This weekend I had a conversation with a woman who had recently turned 30. She was telling me the struggles of being a woman being 30 when the society shows how women who are getting older are getting less attractive, while men who are getting older are getting more distinguished and attractive. And, then there comes the desire of having children and the toll this takes on your body and doesn’t help to bolster your own self-image. In a society where vulnerability, love and compassion are mistaken for weakness, she displayed such beauty in being open with me about her struggles.
While sitting down and reading at a coffee shop, I overheard a girl in her early 20’s say to her friend “If I was only skinnier, then my boyfriend would love me more.”
I had the privilege of meeting an Asian woman this weekend, and, she was telling me about the struggles of not only being a minority, but, also being a female. She told me how she wished white people wouldn’t fear minorities, and, how redemptive it was to have a white man listen to her story and struggles.
This morning I woke up to the news that my little sister was in the bathroom at her college, and, heard a girl sobbing on the phone. She went over to check on her and the other girl had just found out that her mother had died. My sister sat with her, consoled her and was present with this girl in her suffering.
By every definition, people would classify me as a Mama’s Boy. I spent most of my childhood crying and sucking my thumb. Over the past 24 years, I have only learned to suck my thumb a little less. I am remarkably sensitive. I had a conversation not to long ago with a man who told me I was over sensitive. My only thought was “well, that was insensitive.” I feel like I owe a lot of this to my own mother, who her herself is extremely sensitive and caring. A passage that has always stuck with me in my life comes from 2nd Timothy in which Paul exalts Timothy for his faith because of the faith that resembles that of his mother and grandmother. I feel like good Mom’s pass this onto their children. Good mothers teach their children so much.
We live in a gender dominating culture. We men have made progress in allowing a more free and open culture, but, we are still oppressive. We have defined women by their appearance, ability to nurture and create life, and, ability to serve us, rather than allowing them to define themselves and viewing them as God views them. We have stripped them of power. We have stripped them of a voice. A voice that has so much to teach us and give to us.
Over my short life, women have shown me a remarkable beauty. In a world that is not okay, women constantly show me how its okay to not be okay. It’s okay to have darkness. It’s okay to have ambiguity. They live in a beautiful surrender to this reality of life. In the case of people like my sister, they are called to exhibit grace in very painful situations. Women have a way of seeing the beautiful and creative beyond men (this is one of the differences male and female brains). There are somethings that exist beyond logic.
My hope is that we can create a generation of men who can create opportunities for women. So if women want to be mothers, care-takers and supportive wives, we can create this opportunity for them. But, if they want to be CEO’s, politicians, pastors, teachers, this reality also exists for them. We, as Christians, cannot continue operating on this level of inequality. My hope is that we can create a generation of men who learn from women, care for women and create for women. I believe this is the Kingdom of God, where there is no Jew nor Gentile, no Slave or Free, no Male or Female, we are all one in Christ Jesus.