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.
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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