Sunny window seat- check. Sink full of dishes- check. Leftover Junior mints from Christmas- check.
(Because sometimes you have to sit down and have it out with the words that are swirling around in your mind before they--or the moment disappears).
There have been a lot of things to process this week as a mother of girls. I find that to be true most weeks, but this one has called upon all of my resolve. I have followed with great interest (for better or for worse) what it is that the girls coming of age at this point in history might glean from the media, protests, election, apathy, and outrage that is becoming commonplace on any news feed. I've found the responses to the women's march particularly intriguing,especially as a mother of girls. You've likely done your own reading on it so I won't re-hash what's already been shared, though from what I have observed there are about four themes:
1. The theme of a universal sisterhood--despite differing ideologies.
2. "I know what's good for everyone, and 'bless your heart for sharing your thoughts.'"
3. "Only I can know what's good for me."
4. A push for the rights of the most vulnerable in any number of circumstances.
I'd be lying to say that there isn't a part of me that is spoken to in each of these themes. And yet I am deeply troubled by the insinuations made by the majority of these singular approaches.
[Cue the poignant and fitting readings for this weekend]
"Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth, who have observed his law; seek justice, seek humility; perhaps you may be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger."
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are theywho mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are themeek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who arepersecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven."
This is difficult to hear. Period. And it's worth wrestling with a bit. It's one of those slippery verses where almost anyone who reads it might assume it is written specifically for their circumstances! Contradictory as it might read, we cling to its consolation--affirmed that if not in this lifetime, we might hope to see these fruits in heaven.
Yet, what of that inconvenient God-with-skin-on, Jesus, who was born to migrant parents, healed the sick, turned water into wine, stood with the woman caught in adultery, met the Samaritan woman at the well in broad daylight and sent the rich away empty?
What does he ask of our here and now?
It occurred to me earlier this week that I had recently spent hours at my keyboard, hemming and hawing over a similar human dignity theme --how to speak to my future children with the fierceness of my current mama-love. I had written what I thought might be a post to my daughters on the anniversary of their Baptisms, hoping to articulate my wishes for them in bringing them into the Church and what role that might play for them in their lifetimes. I cried the whole while I typed it and eventually deemed it a letter I would deliver to them personally at some later date; not one for public consumption.
However, the more I thought about it my words to them in the letter are really a prayer which I hope they might carry deep within them about who they are and how they engage in and with the world. It is written for my children and that is sacred space. I'm sharing a piece of it because I subscribe to the belief that 'it takes a village,' and if that is true, then I wrote it for your children, too.
Sweet girls (and boys),
You were dreamed up in the awesome imagination of God and only this Creator can reveal to you the fullness of the people you are called to be. If we can give you each some road map for finding that beloved identity before the world happily inserts its opinion of who you are meant to be (or not), then you will be gifted with a peace that few experience.
I hope that you never doubt the enormous dignity that you have been born into by virtue of being children of God--and that you recognize it in the faces of all those you meet. I hope that you see and hear prayers in this house and this church that open your minds and your hearts to love beyond measure to match up to the immense pain that you will inevitably see, too.
I hope that the people you surround yourselves with are as diverse as the entire body of Christ and that never once do you stand by as you see someone treated as less than that.
I pray that you will learn as much about Eucharist in adoration as you do in the soup line; that you will experience reconciliation in a heartfelt confession and by seeking and granting stubborn forgiveness. I pray that you hold fast to wisdom, humility, integrity, mercy, forgiveness, care of creation, respect, joy(!) and that you see these virtues modeled by the men and women who lead our Church. I hope that your leadership and voices are invited to the conversation precisely because you are the Church.
It is a messy, complicated, beautiful, saving body--and it's yours.