Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Box of Hope that Women Hold

Like Eve of the Old Testament with a forbidden fruit, Pandora was curious and peeked inside a forbidden box of ills that allowed disease and illness, wounds and scars, hurt and pain to escape over the earth.

But, as a woman, she was able to capture one small thing that remained with that box.

The Gift of Hope.

Woman is her own worse enemy. We are tempted, and curious. We find fault, We stir up discussion and controvery. We gossip. We are prideful. We are painfully and collectively possessive of our own. We can be tyrants. We are bossy. We are guarded. We are suspicious of other women.

We are also soul bearers and gift bearers. We demand justice like no other and we deliver mercy like no other. We are community builders. We are the delivers of messages that are sent out to a time we will not live to see.

Today is International Woman Day and one website sells us quite a different image. It tells us that TODAY...

Paid jobs, Emotional Labor, Childcare, Diapers, Housework, Cooking, Sweeping, Laundry, Dishes, Errands, Groceries, Fake smiles, Flirting, Makeup, Laundry, Shaving."

And yet, as women, should we ever deny ourselves and others the opportunity to be the best versions of ourselves? A very strong feature that women possess is the power to make things right. And we must...WE MUST...remember that we are the life-bearers to the world. We hold the Gift of Hope within our hands.

My life is blessed with such women...women I am privileged to call family and friends and daughters.

And so...


In recognition of these women I love...

One of us is cleaning house, caring for her children and a sick husband, and praying for healthier days in order to enable her family to be the best they can be to a larger society. Goodness knows she's doing laundry! Yes! clean bedsheets in a sick house! The most necessary thing in the world TODAY! That is important. And, when she gets time to huddle low and breathe deep, in the mist of her sick household and all the worry that goes with that, she will take a moment to invite beauty and life into her home. She will edit light and ambience and prayer into bridal photos of another woman in order to make sure that lovely woman knows how truly beautiful she is. Her work is hidden behind the doors of her home, but she is making a difference that matters in the lives of others. Whether holding a medicine box of Tamiflu, her camera, or her computer on her lap, she bears the Gift of Hope in her hands. And she passes that gift on to another...

( T. Gibson Photography )


One of us is swabbing the mouths of other people's children, collecting urine samples from nervous mothers, and observing small drops of blood under a microscope in order to heal these children and empower other women to heal families. She wipes her hands clean and prays for her children and the good women who care for them. Her work is hidden behind the doors of a lab, but she is making a difference that matters in the lives of others. Whether holding a urine cup over a sink or a vial over a slide, she bears the Gift of Hope in her hands. And she passes that gift on to another.


One of us is entering the tomb doors of the oncology floor at the hospital where she works. She changes fluid bags and medicate wounds of another woman whose wounds run deep. She will give a soft smile to a worried relative and she will say quiet prayers that bleed real hope to the patients she serves. Her work is hidden behind tomb doors that others prayer they will never have to open nor walk through, but she is making a difference that matters in the lives of others. Whether holding a box of bandaids or a potent bag of cancer-killing agents, she bears the Gift of Hope in her hands. And she passes that gift of hope on to another.


Some women who are near and dear to me leave the quiet, peaceful reprieve of their retired lives and enter into a old building filled with almost 200 children ages K thru High School. They give freely and joyfully their time in running off papers, listening to problems, cutting and slicing art projects, passing out messages, typing and filing, and doing anything else they are asked to do for the good of families who, with expectant hope, drop off their children and pray that we can share with these innocent minds our love of something greater and more beautiful than what this world offers because, as parents, they have seen what the world has to offer and they know it is not good nor beautiful. There has to be something more. Their work is hidden behind the doors of an old-paneled, dusty supply room and humming copier machine, but they are making a difference in the lives of others. Whether they are transporting a box of crayons to a classroom or cutting laminated prayer cards or placing a bandaid on a hurt finger, they bear the Gift of Hope in their hands.


A number of women...too many to name...will walk through these same church doors for religious education. They will leave their regular school work, come off bus runs, leave doctor offices, find sitters for their own children at home or for the parent in their care, pay extra workers to replace them at their place of business, arrive still in their work clothes, ask their families to wait that extra hour for supper, and overcome their own health-riddled bodies to come and freely offer emotional and spiritual guidance and healing to a hurting world. I watch them come through those doors and hope they know how grateful we are for the smiles they offer all of us. Whether holding a prayer book or Bible or the hands of a child, they bear the Gift of Hope in their hands.


My husband, or my son or my daughter-in-law, will have supper waiting for me when I get home late tonight. This work is hidden as well, but not to me and I include my husband because without him I would not be the best version of myself...even though I could be...but I wouldn't be. My husband completes me, and that very language is what angers the cries of some who write websites as listed above. But I don't, for a second, believe I must annihilate the men in my life to prove my own value. In their hidden work they show me their support, their belief, their hope in and their love for me. They lift me up. That is what we should be doing for one another. They know that tonight I serve a greater community than just my family at home and they support me. In this small weekly offering, they offer me the Gift of Hope.

Going on strike does nothing but ferment self-righteous pride and anger. The Gift of Hope is in the hands of each other and we must assure ourselves that we hold it and keep it well-guarded and protectively within our hands. And then, in turn, offer it back to a hurting world who needs the nurturing force of women to remind us of who we are and who we serve and what we are capable of doing. Through the power of the second Eve, we have the power to make somethings right in this world despite the fall of the first Eve.

This small piece does not recognize all the women in my life who I admire and love and who are crashing the world TODAY with their productivity and positivity but I have work to do and I know you do as well. This sharing must end as we go forward to proudly show the world the boxes in our hands and share with them the Gift of Hope.

A Day Without Women?

Goodness, I hope not. I pray not. Serve others proudly and I'll see you on the streets. :-)

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