Holidays always carry an energy of remembering. This season included table talk with my mother, the heroine, of many sad and ugly tales…her memories of life from a darker side of life. I know few whose life embodies “survival” as hers does.
The tales, however, have left me grieving a heritage of pain. I am most sickened by tales of my middle name. I learned I am the name sake of a Jane who guised humiliation and murder with postures of rescue and embrace. I am that Jane who battled for a baby not mine by stealing from a mother in a court of law, that Jane who arranged a drowning at birth to hide the shame of a holy seed in a less holy womb, that Jane who welcomed only to the basement the lesser ones in the unsanctioned family tree.
I have asked myself this new year, “who am I really?” What does the power of my name speak in the circles of life? What part of this heritage have I carried to daughters and granddaughters? How can I redeem time in my life as Jane?
I will start by saying I prefer the name Lolly.
The walk of life requires some places of surety and sound footing. There needs some protection, some cover in the walk through the hurt and fear layering the everyday path.
It’s all about the shoes.
You need to make your own.
You cannot wear another’s shoes- even if they seem to fit and look more fresh. They will blister the soul… you will die with them on. Your shoes belong to your journey.
Such shoes are crafted by the pain of a specific life, in how one survives the losses, walks through harsh words and even self judgements. The fabric is rich in the blood of sacrificed wants and dreams- the binding and seams, though, sewn with Love, God-breathed and polished. This is what makes them strong enough to make the climb and last the dance.
Like Dorothy who trusted her shoes to take her home, there is a trust in the walk home, finding the ways and places of self knowing and healing– standing in your own shoes.
The 18 years of suffering carried in the form and substance of a “temple woman” reimagines the practice of Sabbath in this Christ encounter. The woman embodies a broken structure, the “18 year” descriptive a known ancient code phrase for “suffering and bondage.”
The story though begs a more feminine interpretation. The imagery of being turned in on oneself yet asked by Christ to move forward intones a message not often recognized as Christian. Jesus’ humiliating argument in favor of Sabbath grace and healing referencing the need to water a thirsty ass shames the “keepers” of sabbath places. And despite the insulting reference the crowd of broken spirits- I suspect many of whom were women -respond with delight and seem energized!
Jesus further encourages with parables of yeast and mustard seeds, moving then to kitchens and gardens– home places for women. The mustard seed would stir up thoughts of healing as it was used medicinally in a paste with “new wine” and the transforming power of yeast worked into flour would be obvious to the feminine ear. The message that Sabbath is as close as your kitchen and near as your home seems obvious. These are “shaping” places for sure.
The miracle, the healing call and response, rises from a feminine space of both release and synthesis–freedom and enmeshment, sacrament and incarnation.
We reshape our brokenness mid Sabbath moments of everyday life.