For my internship today, I took a field trip over to a local retirement community where several church members live. It was set up by one of the women who has lived there for about 16 years. This sweet woman is one of those folks who naturally keeps track of people… I hate to say “Mother Hen” because I don’t find that image particularly appealing, but you know what I mean. Anyway, my lay committee suggested that I ask her to introduce me around to some of the other residents at the village, so that I could start establishing some relationships and let people know I would be available to visit while I’m out here this year.
Can I just say that when I am 78 or older, I want to be as lovely, amazing and inspiring as the women sitting around that table today? Not that I was surprised. Over and over again, I meet women of that generation who have the most incredible stories. Some were intentional boundary-crossers, setting out to do things that women hadn’t done before, blazing trails, pointing out if not breaking glass ceilings. Others did those things because their circumstances required it. Others, like these women, wouldn’t have made any headlines or history book entries. And yet, because of the lives they led in partnership with their husbands, they are amazing.
One woman shared about raising children during 35 years as the wife of a Marine, moving and helping her family find its way in a new community pretty much every three years. Another’s life started out that way, but her husband (an Air Force pilot) was MIA in Vietnam after his plane went down and was never found. She raised her children in that waiting mode for five years before they finally pronounced him dead. Another’s husband was an engineer with a manufacturer of missiles. They traveled all over the world, visiting factories and locations where the servicemen were trained to use them. I could go on…
But here’s the thing. I wanted to hear more from all of them. Not because they had met important or famous people but because they had lived through turbulent times in our nation, raised children and remained married for as long as 60 years before burying their husbands. One woman was even twice-widowed. The rich stream that ran throughout their stories was faith. And community… having other women around them to celebrate, commiserate, and everything in between.
I can’t wait to go back and meet some more!