A few weeks ago, while talking to my therapist, I mentioned my ongoing and haunting hunch that the archetype of the Prophet is mine to live into and fulfill: one who says what must be said, who speaks the truth, who proclaims what others don’t or won’t. (I’ve written before about how I actually think this archetype is
true for all women.) Here’s what he said to me:
“It’s all going to end badly!”
“And what do you-of-all-people know about the stories of the prophets, Ronna?!? Right! They get dragged through excrement and tortured with hot coals and lay naked in the streets and sometimes are even killed! So, if that’s a given, then you may as well say what the hell you have to say, because there’s no happy ending! Get on with it!”
(I love this guy!)
This may sound depressing to you – and I’ll admit, on my worst days, it sounds that way to me, too. But it also offers me profound freedom! If it’s all going to end badly anyway, then it really doesn’t matter. If all my labor and effort and toiling and work will, ultimately, be misunderstood and potentially even maligned, then why not go for it?!?
I suppose I can try to forego this ending, circumvent it somehow – or at least attempt such. I can morph myself into something or someone other than who I am in order to be more acceptable, tame, and market-savvy. I can blog and write and speak about things far less divisive and derisive. I can leave spirituality totally off the table. I can eliminate the word “God” from my vocabulary.
Yep. I could do all of this (and so could you: just change the words so they apply), but then I wouldn’t be doing what I do (nor would you). And that seems even more problematic than a less-than stellar ending.
Still too depressing? OK. Here’s some redemption.
As my therapist and I continued to talk he said,
“Seriously, Ronna. Are there any stories of prophets that don’t end badly? I don’t actually know…but you do. Tell me, p-l-e-a-s-e, if there is any other outcome!”
And here is what I said: “Actually, there is one story of a prophet that doesn’t end badly. And interestingly, it’s the story of a woman.” As soon as I spoke those words, the two of us stared at each other and then both, in our own ways, said, “Well, OK then!” and laughed.
Since that conversation I’ve done a bit of homework. There are actually 10 women in the Bible who are named as prophets and nothing bad happens to any of them! So, new approach:
It’s NOT going to end badly!
This creates just as much freedom as its negative counterpart! If no matter what I say or do – in speaking the truth and telling the truth and being committed to the truth – it is not going to result in a horrific or brutal end, then I may as well say and do what I’m here to say and do (and you, as well)!
Here’s the bottom line:
It really doesn’t matter how things are going to end – whether badly or well. What matters is that I stay the course, stay committed to that which I believe (in), stay focused on that know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice within, stay on track, and just stay, period. (You, too.)
And all the while holding this as truth: …whether by conscious choice or circumstantial demand, women inherently and instinctively are prophets. We inherently and instinctively see and know truth – deep in our bones. We don’t want to incur the risk of speaking truth and we must. We don’t want to bear the cost or harm of saying what others don’t want to hear and we can’t not. We’re caught between the proverbial rock and hard place.
Clearly, we are prophets. And we are in good company.
The ending doesn’t matter one bit. The story we’re telling and living does.
May it be so.