Thursday, August 23, 2007
It surprises me that I have written so little about the sisterhood. So little of the women who support me and sustain me and soothe me. The women who have provided me with the skin and bones of the Divine Feminine for lo these past thirteen years since the summer after I graduated from Manchester College, a tiny hamlet in Northern Indiana.
We came together by chance one summer. One of us, the only one married at the time, was in the midst of a painful separation from her faux feminist new age husband. Some of the rest of us were hanging around town that summer getting ready for "meaningful work" which scared the hell out of us. We started a random "women's group," talking about issues like money, spirituality, body image, books. It was what you did when you were navel-gazing early twenty-somethings to pass the time.
The group solidified in the next several months as we sluffed off some of the not so active summer group members and continued to add new friends into our circle. We got together often--sometimes weekly--for discussion, and the ritual drinking of Boone's Farm Wine (the drink of choice for poor college students). And at the end of the day, or in the wee hours of the morning, we rocked one another to sleep if someone was bereft, or laughed so hard we choked milk out of our noses while we had breakfast if someone retold a remarkably funny moment, or nursed one another in illness if someone was sick (or hung-over), or sat silently holding the phone as someone wept long held-back tears.
The group added a member and grew.
We led different lives. We moved different directions at various times--Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky, California, Kansas, Texas, Washington D.C., Indiana. Some of us married, and some divorced. Some of us remarried. Some of us had children. Some of us had miscarriages. We've struggled with the illness of family, and the death of others who we've loved, and the painful closure of relationships which have left us reeling. But throughout the journey, we've held bonds to one another strong and deep and fierce and unending.
We've struggled together when we were angry with one another, or when we misunderstood one another, or when we felt alienated from one another. But we have not been afraid to name those realities, or if we were afraid we named them anyway.
I wear a gold wedding band on my right hand, right underneath my engagement ring. It is a ring which symbolizes my commitment to my sisters, to the women who will live across or down the hall from me at Timbercrest Retirement Home when we get to be about 86. In the summer of 2002 we had a blessing service for these rings, symbols to remind us of the women who will never abandon or forsake us, women who promise to be our sisters even on the other side of the veil.