I’ve been binge-watching The Newsroom for the past week. This morning I woke up far too early for a weekend-day. Debating about whether or not to just go ahead and get up, I remembered I had gone to sleep last night with only 10 minutes remaining in the last episode of Season 2. I reached for my iPad, propped it up on a pillow and finished. I won’t give away what happened, but in the midst, the main character told a story to the woman he loves (but can’t admit). Here’s the gist of it:
Once upon a time there was a little boy who couldn’t stop shredding paper. His parents were highly concerned so they took him to doctor after doctor trying to determine what was wrong. Sadly, nothing worked. Finally, they found a world-renowned specialist on such things, paid an astronomical sum, and took their son to him as a last hope. The doctor listened then turned to the boy and said, “You know, if you’d stop shredding paper your parents would stop dragging you to doctors.” And the boy responded, “Why didn’t you just say so?”
After I wiped the tears from my eyes (there were a few more scenes which would explain my emotional reaction), I got out of bed, brewed my tea, and sat myself down to write this post – determined to “just say so.”
Once upon a time there were two midwives who worked for a king. In an attempt to control the population of his slaves (who he feared would one day become his enemies), he told the midwives to kill every boy-child they birthed. They didn’t like this idea and so, chose to do nothing of the kind. Not soon after, the king called them on the carpet, demanding to know why they had not obeyed him. They said, “The Hebrew women are much too strong and fast! They have the child before we can even get here!” The ancient text tells us they did this because they respected and honored the Hebrew God (of whom they would have
known little-to-nothing) more than they feared the king. And because of this, that same God blessed them with children of their own.
I can see a gazillion take-away’s from this story, but here are just four…for now:
Do what you can’t not do – even before you feel ready. You are.
Neither the voices within, nor those of “power” without have the final say. You do.
Trust that life is yours to bring forth on your own and others’ behalf, no matter the risk. It is.
Stand alongside other women – always and in all things. It matters.
I spend countless hours swirling in the midst of these stories, wondering how to tell them, wondering why/if they matter, being deluged by a million fears that my readers won’t “get” their significance, their beauty, their relevance, their wisdom. And because my heart cannot let that happen, I keep swirling (or shredding paper, as the case may be), not actually telling them or letting them speak for themselves, not just speaking for myself. So today, thanks to Jeff Daniels, I thought I’d just say so.
We need these stories. We need these women. Why? Because we need muses, mentors, companions, and yes, midwives who call us forth and birth us into the lives that are ours to claim, to live, to love.
This is what these stories do. This is what these women do – over and over and over again. The more value and worth we give to any woman’s story (I just happen to know, love, and have a bit of expertise on these), the more value and worth we give to our own.
And that, it seems to me, is worth any effort, any risk, decrying any voices within or without.
The midwives, and countless others, continue to stand alongside me. I (and they) will do the same for you.
I thought I’d just say so.