On my walk today, there were so many ways and places that Spring is revealing its arrival. Some are subtle, like the fragrance of pine. Some are pungent, like the smell of the softening earth. Some are bursting, like the raucous chattering of the birds. Every single one of them. (And then there's the memory of the smell and feel of warm horse's breath in my palms yesterday, when Kay and I stopped by the stables on our long walk down to Water Works and back.)
So on today's walk, I thought about the way Francis seeks to live his vocation as Pope. I love him for breaking tradition by washing the feet of young prisoners, including women. And I link that to the way Jesus of Nazareth lived, the way that Jesus treated women, and to my feelings about myself as a threshold or liminal woman (see previous post). I can't go into all of that here, except to say:
I know what happens to thresholds. People trip over them sometimes. They also step over them intentionally, in order not to trip. People stomp on them, and use them to wipe the mud off their feet. Thresholds sustain damage and get scarred up. But they rarely go away or move. And you can't experience anything new if you're not willing to cross a threshold.
And I pondered scripture (a joyful pondering), and the way it's given to us. I thought about the liminal women I mentioned the other day from John's Gospel: Mary, the Mother of our Lord, appears to Influence Jesus's actions at the Wedding of Cana (John 2). (Does he change his mind because of what she says?) The Woman at the Well Evangelizes (John 4). Martha Professes, "You are the Christ; the Son of God." (John 11). Mary of Bethany is the first Disciple to wash Jesus's feet (John 12), and Mary Magdalene is in the role of Apostle (John 20)--one sent by Jesus to tell others. All threshold women in roles of service and devotion.
As far as my "holy grappling" and living in an in between place. . .it seems that one way my role of service and devotion is meant to be lived out is in seeking to understand. I struggle to reconcile the way I view male/female relationships and homosexuality and unmarried couples co-habiting. and hooking up. with the realities of our culture, the way I interpret scripture, and my personal experiences and encounters with all of the above. I end up asking a lot of personal questions, which helps me to come to terms with all of it. I end up asking personal questions, also, as a way of loving people.
Which is the most important thing. Remember?
This is where I always end up: "It is not good for humans to be alone." Our bonds with others are meant for companionship and joy. They are meant to mature us in love and holiness. They require integrity, commitment and surrender in order to endure.
A lot of this is lacking in what I see going on relationally around me. I want to understand.
It's been a funny week, that way. Relationally, I mean. I was surprised and saddened that one of my favorite couples is having serious troubles, which I learned about through Facebook. Shocked to learn in spiritual direction that what I'd been thinking of as a "blah" period hasn't been "blah" in the least. Happy that Jack and I, for once, felt the same way about the same book--Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. And Thrilled that Kay and I get to plan our girlfriend trip to Santa Fe in June. Life is good. Besides. It's Easter!!