Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ocean of Tears

A post I shared last month "Solidarity" reflected on the oppression so many women experience in war-torn countries, in our communities, and within their own families, and how we may be called to attend to their suffering. A women, suffering violence and abuse and in despair, needs another woman to tell her that there is hope for the future.

Last night I was searching through essays I had written about women and discovered one written by my precious mother, Kathryn, about this very solidarity she felt with all women. She speaks of a grief that she got in touch with that is too vast to claim as her own exclusively. Such are "heart piercings" and, interestingly, it ties with yesterday's post of the same title.  

She wrote:

"Beyond the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic oceans, lies the most remote, and by the far the largest body of water - the Ocean of Tears of Women, beginning with Eve, and her daughters, down through eons, our own included.

Cartographers, historically men, have disavowed its existence, in spite of rumor to the contrary - whispered tales of a few who have heard its rolling waves breaking on human consciousness ... or occasionally the discovery of flotsam and jetsam carried far from its source.

Fathoms deep, the tears are the cumulative outpouring of women who, like the Ocean of Tears itself, have not been "mapped". The immensity of their suffering, in ways as diverse as the creatures of the seas, and as common as their gender, has not been acknowledged.

Just as a single drop of water cannot be separated from the whole, my tears are not separate from my sisters'. Our universal cry of pain and rage comes from a single throat, our one body has been raped by husband or stranger, beaten and denigrated; our genitals have been mutilated while our one body was held down, our mouth covered, to stifle our shrieks; our mind has been dishonored, mocked, our feelings ridiculed, our talents trashed, our sacredness blasphemed, our God harlequinized.

A. Rich wrote, "No one who survives to speak new language, has avoided this: this cutting away of an old force that held her rooted to an old ground, the pitch of utter loneliness where she herself and all creation seem equally dispersed, weightless, her being a cry to which no echo comes or can ever come".

Foreboding, but I say "yes" to this, and "thank you, merciful God"... I am ready to be uprooted..., not only for my own good, but for that of my sisters'. I believe that my fiat can bring redemption into this world - just as single drops of water- or tears - make an ocean.

I believe that the waters of the Ocean of Tears will be parted, and women will walk triumphantly through to dry ground. In time, cartographers will be persuaded to investigate it at last, not as the Ocean of Tears, but as the Great Desert Canyon. There will be no deeper nor dryer place on the face of the earth."

by Kathryn Grant, my mother

I love the hopeful note at the end..."women will walk triumphantly."
Amen to that, mom!
Grace & peace,

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