Feminine Genius

Modesty and Sunday Best

eucharist photo
Photo by michael_swan

Crystalina Evert wrote a tweet. It was challenging women to not dress as if they’re going out to a club when they are going to mass. Modesty always makes people defensive for some reason. I was quite surprised by the comments and the replies. Most of them were geared towards “at least they are there”, or that we shouldn’t judge a person’s dress. They totally missed the point.

Do we actually believe in the Eucharist? If we did, would it not take us hours to prepare in order to be ready to enter the presence of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords? Why is it ok for us to come not at our best, but to give the Lord the dregs? Have you seen priests vest for the mass? If not ask to do so one day and see how each article of clothing has significance and importance. We too must vest when we come to mass, physically in our dress and spiritually as we prepare for worship.

If I can plan for a date, plan how to dress to impress and even if I will be rushing from work I can plan to look good, why can I not do that for mass? If I have sport before mass why not carry in my kit bag pair of slacks, a dress, something I can quickly change into before going to mass? Why do we give the excuse that well I was doing this and I was doing that so I did not have time to be ready for mass? It means that whatever else we were doing is way more important than mass by far. Because if the mass was important I would prepare for mass and align everything else around it not the other way around.

The excuse that it doesn’t matter what we are wearing at least we are there… has mass attendance become a Numbers Game? Does it not matter to be in the right right mood, to have the right preparation? Is attendance ‘no matter how badly done’ all that matters? Mass is communal prayer, not individual prayer, so it’s not about me but about the Body of Christ.

Modesty in dress and wearing our Sunday Best, it all still has a place. The Western and westernized world for some reason thinks that Come As You Are means Come as Badly as You Possibly Can. Not so! It is about realising our failings but still putting our best foot forward. If we dress up for work, for school, for the governor, for the queen, to impress, to fit the occasion, then why is mass an afterthought when it comes to this? Parents instruct their kids, “hey it’s cold outside wear a  jersey, swimming in jeans won’t work, that suit is better for an interview”, and yet feel for some reason ill-equipped to do the same for mass. We need to do the right thing, not do what is popular. I can tell you now at an African mass if you cam in wearing butty riders one of the mhamhas will give you a wrapper to cover up. If when we visit Rome we make sure to cover up when entering the Cathedrals, then we can do the same for our home parish.

Dress well for mass to show that you have put thought into the event, the celebration the Eucharist, that you are going to be attending. Dress meaningfully in order to teach those around you how important the mass is. Suit the occasion, you are after all going to be meeting your Redeemer, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This should be the most important hour of your week. We can sacrifice our comfort clothes surely for an hour or two? It should not be how badly can I do something and it still be acceptable, it should be how well can I do it. The widow with two coins brought her best, we are called to do the same.  It’s not about being archaic, it’s about showing our faith outwardly to the world, and about preparing ourselves inwardly for the Lord who saves us.

Motherhood of a different kind

 

motherhood photo
Photo by rahego

Part of the feminine genius is that we are called to motherhood. This is motherhood in all it’s different forms, physical, spiritual, emotional ad infinitum. Sometimes that’s hard to see especially when single and waiting and praying to one day be a mother. I came across the quote below recently from The Great Divorce by CS Lewis.

 

“And who are all these young men and women on each side?”
“They are her sons and daughters.”
“She must have had a very large family, Sir.”
“Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.”
“Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?”
“No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.”

 

After reading this I was so struck! It made me stop. I want to be like this woman. So I started reading The Great Divorce; well listening to the audiobook.

I’ve always wanted to be great, not necessarily famous, though that would be nice sometimes, but great at something nonetheless. Great enough at it so as to make a difference in the world we live in and when I pass-on for people to say, she did well and impacted our lives, she changed them for the better. That morphed over time too, I still want to be great but maybe not great here on earth in a tangible to the masses kind of way, but great by having been a mother to all who encounter me, a nurturer, an carer a bringer of life, not one who destroys it or takes it apart, or leaves other desolate and sad. I want to bring happiness, kindness, patience, to bring life and love into the world.

In my own little way, I do, when I mother the children around me. There is this Africanism that it takes a village to raise a child, and where possible I try. Today’s world makes it no longer so easy, people do not like you in their children’s space or correcting their children, but at Guides and Brownies, when teaching or tutoring, I become a mother for a little while, showing the girls, to be honest, and true, making them laugh, teaching them a skill, taking them camping, hiking and rock climbing and praying no-one has more than scratches or grazes to show for our adventures. When babysitting or visiting friends with babies, I become a mother for a little while, when distracting them for mom or dad to do something, when tickling them to make them laugh, when feeding and burping. When teaching or tutoring I become a mother for a little while as I practice patience, showing them over and over again for the umpteenth time how to do something just so. In mass, I smile and make funny faces at the toddler just about to cry so that he stops and wonders who is this crazy lady and may even forget why he was about to be upset anyway… doesn’t always work, but when it does yaaay. A motherhood of a different kind and I love every bit of it.

But with the little people, it’s easy, it just happens and comes naturally. It’s with the bigger people I struggle to practice the feminine genius of motherhood. I am not as patient with them, I am not as loving, I am not as open to bringing new life into theirs. They do not leave me to go and love their parents and loved ones more for having encountered me. Case in point I just hung up on a young woman who made me agro because she swore at me. I will see her later today and have no idea what to say to her to diffuse the situation, I want a good outcome but I find it hard to love her as she should be loved. I find it hard to practice this motherhood of a different kind. So Holy Spirit and Jesus give me the right words to say.

At work it’s also very hard to be nurturing, giving, everyone has their own agenda, I included. And suddenly an opportunity has come up for me to teach full time, little people. I know it will change me, life will be less complicated in some aspects and more difficult in others, money being one as a teachers salary will be a shadow of what I earn now. But maybe it’s time to step back and allow God to work on my heart and be more patient with older people, to have fewer stresses of a corporate nature and have simpler stresses, of forming young minds, ha as if that’s simpler but you know what I mean, I hope. Maybe it’s time for me to step up that motherhood of a different kind and know I am changing lives, something I am not always sure of at work. Maybe… if only God’s whispers were louder, you know like shouts. Should I pursue this new opportunity or not?!?!? One day I’ll be sure what He wants me to do. For now, I’ll ponder this passage and finish reading The Great Divorce, well listen to it.

waxless xoxoxo

Photo by rahego

I’ll wait for you…

There is this very talented artist by the name of Janette-Ikz ok I’m not sure if that’s her name because there are a lot of alliterations of her name “Mysterious Genetics = MissTerious Janette-Ikz” and her poem “I will wait for you” is phenomenal… I am going to learn it to use for our TOB rallies, talks and retreats because it is so powerful… all credit to Janette-Ikz of course  and the good Lord for blessing her with such awesome talent (words below ht)

I WILL WAIT FOR YOU” BY JANETTE IKZ

So it seemed that it was cool, for everyone to be in a relationship but me.
So I took matters into my own hands, and ended up with him.
Him who displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, & a thief. So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart?
I called 911, but I was cardiac arrested for aiding and abetting,
Cause it was me who let him in…
Claiming we were “just friends”.
It was already decided for me by the first date, that even if he wasn’t!
I was gonna make him ‘The One’
You know, I was tired of being alone.
And I simply made up in my mind, that it was about that time,
So I decided to drag him along for the ride,
Cause I was always the bridesmaid & never the bride.
A virgin in the physical, but mentally just a grown woman on the corner in heat!
Who was tired of the wait!
So I was gonna make him ‘The One’.
He had a… form of Godliness… but not much.
But hey, hey I can change him! So (honey) I’ll TAKE him, I mean he’s close… enough.
Ready to sell my aorta for a quarter, not knowing the value of its use to me.
Arties so clogged with my will, it blocked His will from flowing through me.
So, I thank Christ that His blood pressure gave this heart an attack,
That flatlined my obscured vision, put me flat on my back
Through my ignorance He sawed,
Through my sternum He sawed & cracked open my chest
To transplant Psalm 51:10
A new heart & a renewed right spirit within!
So now I fully understand,
Better yet I thoroughly comprehend,
How much I need to wait… for You.
See, the bad thing is that I knew he wasn’t you from the beginning..
Cause in the beginning was the Word
And he didn’t even sound or shine like Your Son
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,
And all he could whisper was sweet, empty nothings –
Which meant NOTHING.
He couldn’t even pray when I needed him to,
Asking him to fast would be absurd!
So forget about being cleansed & washed with water through the Word…
But I know You..
You were already praying for me.
Even never having met me,
Let me assure you, I will wait for you.
I will no longer date, socialize or communicate with carbon copies of you
To appease my boredom or to quench my thirstiness I have for attention
And short-lived compliments from ‘sorta kindas’.
You know….
He ‘sort kinda’ right, but ‘sorta kinda’ wrong?
His first name LUKE,
His last name WARM.
I, I won’t settle for false companionship
I won’t lay in the embrace of his arms,
Attempting to find some closeness,
But never feeling so far apart cause, I just wanna be held
Cause ”all I gotta do is Say” No!
No more ‘almost sessions’ of ‘almost coming close’
Passing winks & buying drinks,
I’ma, I’ma, I’ma flirt!
Who flirts with the ideology of,
‘Can you just tell me how much I can get away with & still be saved?’
NO more.
I’ll stay in my bed alone, and write poems, about how I will wait for you.
He won’t even come close,
Our fingers won’t even interlock
We won’t even exchange breath
Cause I have thoughts that I’ve ‘saved as’ in a file that God has only equipped you to open.
I will no longer get weighted down,
From so-called friends & family talks,
About the concern for my biological clock
When I serve the Author of Time.
Who is NOT subject to time,
But I’M subject to Him,
He has the ability to STOP, FAST FORWARD, PAUSE, or REWIND at any given time…
So if we could role play,
You would be Abraham & I would be Sara
Or you can be Isaac & I can be Rebecca – a servant’s answered prayer
I am bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh,
Made up of your rib Adam!
And once we meet, like electrons
I will be bound to your nucleus, completely indivisible atom.
We even speak the same math: 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, which really equals 1 if you add Him.
We were all created in His image,
But you have the ability to reflect, project & even detect the Son.
If I were to explain what you looked like,
You would have to look like a star,
A son of the Son..
I would gain energy simply from the light on me.
I would need you , in order to complete my photosynthesis
I await your revelation, but once again from the genesis, I will wait for you.
And I will know you… because when you speak I will be reminded of Solomon’s wisdom,
Your ability to lead will remind me of Moses,
Your faith will remind me of Abraham,
Your confidence in God’s Word will remind me of Daniel,
Your inspiration will remind me of Paul,
Your heart for God will remind me of David,
Your attention to detail will remind me of Noah,
Your integrity will remind me of Joseph,
And your ability to abandon your own will, will remind me of the disciples,
But your ability to love selflessly & unconditionally will remind me of Christ.
But I won’t need to identify you by any special Matthews or any special Marks,
Cause His word will be tatted all over your heart.
And you will know me, and you will find me,
Where… the boldness of Esther meets the warm closeness of Ruth.
Where the hospitality of Lydia is aligned with the submission of Mary,
Which is engulfed in the tears of a praying Hanna.
I will be the one, drenched in Proverbs 31… waiting for you.
But to my Father, my Father who has known me before I was birthed into this earth
Only if you should see fit…
I desire Your will above mine,
So even if you call me to a life of singleness,
My heart is content with YOU – the One who was sent.
YOU are the greatest love story ever told,
The greatest story ever known
You are forever my judge & I’m forever Your witness
And I pray that I’m always found on a mission about my Father’s business
Oh, I will always be Yours!
And I will always wait for You Lord, more than the watchmen wait for the morning
More than the watchmen wait for the morning…
I will wait.