Sunday, December 23, 2012

set the world on fire

Obviously there are some exceptional individuals who are able to reach for the sublime by making music, painting pictures-or playing baseball. But for ordinary mortals like myself, it's often a child who helps us "touch the face of God." -
-Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Creating a Life

Recently, I had an unprecedented and unexpected fit of nostalgia for fall break in DC. I solved this by going through my photos from the trip.
And I also revisited this blog post I always intended to write during the trip, but it never happened.

The first day of meetings of fall break, we drove to Alexandria to meet with Feminists for Life. We met with their president, Serrin Foster. She was on fire. And I soaked up every second of it. That was the beginning of the adventure of fall break: of remembering and reawakening the old passionate Renée who, on first dates, spouts off about the exploitation of women through the repressive force of abortion and the societal pressures on families and the cruel imbalance between riches and success in the business world and a rich and full family life.
It's an acceptable cliché to say that you dislike politics or dislike discussing politics.
Certainly, what rational person likes the stupidity and ego that inevitably wind their way into political debates?

But how can I not talk about the cruel injustice that a woman is daily presented with: there are two essential callings within a woman: the call to use her gifts to create beauty in the world, to set the world on fire, to become a Joan of Arc, a Catherine of Siena, a Teresa of Avila, a Queen Victoria, or an Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and transform the world she inhabits. A call to extend her eternal influence, to create work of eternal significance, that reverberates throughout history. This is the unique call of brilliant, beautiful, great human beings: men and women.
But, each woman experiences a mysterious and magnificent call to create a new life. It's nature  You can't run from it. Woven into each girl's heart is the aching desire to create something of even more eternal significance than anything of her own she could create. 
To create a new life.

As I sat listening to Ms. Foster, I remembered so vividly the day I sat next to a mother with two rambunctious children one day in church. A twinge of sadness pulled at my heart. After this Mass, I was going to burst forth and continue with my work of the day, which was producing the play that I had written. My little writing baby that I was birthing into the world.
But this mother had participated in an act of creation much deeper than writing a play. There was something about what she had done that struck a chord of awe deeper in me than any work of art ever could.
I was excited to keep writing new plays and keep birthing little artistic babies. And I anxiously awaited the day that I could birth little human babies. Little human babies that would grow into human children, and then human adults, and then one day participate in theosis, and be drawn up into the divine life of God. And I would play some sort of part in that journey. That is monumentally beyond my comprehension.

My mom turned to me the other day after listening to me spout of for several minutes and asked me: What sort of reforms, Renée, do you imagine our society would have to make to eliminate a woman's choice between work and family?

I responded: A lot.
But my wide-eyed idealism hasn't been stomped out of me yet. There's time for that. It's the sacred duty of young twenty-somethings to be wide-eyed idealists.
Otherwise the world would stagnate.
 In the words of Mama T: 
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

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