My Priestess

It's a season of unexpected motion, of movement. Amber, my wife of nearly 18 years, has reached the end of a sort of wrestling down her identity, or maybe it's just the beginning. She's been my girl, my beauty, my prophetess for all these years. She's been the thing that's brought me to salvation again and again, even in the bleakest seasons. What is a lover but a type and shadow of divine love? Lover--I could use this could be a sort of holistic nomenclature, but is this who she is?

She's been my lover, yes. She's been the mother to my children, too. There were years of sippy cups, diaper changes, and late-night feedings. The years that followed have been filled with other things--comforting hugs, words of discipline (perhaps frustration), gut laughs. What is a mother but a shepherd? Mother--this is also a facet of who she is, but it hardly names the gem.

She's been a friend, a giver, an encourager. She's been faithful to minister Word and sacrament to her people, I suppose. Maybe more, she's been faithful to the ministry of flowers, one of the unsung ministries of friendship. What is a friend but the embodiment of Word and sacrament? What is a friend but the gift of flowers. Yes, a flower knows a flower; a friend knows a friend, but even these are not taxonomy enough for my lady.

She's lived into all these roles, roles that fit in her skin like a soul. Even still, she's wrestled down her Who Am I? over these last 18 years, and she's come to know this for sure: she is a chosen, a royal priestess, a peculiar woman. In this, she's found a new sort of calling, one that's taking her to seminary, to training, to stepping into the thing that so many have said she can't, woman as she is. She's walking into holy orders, maybe, and in that, she'll preside over so much life and death, weddings and funerals alike. She's accepting the role of shepherd, teacher, perhaps evangelist and prophet, and wearing these roles like some brilliant stole. And here's the humbling beauty lacing it all--there may come a day when others come to see her as my shepherd, teacher, evangelist, and prophet. (This is what happens when your wife is a minister.) They'll ask me how I feel about that, I suppose. I'll smile, wink, knowing this isn't the whole of who she is, and I'll tell them this: "She's always been all of this and so much more."

 

 

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To The Women Who Know Their Place

[tweetherder text="A woman should know her proper place."]A woman should know her proper place[/tweetherder]--a statement for which I will make no apology. On Easter, the proper-placed woman sat in her whitest white, ladylike, hands folded, hem near the floor. Unadorned, Corinthian-quiet, unassuming, it could be said that she was born straight from the pages of Scripture. He eyes attuned to the men--reading Scripture, leading prayers, leading congregation in Psalmic recitation. She stood on cue, sat when sitting was ordained by the prayer book.

When the time came for the Easter homily, she crossed herself and took small steps to her proper place. "May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable," she said, then shared her darkest days, her pain, her rescue by the risen Lord. She was Mary Magdalene, first and best witness of the resurrection. Mother-tears in her eyes, rose-cheeked and smiling, she invited me to the empty tomb, allowed me to believe in the magic of resurrections, even after all these magicless years.

"The peace of the Lord," she offered, then moved to the baptismal font, to the waters of new birth. Under the flicker of the Paschal light, she pushed babes through the waters of new life, nursed them into the divine family. Quiet, quiet, quiet--all things pointed to life; no things pointed to femininity, or masculinity, or the ceaseless works of the striving strongmen. Even to tell this now feels holy, still hushed. Even to remember her reminding us--the disciples--that she'd seen the Risen Lord brings a spark of hope. This was the first Easter sermon I've ever believed, the first embodiment of resurrection, best celebration of new birth.

A woman should know her proper place--a statement for which I will make no apology. And to the woman whose proper place was the Easter Sunday pulpit, allow me to extend this small sentiment: thanks.

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