To Be a Woman

When I see a person tripping on drugs in the streets, I think that used to be a student sitting in someone’s classroom, that used to be someone’s baby. That person came from someone’s womb and was placed in their mother’s gentle arms. Reflecting on that pierces my heart, but it keeps me grounded to their humanity. Too easily we look at humans in unfortunate situations, from conception to death, and try to see them as not human. Society tries to take the humanity out of the sufferer so they don’t have to suffer the guilt. If only we could just remember that every person is somebody’s baby. It reminds me of the dignity that we all have.

Speaking of being someone’s baby, can we just talk about moms for a second. I think mothers from all places and ages have been the biggest consolation since being here in the Bronx. I love being here and finally getting to meet the kids, but I would be lying if I said this mission is not one of the hardest things I’ve done. I find myself sitting in the 8th pew in the center just to have the best view of Mary at church. I find myself eager to answer a mother’s question at pick up time, even if I have to speak in my very broken spanish. I find myself drawn to a particular teacher’s classroom during down time just because her motherly presence and unspoken words make me feel emotionally safe. I find myself smiling as I watch my neighbor rocking her small boy in her warm embrace. Or watching that same momma calm her husband down after the boys pinched his last nerve. I see the kids holding their mom’s hand as they walk down the block and I just feel safer. I find myself leaning into the motherly love my roommates give even though they’ve never bore their own. There is something about motherly love that just hits different. It makes you feel at home in the most uncomfortable places. They say you never feel like an adult until you lose your mother, and I see why they say that. Being in the presence of mom makes you feel like you never have to grow up. It roots you in that child-like ambition. It takes away the overwhelming fears. It makes you realize you have nothing to lose. She’s the one you’d bite the bullet for.. She empowers you to go out, but you always have a place back home  in her heart. Mom’s have this way of making us feel emotionally safe. They break us down to our most authentic feelings. 

Maybe you don’t have an earthly mom like that, but I promise you have one who is reigning in heaven. (Psst.. it’s Mary). God does not leave us lacking. After all, the love of a mother is essential to human flourishing. From the very beginning mothers suffer for their kids and will lay down their life for their babies sake. Yet our world hates motherhood. The world says it’ll destroy your body, break your bank, ruin your career, and you’ll be miserable. They crush everything it means to be a woman by making power, success, and anatomy the defining features of what it means to be female. And unapologetically I won’t stand for that. Because to merely degrade women into people capable of being CEOs or having breasts or a vagina, is insulting. If that’s the case then anyone can be a woman. Women are more than that. You can take a woman’s ability to have children, but you can’t remove her motherly nature. Only momma’s can grow a baby in their womb, only momma’s can understand the pain of infertility, or the insecurity of not feeling ready to have a baby. Only momma’s can understand the pain of miscarriage, or the pain of feeling like your only option is abortion. Only a mother knows what it’s like to nurture every child as if it were their own. We all know the feeling of having a woman in our lives that knows how to peel back the layers, press into our emotions, and love us unconditionally. There are no perfect words to describe it, but if I could perfectly describe the feminine genius; anatomy, and success would not even scrape the surface of its depths. You’re far more than a body with a title, you’re a being we all need. It’s your feminine love, not your submission to lust.So to all you women out there. Thank you! Thank you for your presence. Thank you for being with us in the storm. Thank you for helping us realize it’ll all be okay.

To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

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