Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yesterday was the anniversary of my Grandmother's death. I tried to think of anything I might have to say, and no words seemed to come. I have many thoughts of her, but moreover, my thoughts seem to drift more to the subject of women and femininity. Both of my grandmothers were, and one still is, very industrious. They were both strong and quite capable. They each possessed a sternness that rattled me as a child, but a tenderness that has mellowed and drawn me as an adult. They embody much of what I associate with being a woman, and for this, I am thankful.
Grammie King was a simple woman with plain tastes. She was passionate about chocolate, smelled always like dove, baked great pies, and always had silky hands. Her skin was beautiful, and her smile -- consistent. She seemed to despise me some as a teen, but as her dementia grew, so too her love. She was a Pennsylvania woman through and through; I know not how else to describe her. She had no taste for culture or things foreign, but was American bred and possessed a uniquely consistent order that seemed to be fueled by her lovely simplicity. There is little more I love than this simple beauty. I prefer raw skin and linen any day to the excess and pomp of our world. I like to see God's unadulterated beauty as displayed on our broken vessels (except for my own). I wonder what's it's like now, to be a grandma -- to be her. Nevertheless, I am thankful that both grammies loved flowers and all things outside, for my parents too imbued this love which has furthered my own. I often think too on my own life, and the sort of legacy I might hope to leave. I possess no children, and really have no idea what might be left now in the event of my death. There are some things though for which I hope. When I started to follow Jesus, I envisioned that every woman I met would possess the eternal wisdom and beauty that I read in my Bible. I believed their hearts might sprout grace, and every sort of quirky idiosyncrasy that God might bury therein for the joy of all to see. I imagined laughter, depth, mercy, and kindness. I always picture things outside, with mountains, flowers and trees, or inside with a rumbling fire, and collected chaos; with time enough to always smile into the eyes of those around them. I pictured smiling eyes -- and I also envisioned pain. I imagined a treasure chest of simple goodness packed in an imperfect profile with eternity busting through every unhemmed seam.
I can't say that I'm disappointed, because that wouldn't be fair, but I will say that perhaps I'm inspired. I'd rather not die with this as some childlike reverie which I unpack for myself with my Emmylous Harris tunes and dry red wine. I want my bones buried with the smell of my sweat lingering on the shoulder I'd held; my foibles recalled in the wake of my death; life breathed for another in my parting. And now, being nearly 30, my likes are ironed, and my vision is somewhat set. I don't have time to rattle around in the nursery of contentious women, and I've too little time fussing over what isn't; I must be the "what is." My travels have lead me to and fro, and for years I've hid in the back trying to ascertain when the more seasoned women will become such, and the church will no longer be "always learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth..." And so, as I pen this I smile knowing that the four people whose eyes might land here are such as what I'm describing... So I say, in my broken, unpracticed words, we must be the fabric that sways and holds this light of the world, and who makes it our ambition to patch up the sieve-like hearts around us without casting condemnation for the ever-gaping souls that are our own. We must be the change we wish to see; the women we'd like others to be.