It is no secret that as women, we carry our babies for nine months. We create and nurture and grow life in a womb of water until birth, when we care for them as our newborns and on into childhood.
Some of us, who cannot have children, care for and love the children that are in our lives, the children that become a part of us, whether it’s through a bloodline or not.
Some of us have lost our babies, or we’ve given up children, or we’ve carried some other kind of motherly burden. Some of us have been abandoned by or lost our own mothers, and it bears heavy on us throughout our lives.
We are made to carry heavy loads, and today, we are out-loud-mourning.
Sunday is Easter, and while I’m aware that to many people in this world that is just another Sunday, I gravitate toward the life of Jesus as he speaks into the world we inhabit at this moment in time.
And I think about the woman who bore him.
I think about Mary, who knew from before his birth that Jesus would live an extraordinary life, one that might prove to be difficult. She carried the weight of love for her son, who was also called to be so much more than that.
She watched that son that she bore and carried in her arms and cooked with in her kitchen. She watched him drag a cross through the city and watched as he was nailed to it. She watched as he sighed his last sigh, his last prayer wafted to every corner of heaven around them.
She bore the weight. She mourned.
In the last year, we’ve seen care for the earth and the conversation of climate control come to the surface yet again in our communities, in our nation, in our world. Indigenous peoples’ voices have been heard as we proclaim that it is our honor and sacred duty to care for Mother Earth– her spirit as our very life.
So, I think about the women of Standing Rock, the young woman who began the march for her people, the young woman who said that it was enough, too many indigenous people dying, too many giving up. So they stood and they prayed and they sang for clean water, begging and teaching the world that care for Mother Earth is the greatest honor. And a heavy weight.
I think of the woman who gave birth in that camp, who named her daughter Mni Wiconi, meaning Water is Life. She says in the video, “I firmly believe our men need our women to stand up and be strong.”
And part of that strength is our ability to speak out of our brokenness.
We share the things we carry. We lament and mourn, and we make way for future generations to do the same.
As women, we carry our mourning, because our bodies and our souls have been taught to carry the lives inside and around us.
We mourn in a world that feels heavy today.
In the last few months of the presidential election and beginning of Trump’s time in office, I’ve seen women torn from one another in battles over who they voted for and what sect of Christianity teaches them to believe in a certain way.
And I’ve seen other women who quietly hold their faith close to their chest, the ones who are steady and strong, the ones who know that there is life outside of this, outside of our fights and our tantrums.
As women, we carry our churches and our faith places, because we care for the people. We hold them inside our hearts, we work toward wholeness and we pray.
Glennon Doyle Melton recently said in a speech, “The generals of justice have always been and will always be the women of color.”
She pointed out to a room full of mostly white women that to do what is right and needs to be done, the best course of action is to see what women of color have been carrying for centuries and follow them.
This is Sojourner Truth.
This is Maya Angelou.
This is Mary Magdalene.
This is Cleopatra.
This is Hildegard of Bingen.
Her words moved me, because in recent months, I’ve been given a platform for my own voice– for my voice of color, for my voice as a woman. I can speak what I believe and I can call you to meet me here in this space.
But many women do not have that opportunity.
So I mourn that we are not there yet.
I mourn for a world that does not recognize the voices of the women as they should be recognized.
I mourn for the fights that happen over the body of a female, over having choices for what that body should look like and act like and seem like.
I mourn for young indigenous women who disappear, who are raped and attacked because of their culture and skin.
I mourn for the women around the world who have lost their children to war, to starvation, to lack of attention from countries like ours that could have done something better.
I mourn because I am a woman.
I mourn because I carry the world.
I mourn because the rivers run with oil and our children are afraid of the places where they live.
I mourn that we do not understand Jesus as a kind and gentle healer who seems to still turn this world upside down.
I mourn that we do not appreciate the hard and steady work of slowing down and listening.
And yet, I hold myself steady in the reality that I live in the beautiful lineage of all the women who came before me and fought in their mourning.
I live in the long-time shadow of my ancestors, those women who walked the Trail of Death and did not give up along the way; those women who nursed their babies without stopping to rest and who built a life out of nothing.
I live to honor the lives of the women who have placed their trust in me, who have shared their stories with me in hopes that together we build a better future for ourselves and for our children.
For those women, I mourn that we are not there yet, but I hope that one day we will be.