for quite some time i have been in a fog. the winter blues have the best of me and they're not through with me yet. however, a BRIGHT beautiful ray of LiGht burst forth at the 2008 WomanKIND conference. i just got home from the event where professor Azar Nafisi, author of the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran, was spectacular. the workshops i attended were top notch, but my favorite time during the entire conference is the eucharist & healing service at the close of the time. two hours of song, dance, liturgy, receiving the elements, and receiving prayer...all women's voices. the stoles were made using REAL flowers that had been attached to cloth. the sanctuary was filled with BEAUTIFUL flowers, special handmade banners and paraments (cloths used at the altar, lectern, and to mark scripture). each year (this has met in 2004, 2006, and now 2008) the event has been better. each time my soul is filled and i am renewed.
i am so encouraged by these events. meeting kindred spirits through the movement of the spirit of god. it's almost more than i can describe without sounding flowery and unreal. the young clergywomen's conference last august did the same for me. i treasure the time there, the encouragement received and the kinships formed. i love you ladies.
a project that the church has taken on is to make reusable pads for young women in africa so that when they reach puberty they can continue to attend school. the project is called "pads of power". and yes, it was shouted from the pulpit and i loved it. i'm going to make some and if you're interested in doing so, i have the instructions. they'll package and send them from st. james, so that can be worked out. my heart is in africa, too, and i love contributing in this way. (africa is another story. my grandmother died while i was there the first time. the second time richard proposed to me while on a little island in the middle of a lake. much healing took place while i was in africa.)
for some time i have caught myself saying aloud, "i feel called to minister to women (and especially women in ministry)." i'm not sure where that desire & calling will lead, but i believe in it. i believe in the power of words to create new paths when those words are uttered aloud. i believe that there is something powerful that can take shape when we dream, when we expose ourselves to the power of imagination (more about that to come).
i am a woman, wife, mother, artist, dreamer, lover, cook, creative spirit, friend, comforter, counselor... who is in need of love and attention. i never ask for help, but am learning how. i need help to forge forward in taking a few risks to accomplish my dreams.
for now, i will write because writing gives an account of where we have been (Professor Nafisi would say) and teaches us and future generations how our past shapes us. i will be a truth-teller when i preach, when i teach, and as i live. i have been hiding my words and thoughts. they have been under a veil. i want to be liked and appreciated. somehow i've covered myself in ways that i thought would protect me, but i have hidden from myself. i have withdrawn myself such that at times i don't know who i am anymore. am i a church minister? chaplain? super woman??? i am suzanne. today, that is enough. so, thank you ladies, for helping me to come out of hiding. i felt more at home among hundreds of women today than i have in a long time. their beautiful voices, faces, hands, and feet moved me and exposed me to myself.
and so i mark the occasion with this post. peace.