i found the most beautiful blog today and for a moment i was jealous...this ugly part of me that read another's words and wished that i had written them...nuances and artistry with words that i can only stab at...i was so conflicted in this moment of utter delight and awe at another's gift, and my own ugly jealousy...it caused me to pause...to reflect for a bit on how hard it is to really champion another if i am insecure in who i am and what i have to offer.
her jealousy was touched off by kristin's blog unveilings. i know i have felt this so many times reading other's writings and her willingness to admit it outright was so refreshing. she goes on to say:
we as women have such an opportunity to give life, or to deny it in the way we handle our jealousy. Now, I am less afraid to admit my jealousy, though it took many years of denial to get here... As i name the feeling that wells up inside me, i can stop scrambling to measure up and i can simply enjoy another's gifts or beauty that blesses and graces the world, in its utter essence and offering rahter than run to comparison. when i am willing to name the jealousy of another woman's gift, i feel far more free to enjoy it, embrace it and celebrate it. I am not lost in a battle or competition, rather i am free to live in the midst of the enjoyment and the want for more.
i have come to believe that we as women have to power to uphold or tear down, with a simple glance of the eyes, a word well spoken, a hand offered in gracious and sincere support. we have been so conditioned to compete and compare, rather than compliment and share. but i believe that we can change the face of feminine interactions and offer what comes from the depths of our being, a life giving offering, if we take on the roles of bridesmaid, midwife and mother.
we all want to be a bride, but on the day of our friends wedding, we delight in being a bridesmaid...we are there to usher in the main attraction, to set her off to be noticed in all her beauty...it is all about the bride, and we delight in this role.. what if we were bridesmaids to each other on non-wedding days. if we really believed that there is plenty of love, attention, accolades to go around and that the Bridegroom delights in each of us...
i wanted to be a bridesmaid to the woman whose blog soared above mine, to the woman who just wrote the book i have been wanting to write, to the beautiful woman who lives next door, to the mother in my playgroup who is an example to me, to the teacher, speaker counselor who is more gifted than i am...can i sing the praises of another... will i be a bridesmaid?
Or as a midwife, i can help to usher in new life...help another give birth to what they have created, i can be part of the process without any glory... is that not the beauty of midwifery...being part of and assisting in, being a support, a cheerleader that allows another's creation to be the main event. will i be a midwife, when i feel barren, when my creativity fails me or is not fertilized with life and acceptance? can i help give birth to another's dream, vision, offerings, or do i shy away, because i am afraid or jealous like peninah of the love and accolades another woman receives?
as i read the work of other women and see their hand prints on the kingdom, i want to be a midwife...a woman who comes alongside another woman and helps, supports and upholds the her creation, celebrates her gift of life giving artistry.
and i think this category would not be complete without the role of being a mother...it is in that role that we as women are life giving, nurturing and sustaining one who is totally other...one that will grow beyond us, another being whose very essence causes us to pause and glorify god in his miracles... will i be this nurturing presence to those who come after me, who will surely outshine me and offer life generatively...not denying my role, or part, or offering, but acknowledging another who walks alongside? will i make room for another, and give them space and nurturing to grow in a self sacrificing way? will i see the beauty and giftedness around me and celebrate it, engage with it and champion the one who brings it to life?
these are the thoughts that went though my mind as i found this blog today...would i hide my jealousy and pretend i didn't feel it, or would i name it and offer it to God as my own fear of being less? would i be willing to champion another and point those who read my words to another's words that may bless them more deeply... will i believe that there is enough love and enjoyment to go around, rather than live with a scarcity mentality?
often when i am trying to find a way to image the possibilities in women frienships, i picture a field of wild flowers and the beauty that comes in the diversity of texture, color and size. i would much prefer a wild flower bouquet over a dozen roses...all the same. Can we as women can view each other in this way...as a field of wildflowers with so much to offer in so many different ways, made all the more beautiful in our diverse gifts and offerings...all shining in the uniqueness that is ours? what would women relationships look like and how they would change the world in the giving and receiving of blessing to each other?
as a 39 year old woman who was raised by a mother who competed with every woman around her (including me) i was given insight into how destructive this is first hand. she raised my sister and i to compete through our whole teen age years. it wasn't until she died that we realized we could stop being rivals and start being friends. how sad.
this comes from believing the lie that there will never be enough. if you get attention, that means there is less for me. parker palmer (again) unlocked this for me in his writings on scarcity and abundance. believing the lie of 'survival of the fittest' is a great disservice to us all. when you get something that never means there will be less for me, unless i choose to believe in abundance. if i hoard or live in fear of scarcity it is a self-fulfilling metaphor - that there truly isn't enough.
a better metaphor, he goes on to say is thinking about the cells in our body working together in community for the good of the whole. what if we as women (and men in community) decided that we were going to choose this better metaphor instead of the tired old one our mother's and grandmother's handed us? there will always be enough. we have a god of lavish abundance - we aren't competing for thoughts, resources or attention, let's learn to keep celebrating each other on a cellular level, nurturing and applauding like the bridesmaid, midwife and mother we all hoped to have.
i love being in this community of brilliant, funny, inspiring women (and men). you all make me better and i love you for it!