Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In My Thoughts About Becoming

I took time this morning to simply watch out my front window. Cars, dogs, students on their way to class, ebbed and flowed. The Chief was playing "vacuum mechanic" giving our cheap contraption a five star look-over. All hoses, attachments and filters looked to be decent. Thumbs up (if he could).

Out of my window I also saw Sister Ryan--my seventy-something neighbor--who carried sacks of groceries in both hands. For weeks now I've been studying her impeccable demeanor. Reminiscent of my own sweet Nana, Sister Ryan is quiet grace. Her poised walk, hushed voice and shy acceptance of compliments made me to believe that on the spectrum of Fine Women she and I were at opposite ends. As I watched her walk across my front sidewalk I very much wanted to shift my spirit to meet hers.

Last Sunday I overheard Sister Ryan's earnest husband whisper in her ear during a busy exchange at church, "Here we have Brother and Sister Jenson who recently moved into the Minor's old home." So that as Brother and Sister Jenson approached Sister Ryan sweetly moved out her hand to say "Welcome to the neighborhood Brother and Sister Jenson. We're happy to have you." Flawless. Chup and I need to practice that sort of social succinctness.

Another time she put a soft hand on my arm, and with a low-tone asked me how Stephanie was doing. I appreciated the respect she had for our situation, and I felt safe to share my family's recent experiences.

But mostly Sister Ryan, is to me, a human missile of wisdom. She doesn't send her opinions to explode with shock and awe. Rather, she keeps them, and refines them. I don't get the feeling either, that her ideas are of a submissive woman. From her I get the sense that she knows the secret of womanhood--with all of the power associated--and chooses to live it rather than talk about it.

And here is what I am wondering: If I keep my keep my thoughts to myself, will I become my thoughts? Is this my problem? Do I too freely give away my opinions and end up feeling frequently empty? Should I instead let them harvest in my soul to become the building blocks of me? Is the living example better than the communicated word?

I have a lot going on here.

A couple weeks ago I was reading Ulrich who birthed the phrase "Well-behaved women seldom make history" which I've always loved. But today, I fell a little out of love with the notion as I watched Sister Ryan. Today I want to be well-behaved more than I want to make history.