it has happened just too many times
times two squared
Even worse is being rendered visible
but not really important.
Your voice is not really that important they say.
It doesn’t have the right credentials,
Many books behind you … a following… or enough degrees,
or how could you really have something to say
when you spend many of your days doing laundry,
wiping noses, changing diapers,
raising living human beings, instead of just words on a page.
Living words are not regarded with the same care.
Oh you men — Who gave you birth, raised you and shaped you in the school of prayer?
Was it your fathers?
Or did not the woman who brought you forth have something so valuable to give you?
Have you forgotten her just as they so forgot the woman who anointed Jesus?
Why so easily do you forget
I sometimes think some of us have been given to remind you.
Remind you that we are here. We have a voice! We mean something.
But it is tiring advocating for oneself—
More than tiring, it is humiliating.
Isn’t it time that the brothers advocated for the sisters?
Is it only Jesus who can stand up and a few courageous men
who go against the stream?
They say, “Why can’t you women be like the men,” but I say,
“Why can’t you men really be men and stand up for what you believe in?”
We’ve had to stand up for a long time.
I feel like sitting down now, and regaining my stamina.
When can we go out and dance together in this fabulous, paradoxical kingdom of God?
Where we truly render each other visible and valuable in the Creator’s eyes?
My eyes are weak. They will be strong again there is no doubt.
But they have become weary in the community I serve and love.
I feel I have no option now but to widen my community. I must press on.
I don’t understand, but my tears do.
Jesus weeps for his daughters and for his sons.
When will they see the gift of the daughters?
Do the daughters have to be sons to be seen as gifts?
I feel I have worked through this all too many times.
Why should it come and come again like a bad thunderstorm
never to relinquish its havoc?
It encrusts me with a layer of crust
taking my joy away, my center away.
I used to think I could be part of this community
and bring light into it. I could be an example.
Well, I don’t want to be an example any more.
It is too costly, and I am not a martyr.
These battles are not for me to fight.
My energy is to go into the positive things:
raising books, raising children, and teaching in the wide open spaces,
dancing in the wide open spaces,
healing in the open spaces.
I think I’m needing lots of open spaces to see God,
to perceive the light and dark of God’s presence.
Just to be.
My struggle is not my own.
It is the women who are raped by the Muslim men.
It is the children and women who are taken into war and disregarded.
It is the professionally elite, the mentally ill,
the ones who continually must cry out in a voice: STOP.
It hurts me when you look at me that way,
It hurts me when you only see a body,
It hurts me when I am reduced to an object.
I defy you naming me as body without soul.
I am woman.
I am beautiful, imaginative, perceptive, thoughtful, intelligent.
And I am made in the image of God.
You take away that image and make me ashamed. When it is you who should carry the shame.
So I speak out.
But in my speaking, I am reminded of the silencing,
Of the not caring.
But even if in droplets, I speak out to the subtle hurts
and bold tearing away of what it is truly to be woman.
I speak out. But do you hear?