Last week, my grandmother had heart surgery. It was supposed to be minor, but there is nothing “minor” when 1. It involves one’s heart and 2. The aforementioned heart is 84 years old and the proud owner of a pacemaker whose battery has decided to die. There were a few glitches that made the surgery more difficult than we’d thought, but she is here and she is getting stronger, and she is spending her recuperation time at my home.
She’s an early-morning person (and by early, I mean that she would give the roosters a run for their jobs), and so we have had some sweet (albeit sleepy) conversations over coffee while waiting for the sun to catch up to us overachievers. This time together has reminded me anew that there is a whole breed of women who have overcome betrayal and pain and horrific loss and abuse and have emerged with grace and loveliness. This is not by some crazy chance, but by their vulnerable choices and by open hearts and by the steel-strong love which can say “enough” when it needs to be said.
I am inspired anew. So today, I remember that there are women…
Women whose hands are freckled and bent, wrinkled and worked.
Women whose feet have stood firm on this planet: on the hard ground, cracked with days and months and years of wanting; or on the washed-out waste of too much.
Women who have thrust themselves arm-deep into the learning of living. Of loving. Of losing and giving.
These are the women.
These are the mothers I want for my daughter.
These are the sisters I want for myself.
These are the women whose eyes are full: sparking, tumbling, thick with battle-won wisdom, the kind that only comes from staring strong into the dark sockets of death and despair, of horror and helplessness. The kind that only comes from wading into the waters, not unafraid, but brave in spite of the fear.
These are the women whose tribe I want to join. Not the kind who whisper secrets and stories behind backs. The kind who reach into the fire and pull a sister out.
Some days, I am the woman I want to be. Some days, I am a mess, and I need a sister to be that woman for me. Could we be these mothers and friends and companions? For us and for our daughters…whether they be daughters of our bodies or daughters of our hearts? Could we hold each other’s arms and hearts up? Could we be louder in each other’s ears than the insidious lies wafting all around us and within us?
The truths that we are loved and we are so very needed. The truth that the world would be strangely off-kilter without each one of us taking up our part, or maybe passing it on to another when we are exhausted and it becomes too much.
It’s about realizing that we are all on the human team, that we are braver and better and brighter in our light when we battle together, instead of against each other.
So today, every day, I applaud and salute you, fellow fire-reachers, fellow generation-teachers, fellow strong and tired and overwhelmed and yet-still-giving women. I’m proud to be in your Tribe.