But I experienced something so sweet that I find even in my own head I can't find adequate words to describe the amazing grace that poured into my life today.
Maybe I should start by saying that, though I know and love many delightful women, I'm often not so crazy about women as a group. From bullying teenage girls to destructively competitive women in the workplace, through inept women who would use our shared gender to excuse their own thorny behaviors and certain church ladies who suck joy form the simplest gatherings, I have been injured by many women. Not all women behave this way, of course, but for too many competition is more dearly held than collaboration. (I do know, men do their own crumby stuff, but that is their own journey.)
I wonder: why do women -- mothers and daughters and sisters and girl-friends and colleagues -- with such great capacity to building joyous, supportive relationships, too often opt for catty, callous and mean?
So today was especially sweet. I spent nearly all day with only women. This gather was really too delightful to express clearly. These women are both broken and incredibly strong, actually women made strong by the challenges they have faced and the choices they make in the wake of challenges. These are generous women who share their experience, hope and faith with great tenderness and searing personal honesty. They support one another; challenge one another to take important and necessary risks with hope and perseverance. They speak truth ever so gently. They shine light into darkness. They encourage and cheer, and rejoice in each other's victories. They cry tears of sorrow and healing and joy. They laugh and tease and teach. They listen and love and pray and hug ... and the greatest of these is indeed love.
Sisters of heart and choice and faith, thank you for wrapping me in love and hope and sweet dreams of possibilities, and for persistently praying practical encouragement to convert dreams to plans.
Truly love drives out fear.