Sep 292009

Well. My goodness.

It seems that you ladies had a few feelings about yesterday’s post. I imagine that you are wondering how I’m going to respond.

Remember Jerry McGuire? He got fired because some of his colleagues weren’t sure about a controversial “mission statement” he’d written. When he walked out of his office with all eyes on him, he announced, “Don’t worry. I’m not gonna do what you think I’m gonna do, “Which is just FREAK OUT!”

Don’t worry. I’m not going to freak out either.

There were times during the “debate” yesterday when I wanted to freak out. Several times I wrote passionate comments and responses and then deleted them. And in retrospect, I think that was the right thing to do. Because sometimes, when you’re feeling angry and threatened, it’s good to wait, and think, and pray if you’re so inclined, so that you don’t end up making someone else feel the same way you do. And so that you can be sure, once you do speak, that you are speaking from a place of love.If you don’t, it really is possible to sound “right,” but also sound like that gong Paul mentions in Corinthians.

And here’s the blessing that accompanies waiting to make conclusions and to speak. Yesterday morning, as I wrote that post, I truly believed that it was possible for a group of women to respect each other’s choices without questioning each other’s motives as unworthy or unexamined. And if not that, then I at least believed that a group of women could disagree without hurting each other. But after reading a lot of the comments, I started to feel a little hopeless. NOT because of the debate. NOT because we disagreed. But because we had such a hard time debating without attacking. And that’s what I teach my children that grown ups are supposed to do. As I fell asleep, I felt foolish for being so Pollyannish and causing so much trouble.

But then I woke up this morning and discovered to my delight that I still have faith in God, and I still have faith in the women He created. I still believe, despite some evidence yesterday to the contrary, that women were meant to lift each other up, that power and peace can be found in solidarity, and that competition and comparison are unnecessary distractions. I still agree with the eloquent reader who, in reference to how sensitive we all are about our success as mothers said,

To know this as a mother myself makes me feel compassion for all other mothers, regardless of whether they work in or out of the home. If only we could see our commonality in this, our greatest vulnerability.”

Like this reader, I still believe that the point of our greatest vulnerability, motherhood, is the point upon which we have the opportunity to connect. To truly understand each other and feel compassion for each other. I really do. And I also believe that a lot of you agree with me. I’m so relieved that I still believe. I feel a little Pollyannish and foolish again this morning, which are my favorite ways to feel. Morning is a hopeful time. It’s so lovely that it happens everyday.

There was a man who stood quietly in front of the White House every single night during the Vietnam War, holding a single candle. When reporters questioned him about this ritual, he didn’t say much. But one night, when a reporter said something like “Why are you wasting your time here? You can’t possibly believe that one candle and one man could change the minds of the powers that be.” The man turned and said “Oh, I don’t do this to change them. I do this so they don’t change me.”

I like this man, and I like what he did. I like that he didn’t give up, stay home, watch the news and become jaded and angry. I like that he didn’t yell and scream and add fuel to the fire. Because I think there’s power in peacefully expressing one’s belief that love and unity are the ultimate realities, even when things appear otherwise. Especially when things appear otherwise. Because that’s what hope is, right? And I’m too hopeful to be angry or afraid.

Tonight I am going to the U2 concert with my husband, sister, and friend. And we’re going to listen to Bono wail about redemption and hope and freedom and the power of love. And that thing is going to happen to us that always happens at good concerts: when you soak up the sea of people who are all so different, but the same, and the music hits your heart and it swells so big that it feels like it’s going to pop out of your throat- and you discover you can’t sing at all, you can only whisper. And I’m probably going to cry the whole darn time, because that’s what I do. And I’m going to melt into that sea of people. And we are still going to have different opinions about God and love and family but you know what? We’re all going to sing and sway together. We are going to be like a million drops of water in one sea.

I’d just like you to know that I respect you. No matter how you weighed in on the debate yesterday, I respect you. Not because I agree or disagree, but because you’re a woman made in God’s image. And because I know firsthand that it can be confusing and tough to be a woman. And because I know how much you love your family and how hard you try.

And because I believe, I still believe, that we are all sisters. That we are a million drops of water in one sea.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  9 Responses to “This Little Light O’ Mine…and So On and So Forth”

  1. WOW, Glennon- you've got quite a following here! I'm not even sure how I'd respond to some of the things posted on yesterday's entry (I'm just catching up tongiht!!)…how do you manage to stand back and not jump all ove the criticisms??? I think it shows you have found the inner peace that you are encouraging all of us to find. You are certainly leading by example. Don't let the uproar stop you from writing your opinions. THey are wonderful, and heartfelt, and as far as I'm concerned SO well grounded in life and love and REALITy- at least the reality I live in.From one mom to another…I love ya.

  2. Amen, sister!Have a great time at U2 tonight.

  3. Sweet Mr. Vince,Please don't feel guilty. You are also a woman made in God's image, promise.G

  4. ..hey G where's the daddy self help section for daddy guilt??

  5. After yesterday's post and debate I found myself thinking, "can't we all just get along??" I am a new mom but I find that I am already tired of the "mommy wars." It starts so early … during pregnancy really. Some one thinks you exercise too much or too little for the sake of the baby. You're planning a natural birth or one with drugs or a surgical one and you're made to feel there is something wrong about your choice. Then the next hot debate: breast feeding. You're doing it too long and that's weird, or not long enough and that's not good for the baby. Then the baby weight: you lost it too fast so I feel badly about myself, or I was in my pre-pregnancy jeans the next day so now I feel superior. Why do we feel it's necessary to put other women down to make us feel better about ourselves? Don't we have enough to contend with as we embark on this new journey of motherhood without condemning others for making different choices?? And that's it, they are just different, not better or worse or right or wrong. Just different.What's more, what if everyone parented exactly like you? How would you learn and grow as a mother and a person? How BORING would that be? I think we all need to take a deep breath and a giant step back and realize there are as many ways to parent as their are parents. And, if we STOP and LISTEN long enough — instead of pontificating — we might actually LEARN something about ourselves, our fellow moms and even our children. I believe we could all stand to be a little less defensive about our beliefs, a little less judgemental about other people's choices, and a whole lot more compassionate in general, especially to our fellow moms and women. Let's all try offering a helping hand next time instead of an opinion or a judgement. Glennon: thank you for opening your heart to us and encouraging us to be more compassionate. Keep up the great writing!

  6. Loved yesterday's post and today's wasn't necessary but a wonderful response to the debate in yesterday's comments.I'm not a mother yet, but I do think about the decision I will make when it does happen. You're message reminded me that we are all in this together, sisters. And it reminded me of the "Sister, I salute you" post. I salute all of you Mothers :) Thank you,Chimmy

  7. A deeper analogy perhaps? Women are like Bono. They annoy the crap out of you sometimes, but you still love them to death! LOL!

  8. That was beautiful and eloquent(sp?)! Enjoy your concert and THANK YOU for your blog. God Bless you and your precious family. Susie

  9. Bravo Glennon…Bravo!!Quantico9

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