Over heart, I have painfully
Turned every stone
Just to find, I had found what
I've searched to discover
I've come much too far for me now to find
The love that I sought can never be mine
And though you don't believe that they do
They do come true
For did my dreams
Come true when I looked at you
And maybe too, if you would believe
You too might be
Overjoyed, over love, over me
~Stevie Wonder, Overjoyed
I have had the unfortunate opportunity of being "critiqued" by the opposite sex. I've been in the position, more than one woman's confidence can consistently weather, of having who I am be compared to those whom I was never meant to compete with...other women. Needless to say, it left an impression. And well, I stood looking yet not seeing what He sees...
Who will love my mind...my heart...and my body? Who will love...me? I would like to be married again one day yet I can't help but to wonder...in the eyes of man, do body parts make the woman? And if so, are they not hallow too? Are my rounded thighs and the folds in my back profane? Has life's shaping of my form condemned me to a bed without the heave and heat of balance, the oneness of a holy enrapture?
The truth is...most of my experiences as a grown woman have repeatedly rendered the answer 'yes.' I don't have the snap, bounce, and perk of women on tv, in movies, or self-featured internet videos anymore. And well, I do not have the kind of resolve that would lead me to be enhanced by the cut and tuck of a surgeon's knife. My breast have been enhanced though...like flowers under the baptism of rain, they've taken on a slope that my ancestral mothers did not count as loss. I imagine my fore mothers, with the sun's pucker upon them, bare backed and bountiful. My breast have taken on the supple dip and honored sway of a woman who has bore and breast fed three young souls. So why, after the end of a marriage, did I look in the mirror to only see nudity unworthy of desire?
True enough...there are men (and women) whose idea of a body as a "marvelous work" is more firmly grounded in 1st Peter 3:4 and day-to-day reality; the stretch and labor of a pre and post pregnancy belly, the fatigue on the face of a quiet woman whose 4 month old's sleep cycle ends with a wail in 2 hour blocks, the multi-tasking of a gentle lady who flutters from mayonnaise jar to deli meat and bread...from 4pm homework attempts to 6pm parent conferences. A woman's work...the deferred hope of 30 minute meal preparation plans that in real-time translate into 90 minute seasoning and simmer, the vertigo inducing merry-go-round known as laundry for a family of 5, and the daily sonic pitched temper tantrums of 2 year old. And sports practices...dance rehearsals...dental and doctors appointments galore. The flat pages of a magazine can not hold this picture nor can a touch screen possess it. No screen fitted fantasy can contain the energy squeeze of insomnia salved and quelled by a 4th graders morning hug before leaving for school. That is the reality that the bodies of the women I know live in. Life. Action. Love.
Yet true enough too...those same women (and men) seem to be acquiescing to the zeitgeist of reducing what is spirit to only form...labeled in male circles as "t and a". For Christ's sake, what cruel turn of history rendered women as only a "hole"...as only an orifice, an object for aiding penile contraction and abetting its release? Thieves. On earth as it is in heaven...am I not sacred too? Erected upon the "rejected stone of offense"...whose temple am I and for whose use?
I speak from the experience of attempting to have an intelligent, compassionate conversation with a man only to be asked to bend over and touch my toes. And in another land not too yonder...the expressed toll to cross the bridge to a man's care and attention was "talking" to his other "head" before the other parts of me (my mind and heart) would be considered. Like a cumulus cloud my heart laments Fruitvale Station's life quenching tracks...blood on the concrete leaves, blood at the concrete root. As a kindling fire my mind illuminates in jubilee upon Orion...quantum symbols and esoteric leaps. By cloud. By fire. I feel. I think. So why, after the end of a marriage, did I look in the mirror to only see myself as body only, in parts sinful to the sight?
When did God's ruach quickened, earthen vessel choose to scrutinize herself to meet man-made approval? Does man have command over rain and baptism? When did male and female become judge over the fearful intricacies that we are too foolish to fathom. Can man make what is truly wonderful manifest?
I don't know in totality what it is like for other women yet I imagine that my struggle to see my naturally enhanced parts as part of a whole, as holy (mind, body, and spirit) is a struggle familiar to women young and old. But this is what I do know...as I consider the possibility of matrimony in the distance, only a man who is conformed by the spirit, whose speech and actions follow hard after Thee will be able to see the stark nakedness, the glory of God that is me as beautiful, in cohesive salvation to the sight.
As I stood before my bathroom mirror after a mid day shower I stood in the regalia of all of my Shining Mothers' brown skin. What the world, in all of its fantastical appeal, objectifies The Most High sanctifies. Justifies in Completeness. A Truth that perpetually and forevermore transcends this world's trends and facts. Yet in that moment I could not see myself as a woman who is augustly sweet on the eye. But in the cool of the evaporating remnants of my cleansing, God...
God saw. The Most High saw me...as I stood in all my hurts and disappointments. God saw what I did not see. Grace reigned over me...stood in the nude with me and discerned the secret shame that salted the tears that had created a river of remembered disregard and harsh sentiments from my cheeks to my shoulders. And in the power of all that He is...He heard me...embraced me with the arms that set the foundation of this reality and brought Light to dimensions unknown...."kissed me on my neck" and whispered in my ear, "It is good."
But [woman], you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, aholy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of [Her] who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. ~from 1st Peter chapter 2
I am woman.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.