aching limbs, clearer minds

A surprise theme emerged during my weekend with friends: "Things that happen as you get older." Although still in what could be described as the prime of life, our advancing years were a recurring topic of conversation and comparison. Bodies and body parts ache more, playing up and demanding attention. And we become less tolerant, or, to put it another way, more clear, of what we like (clean kitchens) and don't (faffing). We know better what suits us, whether friends, food or frocks. We guard our spare time jealously. Things that didn't used to bother us do, and visa versa.

Back home, in the silence needed to think over words, it seemed such clarity and definition marks the strengthening of our identity. Older and wiser, truly. No longer so swayed by fashions and friends (perhaps), more confident of our own uniqueness, our own worries and dreams.

Today in the library I've read about our human identity before God and others, or to give it another label, theological anthropology. Christine Kowel Post is a Nigerian born sculptor, of Polish and Welsh parents. From pine wood she carved a naked woman holding a cup against her body, concealing a dagger in her left hand. The piece, ‘Woman with Cup and Dagger’ the commentator suggested, speaks of the range of violence against women and the process by which women learn the need to defend themselves.
Her ‘nakedness is uncovered’, but she is ready to attack. She protects herself with the cup into which the blood of the sacrifice for ‘dangerous memory’ runs. (Meyer-Wilmes 1997:61)

I looked for a photograph of the sculpture, and not finding one, attempted to create my own interpretation (now I see I've clothed her!). And I thought about how disappointments, pain and betrayal, alongside joy and love beyond our imagining, hone our willingness to resist those who seek to scar us.

Finally, here is a link to Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig's beautiful sermon,
God is a Woman and She is Growing Older.

Becoming women, becoming older, we are God's image.

Hedwig Meyer-Wilmes “Excessive Violence against Women in the Name of Religion." in Wim Beuken and Karl-Josef Kuschel (ed) Religion as a Source of Violence? Concilium 1997/4, pp. 55-63