Mom! I Have Become YOU!
It happened when my teen daughter came out of Walmart. She slumped in the passenger seat and turned to say those words to me with a scowl that could curdle milk. “What?” I asked.
“You know how you are always talking to people in line at the store?”
“You know how I ask if you know them and you tell me you just met them. Well, I just smiled at someone at the checkout and they told me their life story! Mom! I have become you!”
Underline the word “you” for full emphasis. I smiled a mama’s smile and drove home. On the way I filled her in on the finer points of the Welcome to the Grown Women’s World-Wide Bonded Club.
We women intuitively do that a lot. Right? We meet people anywhere… Checkout lines. Elevators. Parks. PTOs. It doesn’t matter. We meet people and there is this freedom, this openness to take people where they are. We talk on playgrounds and eagerly serve up pointers on teething and handling toddler tantrums. We hold doors for strangers with a smile. We keep babies entertained in long lines and are patient with the new clerks at the desk knowing they are struggling. We can swap recipes and stories of our kids with anyone. Yes. It is usually with women. Women we have never met before, but have an invisible instant rapport. Our husbands don’t. Our teens won’t.
With all that we have been through with the COVID crisis, we can breathe a collective sigh. We made it! A year and a half of isolation, insulation, (incarceration?) has pushed us ladies to the frontlines. So much has changed. Women maintained their jobs, lost their jobs, moved their jobs home along with schooling their kids. With everything beginning to open again the question we all have is what are we called to do now?
What we have shown and what is so desperately needed now is a spirit of hospitality. Hospitality is usually associated with receiving guests, visitors, strangers into our home or a restaurant or hotel. But hospitality is more than that. It is the virtue of being magnanimous - of having a great soul. It is the way we treat others wherever we are. St. Paul says: “Rather we must be hospitable, one who loves good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” (Gal. 6:10).
Fr. Anthony Padovano wrote in Dawn Without Darkness that this all has to do with home. He states these words I love: “Home is not a place, it is an attitude….an attitude which depends upon how much we are able to feel at home with ourselves as well as with others…makes us comfortable with ourselves…takes from us the strangeness we feel at being who we are. We are loved when we are no longer frightened with ourselves.”
Isn’t that so true! God continues to touch lives though loving women. It is being centered in Christ and looking out to others that we see the good in them. It is making people feel special. It is open hands. Open hearts. Open doors. It is paying it forward by paying for the food order of the car behind you at the drive thru just because.
For me my Theresian community has been a place where I gather to be with women who are so much themselves. We take off masks, kick off our shoes and gather round the campfire to stop and really listen to the whispering of God in our ears and our hearts. That is so desperately needed now for so many women so they can be hospitable themselves. Is your community like that? Are you helping others to be at home? Don’t we need women on fire with the Spirit to really change hearts for the better now more than ever? Can we reach out and invite others to gather with us?
Ladies, in this issue of Dimension Connections we reflect on Wisdom being the light on the pathway to the ultimate banquet of love. I believe so many of us, as wise women, young or old, have these Open-for-Business hearts every day as we are called on now to reach out to a hurting world. By golly we have to stick together and support one another. Be bold! Believe!
I could go on more but I’m busy. I said hello to this person in the checkout line and she is telling me her whole life story!