Sunday, August 9, 2009

tis herself

One of the most risky things I do is write this silly blog. I am trying to write without a sense of consequence - that is, I am writing it for ME, not for what a reader might think. This is a great challenge. I want to tell the truth. I admit I privately censor my own thoughts... all the while kind of resenting that I feel the need to do that.

So this blog is about me, as all my blogs are. (Kind of hedonistic, isn't it?) But the reality is that the closer I get to me, the nearer I am to you. Think about it. Relating persona to persona creates loneliness. Relating person to person mysteriously connects all kinds of links and synapses that make us know our own human journey more accurately.

I have three things I need to write about. It will take three blogs, and some thinking. I was going to comment on J.Carter, but I am too far past to make comment. My mind has wandered to another field.

This blog is connected to my 'faith thinking' - and those who read this who do not think in that way will have to put up with it for a bit. My premise in this blog is that a woman thinks different than a man. And yet, for reasons not fully known, we mostly hear the scriptures interpreted through a man's mind and experience.

I am reading "a Mercy" by Toni Morrison. This book is beautiful - it is carrying me like a tube down a river, floating through a soul. Toni Morrison is an African American novelist, quite different in experience from my, but she tells life so accurately I find myself. This small section took my breath away with its truth. I had to stop reading.

The person reflecting in this section is a sick woman who has been given comfort from friends.

"They had come to soothe her but ... were only interested in themselves. Yet the stories they told, their comments, offered Rebekka the distraction of other people's lives. Well, she thought, that was the true value of Job's comforters. He lay wracked with pain and in moral despair; they told him about themselves, and when he felt even worse, he got an answer from God saying, Who on earth do you think you are? Question me? Let me give you a hint of who I am and what I know. For a moment Job must have longed for the self-interested musings of humans as vulnerable and misguided as he was. but a peek into Divine knowledge was less important than gaining, at the last, the Lord's attention. Which, Rebekka concluded, was all Job ever wanted. Not proof of His existence - he never questioned that. Nor proof of His power - everyone accepted that. He wanted simply to catch His eye, to be recognized not as worthy or worthless, but to be noticed as a life-form by the One who made and unmade it.

But then Job was a man. Invisibility was intolerable for men. What complaint would a female Job dare to put forth? And if, having done so, and He deigned to remind her of how weak and ignorant she was, where was the news in that? What shocked Job into humility and renewed fidelity was the message a female Job would have known and heard every moment of her life."

Okay - I can't resist a small comment. Richard Rohr does marvelous work on the spiritual development of men and women, and he makes this very point. That a man, from birth, needs and often has, a journey of ascent. A woman, however, has a journey of descent. Only later in life does the wise man begin to descend, and the woman to rise.

And to be fully disclosed, the scripture must be contemplated from both male and female souls.

This is not to even begin to unpack the deep meaning in the passage. Tell me what you think.


Krissi said...

I think I need to read that book.

Corrie said...

I love love love Toni Morrison. It was Toni Morrison's Beloved that inspired my idea for my dissertation. Marilyn, this is why I do what I do. Entering into a story through someone else's eyes helps us to enter in to any story--all stories. There is nothing more exciting to me than working to unpack all the layers of a story, especially if I am doing that with my students.

I want to understand more of what you mean by these journeys of ascent and descent. I am thinking about it. Thanks for writing this blog and letting me see you.

Anonymous said...

"Only later in life does the wise man begin to descend, and the woman to rise."

I would be curious to know how other women "later in rise?" Anyone care to answer how that is happening/happened for them? Women so often learn from sharing with each other.

Marilyn said...

Well, Rohr explains it so beautifully. But a woman's ascent is one of knowing, of strength. Of not being denied what she knows. I am in that time and although it is hard to 'say' I am SURE of it. As sure as of my own breath.

After a time of necessary grief, often anger and the re-evaluation of mid life ... "Amazing combination of both strength and vulnerability and true wisdom. She knows what she knows, but cannot always explain it in linear fashion. very threatening to men. The strong old woman and the mellow old man are universal architypes. Now they can meet as partners.Pain has been transformed into mercy and understanding.

The 'mulier fortis' of scripture. She can live with paradox and mystery, with compassion and forgiveness. She does not need to punish or shame others. As the ultimate mature feminine, she can lead, partner or follow when necessary. She has everything because she has lived the journey.

If she uses her new answers/power for herself or if it merely becomes 'mind' or if her wounds have not been transformed, her opinions will become rage - going nowhere - except to blame others and protect herself."

(Rohr, St. Anthony Messanger Press,Cincinati. Video - Men: Journey of Transformation; Women: Journey of Transformation. 800.488.0488