"Today was too much for me, mom. I'll tell you about it on my commute tomorrow."(Rachel at a local homeless food kitchen.)
My daughter has a new full time work position. She is stepping out of running the home and caring for family things and working part time to join the full time work force.
Her email this morning makes me deeply sad. The words, "today was too much for me" describes so many of my days too. Those days come about too often when a woman would love to pull a quilt over herself and hide from the world for a while, too tired and pressed to even see the future, but no! she must soldier on.
This is the life of many women in our culture. That my comments are about women is simply that I know this journey personally. I fully acknowledge that men have heavy lives too, but maybe it is a different heaviness.
My daughter has been a pastor's spouse all her married life. She is now a partner in church planting. If you haven't been in this place you have no idea the weight this is. She does not have the option of 'caving' and ignoring her world. She does not have the option of strings of days alone caring for her own concerns - engagement and care for others presses in relentlessly. I have seen her grace and willingness to live this kind of life. But on days when work is enough to wipe you out, and it is followed by family demands, people concerns and long evenings a person can become profoundly weary.
Every woman has her own particular loads. I watch women around me: friends, co-workers, women I pass casually. I know women who carry burdens that are crushing. Single moms working two jobs and still trying to give their kids enough of themselves. Women nursing aging parents, balancing needs and demands with hardly one space to care for themselves. A life like this has no end in sight - no way out of the storm.
I have no way to help my daughter. If I hover over her and lament and sigh she will feel like she has to make me better too. I don't want that. I can't make even one of her choices. I can't ease her body or her spirit. I can't help her get a nights uninterrupted sleep. What I do is pray for her, love her and when ever I get an idea of how to support her, I do it.
But lots of women don't have this support. Women are often at the top end of the care cycle and no one above or beside them is watching over their lives. No one paying attention. And as women age the dangers increase. Without the love of a family (biological or otherwise) a woman faces serious isolation. The qualities that typically attract people to women - beauty, sass, joy, etc - are not evident. Beauty is hidden inside a sometimes crumbling house. Only love can see it.
So today I want to say to my woman friends that I see you. We are not so far apart, you and I. Women know. We know and we need to radiate that knowing across parking lots, into the car next to us at a stop light, to the woman checking out our groceries - just a human moment of unity and knowing.
And if you can think of something that would gentle the life of a woman you notice (and maybe love,) do it. Even something small.
Because women are fighting for the next generation of the human race.