Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I am fragile

I walked into the library today and saw that a new door has been constructed swinging on a hinge behind the desk. The builders have cut and embedded a window into it (all our doors have windows) and it is not yet painted. A little pink sticky note sits crooked about eye level.

"This door is fragile." It says. "Handle gently."

I look at it and experience a strong impulse to take the sticky note and put it on my shirt. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could put a sign on ourselves that said, "This woman is fragile. Handle gently."

Some days we are more fragile than others. Today I am fragile. I am flimsy. I had a fight yesterday, an unexpected fight. I am not a fighter, but an issue rose that triggered a whole bunch of unfinished brokenness in me. And then some assumptions and comments were made that ricocheted (sp?) through my brain like a pin ball machine on steroids and many offensive, dark and demeaning comments made by men about women - and about me - flared up. I can only image what my brain image would have been if I had been hooked up to a scanner. It would have flashed like a fireworks display.

How do we handle our anger. I am not talking about 'be angry and do not sin.' I am talking about 'you do  not have permission to be angry.' Then what do we do after years and tears and stories and lament that is crammed into our overfull souls. What happens when we can not stay quiet anymore. What happens when woman's anger finally erupts.

My new friend Jo who worked for CNN did a story on Honor Killings in an African country. Fathers and brothers murdered their daughters and sisters when they had, for instance, been raped by the army. When Jo asked one of the men why he murdered his little sister who had been raped he said, "When you have a basket of apples and one of them is rotten, you must get rid of it or the others will become rotten too." Jo told me that story on Sunday night. I can't get the thought of those cold words out of my head. If you are alert to life, this is just one tiny bit of woman's story of pain and terror even.

And so then we come upon issues in our days that are not as raw as that, but can we get angry? Can we be very very angry and still be like Jesus. Can our words be raw and ripped from our guts and still be holy? I don't know. After I get angry I have a lot of shame. I feel the burning shame of accusing eyes like shards of glass in my soul. I feel like now, finally, I will be utterly rejected. I have not been a good girl. And of all women I know what it is like to not be a good girl.

All these bits of life and thought rumble around in my spirit today like pieces of broken china. Cutting my soul and then tinkling against each other. It is so often like that in my woman spirit. Beauty and pain. All a tumbling mess.

I will be fine. I have the grace of a good husband who treats me gently all the time, and especially if I need it. I might wear a sign tonight when he comes home. :) But I am sad about a couple things. I am sad that my anger has caused rifts with a friend. And I am sad that I can't feel safe to be angry - that I am conditioned to feel shame when I have let my anger show.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the fear of not being a good girl. I know that shame oh, so well. I never learned how to appropriately handle anger because it wasn't allowed in my house. I have numerous siblings and we truly didn't fight - not because we didn't want to but because we were not allowed to. Thus, I married with no idea how to say "I am frustrated by that" or "I don't like that". Eventually, of course, I would burst with hot burning rage and spew lava over everyone around me and nobody could see the underlying issue and all I felt was shame. Those eruptions only added to the anger and despite the lava flow, did nothing to assauge it. Added to the anger I had to add shame and regret. Our daughters and sons need to know how to speak their anger and expect to be heard. I was much too old and had suffered way too much before I learned it was okay to say "I don't like that".

Anonymous said...

This post is so true of my life right now. Thank you for sharing. I am sad to say I've lost a good friend recently due to these issues. I hope it's not permanent.

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