Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Day on 9/11

I spent the morning this morning with a group of women who are a continuation of the group that walked me through my first years as a mother.  Eleven years ago today I would have been sitting with several of those women as we learned about the tragedy unfolding, but instead, I was home nursing a sick toddler.  We walked with one another through that day, and that support has continued to help me as I've pursued my dreams.  Today, I presented to the group, some long time friends and some brand new faces, and worked with them to help identify within themselves some of the things that bring them life.  We talked about passion and giftedness and following your calling.  I used a scripture passage familiar to many of the women, from Proverbs 31, that often gets held up as a checklist of how to be good.  Instead, we looked at the story as a model of how to pursue a passion.  Taking the rules and turning them into permission -- that's the work I want to do in this world.  I shared with them this poem, that I wrote a few weeks ago while planning for this day -- a response to what the topic stirred in me.  What better way to celebrate life on this day than sharing memories with friends and talking about how to bring our unique gifts into the world.

Tell me Your Story

Expected to be covered, seen and not heard, care-taking behind the scenes
Yet dressed in purple, moving among the wealthy merchants, driving a hard bargain.

How did you start? With a scrap of sale material you found or experimenting in your own kitchen?
Where did your first trip take you? To what exotic lands did you travel to learn your craft?

Did he complain at first when you were gone, or when you stayed up late into the night planning?
Or did he know before you did that you were destined for greatness?

Now look at this vast operation you oversee. Workers at harvest in the fields.
Seamstresses crafting designs of your creation. Fine wine curing in oak barrels.

When you speak, those in power stop their scurrying to listen.
They have learned from experience that your words carry great wisdom.

And in the midst of it all, you tend to wounded souls
and give generously from your abundance.

Your daughters look up to you, proud of all you've accomplished.
And your sons praise you to their friends. You delight in spending time with them.

Where did you find the courage to begin? How often did you agonize over the cost
or worry whether following your dream was worth the sacrifice?

How many bolts of purple cloth have you stained with your tears?

You handle the ever present criticism with grace, knowing now the worth of your journey.
But how many relationships hung in the balance back then, before you took that first step?

Yet step you did, your path lit by the light of the fire within, nudged by that still small voice inside,
the voice of the creator, in whose image you were formed, destined to be a creator yourself.

Inspired by Eve who hungered to know. Guided by Sophia who whispered in the wind.
Led by the examples of mothers and grandmothers whose faces disappear into the mist.

You challenged the rules and rhythms that bound your days.
You followed the creative impulse in your soul. You honored your calling.

And now, you are honored in sacred text, revered and rewarded for the risk,
and we call you blessed among us.


  1. This touches me deeply. Thank you for opening a window to a new perspective of a familiar story/scripture. Beautiful. Profound. Opening.

  2. Thank you so much, Renae, for speaking to our group yesterday. Many have shared that it was just what they needed to hear. God used you in some powerful ways to speak into the hearts of moms and remind them of their flame inside. I saw you become counselor to a room full of women collectively, and then individually as well. There was a tangible calming energy in the room. And I was blessed to be a witness to that, and participate in it. You are a wonderful writer, poet, and counselor! I love reading your blog posts. Keep up the great work, my friend!