It's been decades since I wrote anything of prose or poetry. I used to do it a lot. I read the following quote from a friend, and it struck me
"Writing is my soul's exhale. Some days, it is the wind I've had knocked out of me. In my dark moments, it is a prayer that I pour out unto my God so that he can fill me up with something better. It's okay if it is not graceful. At first, breathing through life may register as more painful in some ways, because we become more present in the moment. But it also means WE'RE BREATHING and that is a good thing, even when it hurts. Eventually we must become perfectly aware of our breath, and there is gratitude found within the inhale and the exhale. The pain begins to feel like growth. Growth gives way to greater love for others, and greater love, cycles back around to greater capacity for joy, which inspires a deeper inhale. Then a deeper exhale..."- Emily Ruth
"Soul's exhale." Yes. Why do I keep not writing when this is how I feel about it? So it was that as I sat in bed and pondered on what things I would tell leaders in my community and church, friends and family, of the things I see and hear...and have experienced... thoughts came and I knew I needed to write. In that moment. Whatever flowed. This was it:
Song for the WoPA- By Heather Worthen
There are women all over who cry in silence.
They suffer, believing they are alone and that no one understands.
They are told to turn to God and rely on Him,
because He understands.
But how can they do this, when they feel unsure of themselves?
Addiction robs us of our trust in ourselves
Our ability to believe our own intuition
to feel safe with ourselves.
We spent so long sensing something wasn't right
Repeatedly being told all was well
We were simply stressed or emotional
Or Satan was trying to put contention in our homes.
So we pushed aside or wrote off our feelings
Only to later learn we were right.
And then we wondered why we didn't follow through
or stick to our guts.
Or we spent so long believing all was well in Zion
that when we learned otherwise
We wondered how we could not have known
How the Spirit could not have warned us.
We did everything right.
There are women leaving the church in mass numbers.
They are lacking validation for the negative feelings
that are right and appropriate.
They have witnessed firsthand the hearts of men grown cold
And it is shocking.
When your immediate Priesthood leaders don't notice your suffering
but are supposed to be representatives of Christ
When your spouse is encouraged to keep things from you
because it is between them and God
or for fear of your 'irrational', emotional reaction
There are women feeling lost
because how do you trust God when those male figures closest to you
have betrayed your trust?
And where or how do you trust God if not yourself?
There are women who have been to the war zone
and tended quietly to the wounded and the dying.
They have fought in the trenches-
for their families
They have been accused of being unforgiving or unChristlike
because they prioritize their sense of safety
Because they put on their own oxygen mask first.
They cry in the dark and wonder how long they must wait for his return
if he will ever return at all.
They are weary from a daily battle
with forces of evil
and then they feel guilty or ashamed
for not putting on a happy face
or enduring well.
They aren't sure they can win.
They aren't sure what winning looks like.
They worry what others may think
of them and their decisions
of him and his actions
of callings held
of their children
And so they stay silent.
There are armies of warrior women
banding together to provide strength
But they don't know how to find each other.
So some speak out
In the hopes of being a lighthouse to one lost at sea.
"I am here. I am safe. You can come to me."
And they wait.
Some continue to speak out
choosing to risk the whispers
and sideways glances
Determined to find victory over shame
and break apart chains binding others
Determined to create a small ripple
that might change the tide of the future
Because we are tired of drowning
and watching those we love get lost at sea.
It makes others uncomfortable
being a lighthouse.
Sometimes they are on solid ground
and don't like being reminded of what is out there.
Sometimes the light is too bright in their eyes.
Sometimes the light illuminates one struggling.
It is hard to be reminded of this reality
To risk the safety of the shore
To feel a tug of responsibility
To decide whether to care.
But the lighthouses,
and We are bound by duty
Because we know what it's like to drown
to treat water
to see a flicker of light and hope in the distance
to be rescued.