My Death, My Resurrection
I am surrounded by a host of witnesses and comforters. I am truly blessed.
In my darkest hours, they shine a light onto my pathways. They are saints, and yet they are broken vessels. They are wise, yet they do not know. They are world weary, but they are the very Cups of Life brimming with the spirit of adventure — guiding me, leading me, pushing me far beyond what I could have imagined.
Four of them — four of the brightest lights and most gentle of comforters — touched me this morning, just before I went into my morning’s meditation (I rose late today!), it was only with each of their touches that I was able to fully embrace the text before me.
I am awaiting my resurrection, my rebirth. As one of my guides said, “Isn’t that what Good Friday and Easter are about? You have to die to be reborn.”
Dying to What Was is painful. But I have no choice, choice has been taken from me.
I will let Sr. Joan Chittister tell you in her own words, this is from the last chapter, Chapter 12 Fulfillment, in her book The Story of Ruth, If you have not yet read any of Joan Chittister’s books, go get one now! There isn’t a single book of hers that I haven’t wanted to read at least twice, if not more.
The chapter begins this way:
“The moment a woman comes home to herself, the moment she knows that she has become a person of influence, an artist of her life, a sculptor of her universe, a person with rights and responsibilities who is respected and recognized, the resurrection of the world begins. For Naomi and Ruth and the women of Bethlehem, the new and vital posture of two women, once castaways but now creators of a whole new life, are the sign of God’s power at work in all women as well as in men.
“What we do as women to bring ourselves to fullness makes the world around us a fuller place as well. It is not to women only that change happens when women find fullness of life in themselves. As women develop, men find them selves freer, less burdened, more alive. Men can put down now the kind of false responsibility that leads a man either to domination or to despair. They become aware that women are people just like they are, able to care for themselves just as they do if only given the opportunity to do so, able to shape and plan and design and lead. Just as they do.
“Men, loosed from the delusion of male superiority, become freer themselves to make mistakes when having to pretend to be perfect is no longer at a premium. They come to see that feeling is not non-thinking, that it is a different way of knowing, another way of thinking, a better way to live than locked inside a rationality that is irrational.
“When a woman is strong and fulfilled herself, a man finds a partner with whom to share and on whom to lean. They, too, become more of the fullness of themselves than Madison Avenue or Hollywood allows “real men” to be. . .”
I wish I had heard those words and taken them to heart a long time ago! But, better late than never, eh?
Joan finishes the chapter (and the book) with these powerful words — listen closely, you can almost hear her gathering steam as she plows forward into this diatribe of strength and power:
“. . .Naomi lives on to call generation after generation of women to begin again, whatever our ages, to make life for ourselves, to refuse to wait for someone else to swoop down to make us happy, to fear nothing and risk anything that develops the dream in our own hearts, to learn to believe in ourselves as women, to find ourselves in one another and in that way to become of more value to the world around us than we have ever been before, to see ourselves as carriers of the Word of God still to be said, still to be heard.
When will the reign of God come to fulfillment? Only when the women of the world have come to theirs. And when will that be? Only when every woman takes life into her own hands, reshapes it, and hands it on to the next generation whole and entire. And when will that happen? Only when good men, the Boazs of the world, awaken to the creative presence of women and welcome them into the rest of life, the part they hold so tightly for themselves alone.
“And who of us has not known Ruth? The woman who lives in a hovel, abandoned by a man, and fresh out of food stamps. The old woman, educated long before her time, who never used her degree for a day, was never asked an academic question, never served on a prestigious panel, never ran a public meeting despite the fact that she read every book she could find. The spiritual woman who is ordained but never called to a congregation or never ordained at all because “God doesn’t want it,” despite the fact that God is the call in every heart.
“It is time, the Book of Ruth signals us, for the presence of women to cease to be an exception and begin to be the norm. Just so that women may be saved? Certainly not. The stakes are much higher than that. The presence of women — the presence of feminine values and experience — at the heart of the world and all its institutions is necessary if a human race on the brink of extinction from war, racism, starvation, and global violation is itself to be saved.
“Indeed, look at this woman’s story we must. We must not dismiss it too quickly. We must contemplate whether or not it isn’t really about many of the things in our own lives. We must ask ourselves whether or not we ourselves are not really dealing with many of the same things she did. But how? What is Ruth’s story saying to us, here and now, about the place of God, the will of God in a woman’s life? In my life?
“The Book of Ruth is about redemption, indeed, but it is as much about the redemption of Boaz and the nation, about the family and the culture, about the next generation of men and the next generation of women, about the righteousness of religion and the salvation of religiosity, about us and the disjointed world we take for granted, as it is about the redemption of Ruth and Naomi. It is a book about women helping women to break the isolation of powerlessness that affects every other man, woman, and child alive.
“It is a book to be written into every woman’s — every man’s — spiritual life. And the book is incomplete until every woman writes the rest of it herself.“
Amen and amen!