even shouted at by God/dess. “I couldn’t see Christ yesterday during… — but all I could think of was that I need to pursue a new ministry working with….” You get the idea.
One thing that it seems women understand instinctively is the need for community and sharing. In my group, we have an agreement that we can say whatever we are thinking or feeling. The others don’t have to agree or disagree, but listen and love. As with small groups like this, the rule is “what is said here, stays here.” (hence the very generic quote above).
When I set this site up, JF sent me the quote “Traveller, there is no road. It is made by walking.” A bit of wisdom from a member of the International Association of Charity. This seems to converge with a story I heard once that shed light on the proclamation of Jesus – “I am the Way.”
It seems a soldier was downed somewhere in SE Asia during one of the recent conflicts (can’t call them wars, you know.) He was rather desperate, being lost in the thick jungle where it was nearly impossible to determine friend or foe. A local villager appeared and said “Follow me. I’ll lead you out – to safety.”
“You’ll show me the road?” asked the soldier.
“There is no road. You have to follow me, I am the way you get out.”
That seems to be what I am bumping up against repeatedly. There is no syllabus, there is no paved road, not even a pig trail. So, I follow the leading of God/Goddess/Jesus/Spirit. And my! what an adventure.
I’ve seen signposts as we walk:
- the need within myself to image (not imagine) God as the Feminine Divine and learn to appreciate the very fact of my being: I am female, and created in the image of God. The need to recognize that this is not to become an exclusive view.
- Just as I venture into the Feminine I am confronted with truth that comes from the traditional male-centric Catholic faith. I had the first real talk I’ve ever had with the pastor at St. Michael’s and discovered someone I could talk to.
- friend or foe is still difficult to determine. Some people I expect to be “friend” come back to me as non-comprehending impediments. Some that I suspect to be “foe” turn out to share an understanding and an openess to discussing some ideas.
That line always bugged me – I’ve never quite understood it. It always seemed that why would you be getting married (the line is from Paul Stookey’s Wedding Song) if it wasn’t Love that brought you here.
A glimmer of light: if it’s not Love that brings you life, you’ll never have what it takes for a marriage to be a sacrament… Love that brings you here just ain’t enough. It pins its hope on another human being and is bound to fail. The Love that brings you life is a centering point, so that it is possible to love another person.
Sometime it feels like a maze – maybe it’s just the labyrinth aspect.
Sunday, I found myself at mass listening carefully to both the homily looking for the non-masculine elements. Jack is really a wonderful preacher. There is a deep spirituality in the man that bubbles out when he preaches. He almost always gets to me. This weekend he spoke about Jesus calling the apostles, about them getting up and following — about the change of heart and life — about metanoia. And, in listening, I think I “met a noia.” That’s a joke from a Cursillo weekend.
My current journey has been emotionally draining for the past couple of weeks. Listening to feelings what they are trying to tell me. Metanoia means that I not only listen, but allow what I discover to make a change: a change in attitude that will effect a change in life. It’s hard to be fearless in this case.
Upon finishing Dance, I decided that I would try to catch up on reading “His Way” (David Knight). This is the text book for The School (of Leaders). It was originally published in about 1970. Still good stuff, but not for the feint-hearted. Right now I’m into the first part of chapter 5, but I’m still chewing on the questions at the end of Chapter 1: If I no longer believed in Jesus, what choices would I make differently – what would be the difference.
This is a struggle… I’m not sure. I have difficulty trying to figure out what would be different. If I no longer “believed in Jesus” would I then no longer be able to accept that God[dess] loves me unconditionally? Not sure. And if so, what would that mean? Again, not sure. ‘Tis something to ponder.
Last night I caught most of “The Spoken Word” on GPB – a talk by a historian on which facts are true in The DaVinci Code. It was interesting… and I did find out a bit more about some of the “lost gospels.”
The strength of The DaVinci Code still seems to be 2-fold: a fun, interesting mystery/puzzle AND it tapped into the missing, or at least buried, Feminine Divine. I really think that the second is the reason for the popularity and the talk. Whether or not people will admit it out loud, deep inside Christians have a sense that the current mainline Christian view is skewed. It makes some folks really angry that one can conceive of God as Mother. It makes some folks sad that we don’t often see the image of God(dess) as Mother/Sister. The common thread is that this idea really gets folks heated up… it touches a nerve somewhere.
The author of this book stayed away from theology – but did offer some assistance on where to look for the Gospel of Phillip and the Gospel of Mary. They will go onto my reading list.
At the Foot of Knocknarea (Cathie Ryan:The Music of What Happens) is a song about a woman carrying a stones to the top of Knocknarea to leave at Queen Mave’s (sp?) cairn – a stone that bears all her troubles. I’m picking through the stones I’d like to leave at the tomb, or the cross.
One stone is regret (and guilt) over being silent and fearful. Not listening to my soul. Hiding my feelings so deep they were hidden from myself. To be honest, I can’t name those times. I can name a few times when I was brave, wasn’t silent. So – I’ll leave the un-named stones for healing and remember being brave and what it meant.
Many years ago, neighbors and family were at my house for dinner or some such gathering. We were standing in the kitchen. I think my sister and brother in-law were there, and the folks across the street. The conversation had to do with the others recently joining a local club (think a large relative of the whitetail deer). Only the men could/can join as it’s a men’s organization. (I really don’t have as much of a problem with men’s only organizations as maybe I should, because if women need to be free to have sisterhoods, then men probably need brotherhoods…. but that’s an aside to this story. ) They were encouraging my husband to think about becoming a member. The lodge has a nice swimming pool and the kids could go there to swim during out brutally hot summer. And – this is the part that got me rolling – when the kids went there you didn’t have to deal with the blacks like you did /do at the city pool. Something snapped. I heard myself proclaim the “John wouldn’t ever be joining any a racially prejudiced men’s club.” The room went silent. My heart pounded. Then the conversation slowly restarted – on a different topic.
Fear is a powerful thing… overcoming it is also powerful. However, I still need to learn to accept my own spot when I do find my voice…. and not feel guilty about succeeding.
I think I might just sing the refrain differently if I don’t watch it:
And She will raise you up on eagle’s wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of Her hand.
I’ve been listening to “On the Wing” on the Radio Reader for a couple of weeks. One observation that the author/narrator makes is that in the bird world the females are often larger and stronger than the males. The particular birds he was referring to are Peregrin Falcons, and he goes on to observe that the females fly slightly later than their brothers — probably because they have more growing to do than the males. So, why wouldn’t those eagle’s wings be Hers? And, perhaps the slowness in realizing my full potential is because I have more growing to do to get there.
I’ve reached a point in my reading of Dissident Daughter that has shown me that I have already absorbed a lot of the ideas – only with different words. I’ll never be as articulate or organized as Sue (I feel like I know her so well through the reading, we must be on first name basis).
Ecology: she speaks of experiencing oneness with the world, with all of creation. Connected to suffering, crying dolphins. This type of connection has always been close to me. Growing up I was the one who dosed the dogs and cats; the one who could stand next to a 17 hand horse without fear. Even if I didn’t understand the connections, they seemed to be the right direction… the ideal, the dream.
I have trouble cutting the strings that connect me in relationships. Even when it might be better to cut some of them. They are a part of the fabric of my life.
Learning boundaries has taken a lot of work. And boundaries must be learned. Otherwise children can never be let go of. And if they aren’t let go, then they either have to fight bitterly, or they never become themselves. It seems that I always understood somehow that my children were both eternally connected and eternally separate people. It took a lot longer to understand and accept that I could not be the emotion for both partners in marriage. That I had to face fear, accept my shortcomings, my abilities and inablilities and basically hand JP his own emotions to deal with. Well – maybe I’m still fighting that battle.
I never thought of this connectedness in terms of Goddess. But, I do recall that when I worked my way through She Who Is that the one thing that really stayed with me was the image of creator and creation as that of mother and child. A woman carries a child within her. It grows within until birth – or some other separation, be it miscarriage or abortion. At birth, the child becomes “other”, but it is alway still a part of her whether it thrives or fails. This I understand.
So – now I find that my path is shared in many ways. It is also mine alone… and I’m not there yet!
My friend observed this morning that perhaps I had a problem with God as Father because of my difficulties with my own father. My gut reaction is “NO” – but for argument’s sake, I’ll say “Maybe – in part.” Having gone that far, it doesn’t seem to change anything. For whatever reason I internalized the idea that the female side of myself is less than any “masculine” parts, it’s still a wound that has to be opened and healed.
After years of counselling, I’m seeing that this road I must travel either with companionship or alone. It must be walked. No companion, or guide required. Greatly appreciated, but not required.
If there is anger (and I’m not feeling anger at this time) then I must step back from it and see what it tells me. Same with sorrow. Same with shame. And – at times, with joy. I was smiling down to my toes this morning after hearing the belly-dancer story. What does that tell me?