Midway through the “global awakening” fellow’s speaking last night, a gift of tears was visited upon me, though I did not experience it as a gift until I had exited the room before the next hymn.
Sitting in the front row, dressed in academic garb alongside colleagues in a masculinized, body-dissociated profession? Messy tears are not a gift. My body probably knew the freedom only because I’m tenured faculty. There was an interesting convergence, in final point of the speaker’s words: the burden experienced in prayer that prevails, asking “Do we weep with God?” The tears would not stop. When he finally finished, I bolted. The ritual of communion may have been sanctified by my tears, had I stayed, but I had not the strength to pretend at Holy Communion. I know Godde would have, even did make it sacred, but my bodysoul could not stay. Godde confirmed the choice, meeting me in the foyer in two women, walking their own prayer outside.
“Holy Wisdom removed my armor,” I texted to a new friendly-colleague on my way home. She had been sitting next to me, whispering to me about 25 minutes into the speaking: “First woman mentioned.” I was not alone in my experience. “Yes, positive mention,” I whispered back. “The first was actually the woman caught in adultery.” Forty-five minutes of speaking, like we women didn’t even exist.
The “sermon” was not unusual for this institution’s habitus of white Evangelical-Pentecostal masculinized expression. The tears therefore puzzle me this morning, enough to “play hooky” to write. Over the years, I’ve mostly grown thick enough skin to endure proclamations I rarely find to be Good News for women, for the ‘other,’ for any sentient being outside of His perceivable witness. I’ve learned to hold the speaker in prayer, in eschatological hopes for a breaking open to the receptivity of the “feminine calling forth a more sacred masculine,” with the humility to speak less and become present more, to learn to honor the experiences of those who speak their experience, so different from socialized expectations of churchfolk.
Six days at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison Wisconsin have apparently removed my habitual armor. There Godde showed me a way of being with Christians that did not require me to endure, but invited me as Woman rooted in the Land to partake. A traditional liturgy in which ideological wounds simply didn’t come up because the discremen of the Gospel can be Present without words, without taking sides. There are actually places in this world where Jesus’s radical message can invite, challenge, without retraumatizing women. Who knew?!?
So now I wonder…Do I want my armor back around these Christians? Do I need it to return if I am to even breathe in such environments hostile to so much that I value?
Do I continue to live into this vulnerable, broken-hearted way I am right now, letting wounded and wounding colleagues see the tears of the body, the Body?
The tears are gift. They are not just circumstantial when writing into prayer, freedom and forgiveness. It's just fuckin’ hard this morning.