Friday, February 22, 2013

The War Stories of Women

Do you remember?

Do you remember the first time?

The first time you sat side by side, arms wrapped around another, your heart aching, breaking for another...........and you thought, NO.  This is not suppose to be this way.  You remembered every health class, every adult, every friend growing up that spoke of the BIG, SCARY THING that could could get..............


But then you grow up and you know that while it's true and the first time and all that............

It's just. not. that. easy.

Do you remember?

I remember.

I remember a friend who lost early in her pregnancy and had to face a child where she worked, every day, carrying her child - the pain that comes from the awareness that all is not right when a babe - oh that poor child - carries a babe and you lose yours................

I remember a year of worrying and thinking something might be wrong...........I didn't understand and probably still can't, fully, what it means to wait.............and wait...............and wait............but I heard the fear and the pain of each month going by without a child....................

I remember whispered side notes, confessions, really, of children lost..........babies known only by their mamas...........whispered thanks for the ones they have but never forgetting the one that never got the chance to be known.....................

I remember sobbing and holding strong the ones I love because sometimes the worst really can happen, it takes your breath away..............a promise withheld and kept for a day not seen upon this earth......

I remember a year happening again, to another family, another mama and the pain of that, the shock of that, leaves you feel fortunate to have your ones but every mother's pain is a reminder that the impossible is possible.........every mother's pain is, in small part, your own because you know the ache of a mother's heart.............


These are the war stories of women.

We are these women.

We know these women.

We all have scars and are battle weary, at times.

And there are different battles for us all.  For every mother who has a loss there is a mother battling with what should be her gain.  For as my heart grieves for the lost, my heart also feels for those living.  We can forget in the midst of other people's pain, that the living wage battles, too.  We can trivialize and make light of our own struggles or the struggles of people around us and then  no one wins.  Other mother's stories don't lessen your own.  We each have a story to share.

I know women who have survived sleepness nights only to arise to the sounds of many little ones, clamoring for her attention, love, time, energy......her EVERYTHING...........and she carries on.  Her story is not one of tragedy or great heroics but of everyday faithfulness.

I know women who have carried children - those endless nine months of sickness and retching and weariness and back aches and not feeling like life or their body will ever be the same........and it's hard.  It's hard to cry yourself to sleep at night because you think that you will never NOT be nauseous again and you feel stupid because you should be grateful for this baby, for this pregnancy but you just want to be done.

I know women who came late to motherhood, came early to motherhood and it was shocking and radical.........this disruption of life, this sacrificing of so much for such a little one.  Then there are the women that longed for this and found that it might not have been all that they wanted, that they weren't really ready for all this, all this........CHANGE.

I know women who were thrown off course by the arrival of a special child, one that didn't fit the mold that they had imagined......and it's hard.  It's hard to give up the picture in your mind of what life was supposed to be like and to dream different dreams for your precious babe.


These, too, are the war stories of women.

We are these women.

We know these women.

We all have scars and are battle weary, at times.

Today I ask grace.

I ask grace for all women.

I ask you to be gentle with those without don't know the reason why.

I ask you to be gentle with those with loud, acting up children in the store, at the library, at school pick-up, wherever you don't know their story.

I ask you to be gentle with the big-bellied women struggling to open doors, get through aisles, who may or may not be crabby...................yes, they are grateful, I am sure.....but it's hard.

And I ask you to look in the mirror and be gentle with the criticism, be gentle with the expectations, be gentle.  Look in that mirror and see the scars and the heart poured out and the beauty of being a woman.

I ask you to be gentle with every women, every mother who may or may not have her child with her here on earth.  We can't know their stories or their hearts.............we can only know what we have experienced.

What we can do is talk and share and laugh and weep together.

We can support one another.

We can praise one another.

We can delight in one another.

We can tell our stories.

For these are the war stories of women.

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