First time I’ve thought about Women’s History Month

My churchmate: A historian living history

It’s Women’s History Month.

I’ve never given it much thought in years past,

Which is strange because I’m a

Woman

Who cares about

History.

In the media,

Provocative questions in order to promote a

High click-through rate:

“Is feminism necessary?”

“Are women losing ground?”

A few key statistics with

Supportive colloquialisms.

Lately, it’s my church where

I’ve been

Experiencing

Women.

It occurs to me that

Church

Is the one place in my life where I’m around

Women

Who are older than me.

My workplace is young,

My friends are

All around my age.

At church,

I like to sit a few pews behind a

Pair or

Small flock of older women.

I like to behold their

Hair.

Especially the women who

Let their hair grow long and

Prismatic:

Alabaster and ivory with

Ribbons of

Glinting silver,

And a few threads of ocher or coal.

I was at a

Women’s retreat recently with some of those women.

One of the workshops was a panel discussion with four women,

Each representing a

Decade of life from their

60s to their 90s.

The title of panel was something like

“Growing old gracefully in a

Culture that idolizes youth.”

The four women spoke in ascending order of age

In that elevated, cottony tone of an

Older woman’s voice.

The oldest woman

98 years old, I believe

Stood up to speak.

(The others remained seated.)

You know what they didn’t talk much about?

Husbands.

Children.

Grandchilden.

Careers.

You know what they did talk about?

Their own childhoods,

And their women friends,

Now.

It was as if they had

Finished with the

Vast expenditure of

Energy

In the middle part of their lives,

And they knew their jobs were largely done

There.

And what was left were the

Two bookends of their lives:

The treasured memories of the beginning,

And the treasured friends of the present.

From this

Woman

In the thick of

Kids/career/husband:

Point well taken.

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Talking history in the present tense

Servetus, from Wikipedia entry

I was at

Church

Recently,

Getting oriented.

Learning about the institution

(I used to scorn that word,

“Institution,”

But not anymore.)

We were sitting on a

Soft

Couch,

Joe’s arm around my shoulders.

He pushed his fingers into my hair

And swirled the hair follicles of my scalp

With the pads of his fingers as we listened to

The glossy tenor voice of the

Dreadlocked minister

Describe 500 years of

Unitarian history.

I had forgotten how academics talk history:

In the

Present

Tense.

“In the 16th century,

Michael Servetus

Studies the Bible …

Concludes …

Does not accept …

Is burned at the stake …”

And it was not just the theme of Servetus’

Nagging, then

Tormenting

Skepticism

That fascinated me.

It was the

Present

Tense

The minister used to describe him,

With its implication that

History is

Alive, is

Current.

And that in thinking and

Talking about these people and events

We keep open the possibility of repeating these experiences,

For good,

Or bad,

Or neither.