Women Who Love: HONOR

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It was the way Sarah, the registered massage therapist, held my forearms. I lay sprawled on the massage bed, blissed out in the library at Linwood House on a Saturday afternoon in March.

Sarah was playing gentle spa music, the fireplace was turned up and I was surrounded by books on the floor-to-ceiling shelves. What’s not to love? Sarah was a gift for all the daughters on our Girls’ Weekend with Mama Gwen. Massages for everyone! All the daughters, daughters-in-law, daughters-of-the-heart and the eldest granddaughter.

Sarah had spent most of her time on my shoulders and neck, but for the last 15 minutes of the massage, she had me turned on my back. I wasn’t thinking too much; just enjoying.

Then she gently picked up my antebrachium. My forearm with the pinky-brown skin and blonde arm hair. One age spot two inches from my elbow and one mole halfway down my arm.

She picked up my left arm first.
Then the right arm.
Then both.

She paused over them.

Held them for a moment that felt longer than what I would usually contribute to them.

Her work was suddenly a prayer. A deep honoring.
Nobody had ever held my forearms like that. Like they mattered.
Bones and muscles and skin.

As Sarah paused, I suddenly sensed their value.
Not just forearms, but workers.
Labourers that hold up my hands, so my fingers can click away on the keyboard, day after day after day.

These are the silent contributors to my work.
These are the forgotten workers, the invisible contributors to my life’s work.

These forearms, my hands, my fingers, my lower back. That bum sitting for hours on a seat.

It dawned on me: These arms matter.

These forearms deserve my attention and my gratitude.

I hadn’t given my forearms much thought: ulna and radius, extensor muscles and flexor muscles.

I know when they hurt. But, unless they’re hurting, I hadn’t paid much attention.

There was the time when they were painfully inflamed and I sat in the tiny physiotherapist room with electric wires hooked up to my arms. I went every week for a while, but it didn’t get better until I mentioned it to my cousin-in-law, who happened to be a chiropractor.

O, I can fix that, he said, o-so-casually, during an appointment.

He grabbed a tool and started “scraping” my forearms. It felt tender, but as he firmly held my forearms and scraped against muscle, I could actually feel the pain leave my arms.

It was as close to a miracle in my body as I’ve ever felt.

And, like that, the pain was gone.

And, like that, I went back to writing on my keyboard without pain and forgetting about my forearms again.

Writer

Two months ago, I put out a call to prayer. I wrote about not knowing where my “little lot of land” is—my own place of empowerment.

The women of Burundi had called out a deep question within me. And I asked our community—you—to help and pray. I felt like I couldn’t walk through the next door by myself.

I wrote:

“It dawned on me that working the land and earning a living held profound dignity.

I imagined they looked more like empowerment than I do. I may have access and privilege, but I hadn’t figured out how to take something from seed to soil to market.

They have.”

One morning, during my free writing time, I asked myself some hard questions. The dialogue went something like this:

Do I own the fact that I am a writer?
I think I do.

Do I take it seriously? Have I truly embraced it?
No. I don’t think I am good enough.
I am an ESL speaker. I feel like I have trouble expressing the essence of things. 

Why am I removed from the profession of being a writer?
I’ve embraced “Journalist” and “reporter.”
(Cute comeback.)

Have I embraced writing as my job?
No. I’ve treated it as a hobby. An important hobby. But not like I would treat it if I were to be paid for it.

Why?
I just hadn’t thought of it. Faced that. Owned that. Asked that question.

If this is the job I am called to do in the world … to create books, and blogposts, and an expression of truth and beauty and emotion through words, then why haven’t I embraced it?
I have stood a distance away. I have been separate from it. I haven’t stood in the call and the essence of writing from my soul.

Boom. 

Well, that needed to change.

I found it fascinating that I could be a writer and yet I puttered at it, like it was a lovely pet plant to have around. In essence, I didn’t honor my work.

That morning, I wrote a declaration to and for myself:

Today, I see this patch of land I’ve been given.
I have tools, I have language, I have freedom
I can stand in this soil–my soil–and I can work it.

Forgive me for not seeing until now, God.
Thank you for opening my eyes.

I embrace my calling as a writer.
I embrace the task.
May I have the courage and tenacity to stand in this calling.
May I have a steadfast heart.

I endeavor to look after my body
I endeavor to look after my soul
I endeavor to care for my spirit
And surrender, always, to the Way of Life.

I honor my arms,
My wrists,
My hands,
My fingers.

I honor the tools of my trade.

I celebrate the writers who walk with me.
I celebrate the women and men who have embraced this sacred calling.
I honor my contemporaries.
I honor those who have gone before us.

I refuse to diminish my gift.
I honor this gift now,
as I honor the Giver of this gift.

Today, I honor the writer in me.

Today, I honor my work.

___________________

This is how I feel now: A field has opened up for me. I am standing in raw earth with my bare feet and I am letting the soil curl up through my toes. This is my place.

This is my place.

I stand here. I am here. This is my place.

It’s come to me, finally, as a deep knowing.

All the asking, seeking, praying has opened up this most obvious path …

I, Idelette, am a writer.

I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer.

Ahhhhhhhhh.

Thank you for praying, friends!

___________________

QUESTION:

I’m curious. What’s YOUR work? Have you had a moment when you paused and recognized it as such? I’d love to hear about that moment–either of when you had the revelation or how you’ve honored your soul’s work in response. Or if you haven’t made a declaration to yourself, why not write your own? I’d love to see. Maybe link it up with us this month?

___________________

Today we kick off a new month around the theme of HONOR (or HONOUR, in our global family.)

This week, our regular line-up includes Kathy Escobar (Tue), Megan Gahan (Wed), Sarah Joslyn (Thu), Rachel Pieh Jones (Fri) and Helen Burns (Sat).

The Red Couch Bookclub is also launching a brand new book this week. Leigh Kramer is leading us out on Wednesday. Be sure to check it out!

Have a most honourable week.

Love,

Idelette

xoxo

____________

 Image credit: Tina Francis

 

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Idelette McVicker
If you only know one thing about me, I'd love for you to know this: I love Jesus, justice and living juicy. I also happen to drive a minivan and drink my lattes plain. (My life is exciting enough!) Nineteen years ago, I moved from Taiwan to Canada to marry Scott. We have two teenagers, a preteen, a Bernese Mountain dog and a restaurant. (Ask Scott to tell you our love story.) In 2010, I founded SheLovesmagazine.com and it has now grown to include a Dangerous Women membership community, a Red Couch Bookclub, events and gatherings. I'd like to think of it as curating transformational spaces for women in community. I long for women to be strong in our faith and voice, so we can be advocates for God’s heart for justice here on earth. As an Afrikaner woman, born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid, my story humbly compels me to step out for justice and everyday peacemaking. I have also seen firsthand the impact injustice has had on the lives and stories of women around the world. I refuse to stay silent. I am anti-racist and also a recovering racist. I am a Seven on the Enneagram, an INFP and I mostly wear black, with a dash of animal print or faux fur.
Idelette McVicker

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