Category Archives: Body
If automobiles come with an owner’s manual, surely there must be one for me. No responsible manufacturer would slap a human together without an owner’s manual. Let’s see. Here’s what’s listed in the Quick Reference for my Ford Escape.
Instrument panel/vehicle display … For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. ~ I Corinthians 13:12
Steering … While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” ~ Matthew 17:5
Navigation … Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, ~ Jeremiah 11:4
Sync with my cellular … But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:6.
Remote Key entry/ AKA “intelligent access” … But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, ~ John 1:12
Windshield Wipers … He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”~ Revelation 21:4
Spare tire and tools … In this life you will have trouble I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” ~ John 16:33
“Comfort settings” … Comfort my people, Israel Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. ~ Isaiah 40:1
Fuel/Refueling/Transmission … God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. ~ Gen 1:29
Temperature/climate control … Do not let the sun set on your anger. ~ Eph 4:26
Lighting/Interior Lights/High Beams … I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, the eyes of your heart so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints. ~ Ephesians 1:17-18
Safety restraints … Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. ~ Psalm 139:7-10
Brakes/ Traction control … I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. ~ Psalm 16:8
Towing/Carrying a load … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:30
Roadside Emergencies … Call to me and I will answer you. ~ Jeremiah 33:3
Vehicle care and maintenance … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:30-31
Extended Warranties … Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5
Cruise control … I can’t find this one in the manual. Perhaps the manufacturer intended for me to keep my eyes on the road and my mind alert for break lights ahead, lane closures or construction zones. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. ~ Matthew 16:24
Ironic, isn’t it, that after a basic driver’s ed course and a few hours behind the wheel, we just step on the gas and learn how to break in order to take the curves without crashing.
What if we read The Manual?
Me too…I am seeing it on Facebook posts, in comments and in conversation far and wide.
I am not sure where it came from, but it’s picking up steam. Why? Because it’s the skeleton in every woman’s closet, the elephant in every room. We’ve carried it cautiously, buried it fastidiously, and borne it boldly until someone tugged it out. Now we’re shocked at the commonness of our experience.
Me too. ME TOO. Me too, we type. We read and think, oh my, you too? And in confessing, we join hands. Fervently, supportively, collegially, then boldly and angrily, but to what effect? We’re angry with no place to put our anger.
Here’s the thing. Everyone who acknowledges and shares a “me too” takes themselves back to that moment in time and place and sensation. We re-live that abuse, that violation, that pain. That’s the way the mind works: our past, when recalled, becomes our present, even if it was a long, long time ago.
This is the invisible danger of the injury perpetrated by sexual harassment and abuse. Borne quietly, culturally dismissed, left unaddressed or without proper resolution, this wounding leaves scars. We are the nesting dolls of ourselves. Everything we have ever lived is re-shaped and covered over by layer upon layer of our next set of selves. Our minds hold the experience of our bodies, even when no scars are apparent. A “me too” campaign activates those all over again.
The pain out there is a real and present danger to full mind and body health. Seeing the magnitude of this effect leaves me both bereft and emboldened. It has me asking, How did what happened to me effect me? How has this behavior been perpetuated?
First, I thank God for the safe haven He provides me to return in my mind to the scene of this crime. A minor incident, I would call it, though my recollection after nearly thirty years would disavow that.
I didn’t say anything. What would I say? No harm done, no physical evidence, no witnesses. Confrontation would have risked elevation, exposure or worse, but I had no conscious thought of these things at the time. There was disgust, acknowledgement of my powerlessness and, yes, even consideration that somehow what I wore that day — skirt and top befitting a college professor in modern fashion — might have made me a target. Should I have been more observant? Was I too trusting of strangers? too naive? (How do we manage to re-work things to find ourselves at fault?)
Just imagine, all that percolation from a moment three decades old, which the “me too” project has bubbling to the surface. I don’t appreciate that, but here we are and I am very not alone. My question for me is, What do I do with my Me Too? Because victim is a role I have never played very well.
Here is my manifesto:
- As a woman, I have heard men say that their private misbehavior is no one else’s business. It is. It leaves lasting scars on the people they have wronged, both the victim of their sexual affront and the family which suffers under the weight of it. My to do: I will speak the truth to any individual who hides behind this lie.
- As a voter, I have heard our President confess that he has participated in sexual assault and then dismiss it as “locker room talk.” My to do: I will continue to cast my vote only for individuals who demonstrate good character and responsible behavior and NEVER for a professed and unrepentant assaulter.
- As a colleague and friend, I now realize that there are many women living with these secret wounds. My to do: I will offer a listening heart to those who want and need to share their story, hoping that some healing will come of this.
- As the mother of three daughters, I now realize how pervasive is the brokenness and sexual sin-sickness in the world they are entering as young adult women. My to do: I will boldly work for a safe and healthy world for them, demonstrating by my words and actions that gender fear has no place here.
- As a writer, I cannot leave these things unwritten or unsaid.
The “Me too” barrage has me marveling at the design of the human mind, equipped as it is, with memory prone to be prodded by emotionally charged things–good, bad or indifferent. We must tread here with caution because these bits do linger and have the power to change us. There in the shadows they may influence us, even without our permission or intention.
While God has the power to forget and forgive, we fragile humans tend to recall things. We can call on God to help us heal those memories, allowing Him to fill in and smooth out the rough places to make a way toward a firmer future.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
God has got plans for you and me, too.
I want a functional faith —
not just a faith of works,
but a faith that works.
a faith that works out,
a faith that works for,
a faith that functions.
I want a faith that does,
while I am doing other things,
a faith that works its way
into my day,
along my way,
I want a faith that
stands up, stands under, and stands for,
but doesn’t need to stand and be recognized,
a faith that builds up,
brick and mortar, clay and water, flesh and blood.
Please, Sir, may I have a functional faith?
Did. Done. Doing.
Now, go and do.