11.05.2013

the women I come from


If it can be said that I don't really dig Mondays so can it be said that I love Tuesdays.

On Tuesdays I sit at a dining room table with my mother to my left, my sister (and only sibling) to my right, my grandmother across from me, and Pretty Baby in the next room talking back to Dora and Super Why. Four generations. We make ourselves mugs of coffee and nosh on culinary finery that Mom lays before us. We catch up on days we haven't seen each other; what silly things the kids have said, conversations we've had, places we've been. We talk about upcoming dates everyone might want to mark in their calendars; a trapeze recital, when to pick up tickets for the Christmas concert at the symphony, a day we can all get together with the whole of our extended family for the holidays. And when the catching up is done we ease deeper into our chairs, open our Bibles, read and study together, and share the deepest truths - and sometimes the best and worst facts - of our lives.

You can't convince me there is a solitary thing happening in this town that I could find more precious or sacred than these Tuesday mornings.

As a society - even as families within the society - we've drifted and shifted away from being people who live our lives up close to one another. We're independent in our one-family households and high fences. We're self-reliant and capable of meeting most of our own needs by our own means. Too many of our pop songs blare lyrics about parties that are ours where we can do what we want. We presume we're being patronized or judged if someone older or wiser attempts to speak anything into our lives. We don't even attempt to pour anything into anyone younger because we think them arrogant and unteachable.

Tuesdays show me a different way.
We need inter-generational relationships.

I need this day every week to look into the faces and the eyes of three other women - all of us ranging in age from late thirties to early eighties (not counting Pretty Baby who is four) - who've walked a different road than me, lived a whole other life than mine. We benefit from each other. They do not patronize me; they bless me by their being who they are. They don't see me as unteachable, nor I them. I see their wisdom and experience as something to sit at the feet of and glean from. But it's the fact that they would wince at being touted as "wise and experienced" - their humility - that tunes my ear to hear their words and opens my mouth to speak my own. They haven't "arrived". To them, they've simply lived their lives - their womanhood, their marriages, their motherhood, their careers, their faith - the only ways they've known how. They don't see any of that as necessarily extraordinary. But sitting at a table with them week after week, growing closer to each other and to the God of our faith, is changing me extraordinarily.

Today I am grateful for Tuesdays, for these women I come from, and sharing our lives in a very intentional way in these morning hours.

I know this is a rare thing we have going here. I know it's not an option everyone has, or even one we will have forever. So I cherish it now. And I really believe there are ways and means and people with which to share our lives if we would just decide to try it, to carve out the space for it in our calendars and in our hearts.

Grandmother read a passage this morning before we were all together. She mentioned it as we began today, and then we read it together. It is beautiful and full of not-the-easiest-of-truths. But its realities playing out in her life and my Grandfather's speak to the significance and importance of the words being heard within my own life. They give perspective, lovely much-needed perspective, on life and living. I leave the words with you.
Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young,
Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes,
Before your vision dims and the world blurs
And the winter years keep you close to the fire.
In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.
Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen.
The shades are pulled down on the world.
You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt.
The hum of the household fades away.
You are wakened now by bird-song.
Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past.
Even a stroll down the road has its terrors.
Your hair turns apple-blossom white,
Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body.
Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest,
While your friends make plans for your funeral.
 Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.
Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.
The body is put back in the same ground it came from.
The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.
 It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.
The Quester [Solomon] says that everything’s smoke.

Besides being wise himself, the Quester also taught others knowledge. He weighed, examined, and arranged many proverbs. The Quester did his best to find the right words and write the plain truth.
The words of the wise prod us to live well.
They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.
They are given by God, the one Shepherd.

But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:
Fear God.
Do what he tells you.

And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil. - Ecclesiastes chapter 12

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:07:00 AM

    Wonderful, wonderful post. I am so glad that the 4 of you are having this time together each Tuesday. How priceless and special indeed. I love each of you with all of my heart.

    Love you, Blondie. Keep writing.

    Daddy

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  2. thanks for this! you expressed how truly precious these Tuesdays are.......

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  3. This is extraordinary! I literally want to create this starting with my own household. My family is somewhat all over the place - not all believing the same or at all, so it would be pretty tough to do something of this nature. Besides, I live in Arizona and they are in NJ. You have definitely given me something great to chew on. Creating this with my children and them continuing it on will mean so much.

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    1. I LOVE the idea of starting it within your own home. That's so important. Anthony and I talk about that a lot, that we are the primary disciplers of our kids and we do that by working out our faith right out in the open. I hope and pray they see the real deal in us. I believe completely that yours will in you.

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