♥recipe ♥story ♥quote
I am very lucky to be a part of a faith-based book discussion group where we shared our thoughts on Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book Accidental Saints–Finding God in All the Wrong People.
Normally, I don’t like book groups. As an English major, I craved to be alone with my books, gobbling them in my own private world where I could let them sink into my soul and appreciate them in my own way, without having to share.
But this group of women is a special group. We are encouraged by our pastor Diane Slocum to let our cheerful, happy, smiling ‘church veneers’ give way to explore the darker parts of the forest where we spend most of our days as we toil through our rotating stories of anguish.
This is not to say that we trade shame, sorrow and self pity. No, no. But I find that women are often the inspirational leaders of their circle of family and friends, and sometimes we need a chance to just bend at the knees and admit that things aren’t so great.
The common thread that seems to weave us all together is this. How do we take care of others, and still get our own needs met?
Nadia Bolz-Weber is the first to admit she has not got it all figured out. She catches herself judging others, recalls Christ’s outreach to the ‘those people’ , then reminds herself to stop avoiding people who bug her.
Nadia and the women of our small group at EPC have a lot in common. We are all toiling with an internal struggle to feed and care for others, without starving ourselves of our own need for attention, care, nurturing and growth.
Nadia and the women of our small group are all trying our best.
We are all trying to help bring out the best in the world.
We are all trying to have compassion for others.
We are all trying to accept our dark parts and shine our light parts.
We are all a little too hard on ourselves.
Every single woman I know, whether they are biological mothers are not, are mothering someone.
And that means a world of drama in the kitchen table of our hearts.
How do we feed others, and keep our own belly’s relatively sated?
This is the question we ponder in order to strive for balance. That balance is elusive, and it is rarely achieved. When it is, it evaporates quickly and we are left with that aching feeling.
“Why did I question everything so deeply?”
We question because we are hungry for growth. And as we suffer and toil and work and serve, we learn who we are and how we wish to love.
I wish I could take credit for that last line. It’s actually my favorite bit of cherished wisdom from my own mother, who has spent her life at the kitchen table working the internal and external struggle.
The question is, do women struggle with their unrealized dreams more than men do? Or do we just share that struggle verbally with our chosen soul sisters?
Something about sharing these forces that pull us in opposite directions with a group of women you can trust is a salve to the soul.
We bear witness to the broken parts, and they are never fixed. They don’t need to be. As we wrap up and leave for the night we pray in thanks for the ability to share with one another.
In a quiet moment, it feels that all we did was make it worse by talking about it.
We rise up from our seats, say goodbye, and put on our joy armor for the week ahead.
I look behind to see if I left anything and tilt my head to one side.
A mosaic of broken pieces is a beautiful sight to see.
“One of the most agonizing problems within our human experience is that few, if any, of us live to see our fondest hopes fulfilled. The hopes of our childhood and the promises of our mature years are unfinished symphonies.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.