Sunday, March 21, 2010

In Celebration of Women's History Month

The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. ~William Ross Wallace, 1819-1881

On Thursday night I attended a program at my church celebrating the remarkable healing power of women. It was just what I needed with The Alien doing her best to drag me down. I was able to stave her off with healthy eating and exercise the first two days, but on the third day she totally kicked my butt. I managed to stay awake until my son came home from school, then crashed for a nap. The phone rang, and I opened my eyes, saw it was light outside and thought it was already the next day and I must have slept in. Nope. It was dinner time. So I pulled myself together, got something to eat, and went to church.

First we had a wonderful slide presentation made up of women and girls from all over the world. Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, siblings, and friends, showing them working, helping, healing, praying, celebrating, caring for others in a hundred different ways, and expressing every emotion under the sun from unbridled joy to shock to tenderness to grief. Women are such beautiful, complex creatures, and it breaks my heart sometimes to know how often we are mistreated, misunderstood, discounted, and demeaned the world over.

But it also makes me proud to see how we persevere, especially in cultures and institutions that believe we have nothing of value to offer, other than backbreaking work or child-rearing. What those who would devalue us fail to see is that raising our future generations is the most important job there is. Unfortunately, those of us who are busy rocking the cradles are often either too conditioned or exhausted to see that as well.

Since this is women’s history month, I urge you to check out this site and see for yourself some of the inspiring contributions women have made over the years despite having to fight for those accomplishments every step of the way. In honor of this, last night I tried to watch Iron Jawed Angels, about the women’s suffrage movement and their determination to attain the right to vote. Unfortunately, the CD was cracked, so I didn’t get too far. But I got far enough to hear that a vote is a voice.

To think that women died for the right to vote is mind-boggling. Please check out the reviews here, and make the time to watch it yourself. It will make you think twice about staying home on Election day.

After the slide show, the speakers shared stories about remarkable women they had known, and we were reminded of how each of us has many things to offer, in the areas of—just to name a few--health, education, business, politics, community service, spirituality, justice, compassion, caretaking, and healing. How each of us has special gifts and talents, and the use of those gifts and talents in service to others causes ripples through the lives of those we serve, like dropping a pebble into a pond of water.

We were then each given a pebble to carry, to remind us to make ripples.

Make some ripples today. Let your voice be heard. Offer a helping hand or a word of encouragement to someone who needs it. Speak out against injustice. Stand up for something you believe in. Stand up for yourself. (Sometimes serving yourself is the best way to serve others--otherwise you’re just enabling them.) Offer the gift of healing touch to someone in pain. Offer the gift of forgiveness to someone who can’t forgive themself.

There are so many ways you can make a difference. Even the smallest act of courage or kindness can ripple on to infinity.


Maggie Toussaint said...

I love hearing about women ministering to other women. This is such a vital part of our culture, one that gets lost in all the hustle and bustle.

StephB said...

What an inspiring post. You reminded of my high school days. I had a class called American Studies and we did a reinactment of Seneca Falls, NY. It's something that still resonates with me today.


Sheryl said...

Many women today spend more time looking after others, both at work and home, than nurturing themselves. Yet still they are hard on themselves. A nice reminder for women to celebrate their achievements, Liana.