Welcome to Words from the Edge

This is a site where you can share faith and spirituality with women and men who long to expand their horizons and move more deeply into the wide spiritual dimensions of life. It’s written with the same edgy content that characterised Tarella Spirituality, but simpler to navigate and more tablet and smart phone friendly. You can still reread favourites on www.tarellaspirituality.com

I welcome comments and suggestions. You can reach me at judith@judithscully.com.au

Lockdown

I live in Melbourne and once more we are in lockdown. It’s not easy. We had been cautiously  and joyfully edging our way towards something approximating normal, but . . . Now schooling is moving back online,  playgrounds and gyms are closed, coffee with a friend or two will have to wait, while the comfort of religious gatherings  is a month or two away. Employment is uncertain, and hand in hand with it a lifestyle that most Australians had assumed was ours for the taking.

This pandemic is teaching me that all my life I’ve been peering around the corners of the walls that divide us into countries, race and religion. Day after day during this pandemic I’ve experienced those walls tumbling, exposing the city I live in, my country and the whole world in all its ordinariness, kindness, generosity, and yes – stupidity and cruelty too. Maybe lock-down is the way to the openness of empathy, compassion, selflessness and love that I need, that we all need.

For further reflection here is a poem by Lynn Ungar, written in March this year as the pandemic began to take hold. Read it aloud as well as silently or maybe see and hear Lynn herself on the following link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhlENV5UdjU

Lockdown

Pandemic  (by Lynn Ungar)

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

      Judith           judith@judithscully.com.au

 

 

 

 

Things happen

“Strange things happen when women get together.” A man said that. Strange? In my experience, when women get together they talk. Yesterday I chanced a cup of coffee only to discover that distancing rules left me without a seat, and I needed to sit! A woman beckoned me to share her table, with an assurance that she had been tested and was virus free. By the time she left to keep her massage appointment we were friends. Talking with her had gifted me with a spark of joy that helped me come to terms with a situation in my own life.

Mary, known to us as the mother of Jesus and Elizabeth as the mother of John the Baptizer, each experienced a situation where they needed to talk to a friend. They knew each other as kinswomen, now they were linked through pregnancy. Pregnancy wasn’t going to be easy for Elizabeth, not only because she was about to become an elderly parent, but she was having husband problems as her husband Zechariah had lost the power of speech. Husband and wife both had a deep relationship with God, but they lived it very differently. Zechariah was learned in the Law, able to solve knotty religious problems and faithful to the requirements of his priestly duties, while Elizabeth had lived a childless life quietly and joyfully attuned to the God within her.

Mary was young and pregnant and it’s possible that she needed somewhere to stay for a time while her young fiancée came to terms with the situation. She does not go to her father for protection or to the priests of the Temple for vindication. She goes to another woman, an older woman, who can do nothing to save her, has no power to make the social situation better, but a woman who recognised the wonder and the mystery of God at work when Mary came to visit.

tropical-deckWhen women gather, whether as a twosome or as a larger group with shared experiences and interests, they talk about their lives – about their children and yes, sometimes about their husband or partner. They laugh a lot and swap decorating ideas and share on-line addresses for places to purchase must-have whatevers. If they cry then it’s a safe place to do that too. There’s something about meeting with a trusted friend or friends that has a whiff of freedom about it, a space to give voice to whatever would feel better for putting into words.

I’m not saying that women’s get-togethers are always models of solidarity and support for each other, just as the story of the visitation isn’t a pious tale about Mary and Elizabeth either. It’s a story of two women standing together in the loneliness of an unexpected pregnancy. They shared their story and in the sharing each found the courage and strength they would need in the months – and years – that lay ahead.

God’s storyline, then and now, is woven through women. One of my go-to books, Midwives of an Unnamed Future, says this: “When women come together as women, stories are told, dreams are birthed and conversations pave the way for change.” Women are life bearers and nurturers and pregnancy, birthing and nurturing come in many shapes. As the world gradually comes to terms with the changes that Covid-19 is trailing in its wake, there are emerging opportunities for women’s friendship circles, formal and informal, to bring to birth possibilities for society, and Church too, that are more inclusive, more just.

                                                      Judith    (judith@judithscully.com.au)