Woman empowerment… yes. Slaying all the men to get it? No. A new and instantly beloved friend told me to look up Nikita Gill – Wild Embers within the first two minutes of meeting for the first time. So I read it.
We are the descendants
Of the wild women you forgot
We are the stories you thought
Would never be taught.
They should have checked the ashes
Of the women they burned alive.
Because it takes a single wild ember
To bring a whole wildfire back to life.
For all the women who felt burned alive by something greater and darker and more powerful than they. Just like I did. Just like so many who believed the lie that they didn’t count.
And I think, I don’t believe those lies anymore. I have gotten really good at identifying those kinds of lies. They have a certain stench about them that is a dead give away – no pun intended. It’s like that apple that rots in the bowl surrounded by fresh, healthy fruit. Just leave it there, and given enough time and proximity, pretty soon the whole lot will be eaten by rot.
Yes. That is how I felt for years and years – so much of my life I felt contained in a bowl with something foul that I couldn’t get free from. And I think I believed that the answer to it, the job I had been given as a good daughter of God, was to stay right there in the middle of that bowl of rot and shine brighter. In fact, I know that is what I believed because even now, when I see that picture in my head I think, yes – stay in the middle of the rotten mess and shine, baby, shine. Be greater than the darkness, that’s your job as one who carries the Light.
But I see that now and shake my head at the subtlety of the poison.
Why do we believe that to be truly good, we must surround ourselves with rot and decay? Why do we believe that’s the thing that makes our “light shine greater”?
It is the difference between what is my job (read: responsibility), and what is NOT my job.
Is it my “job” to fix people?
Is it my “job” to heal wounds?
Is it my “Job” to make sure that every misguided soul around me sees the light?
Is it my “job” to stay by the lonely and lost ones and make them see?
Is it my “JOB” to make those sad and dejected feel happy in their life?
(especially if witnessing my freedom makes them feel worse about themselves?)
This is what that sentiment tells me. That the responsibility of the “good apple” is that I must keep myself surrounded by the stench of rot and decay to have done my good duty.
After half a life of trying so very desperately to do all these things I should do, I finally understood in a brilliant flash of dawning revelation that these things are in fact — not my job. It was the belief that I was responsible for making people happy, making them see the light, making them whole, making them free, that kept me at the bottom of a rotten bowl of fruit. All I had energy for in that place was to do everything I could to manage my OWN rotten places. Soft spots turned to bruises, turned to gaping holes in me that I worked and worked and worked to heal, only to manage a bandage on one side, to be struck on the other side and begin the process all over again. So me being in that place did nothing for those struggling, precious apples around me. My desperation to stop breaking down did not help them (nor me) be whole.
I don’t believe anyone tried to damage us by saying “be good, help others.” We must be willing to walk with one another through this life. So many of us are hurting and need to see the light of hope so we know where to step next – toward that light! And YES we need to allow the light inside of us to shine for all the world to see – yes, 1000 times yes – especially with the state of the world right now.
Let’s continue to ask ourselves the important questions like –
“Is it my job to make people happy?”
“Am I responsible for the emotional state of another human being?”
Am I responsible for me? And –
Do I truly own me, and therefore I alone am responsible for my emotional state?
Which one of those ideas ring true? Which one of those things registers inside when you ask it of yourself? What if I am responsible for my own happiness? What would that mean for me? To believe that you are responsible for the emotional state of another human being is a heavy burden indeed. It is a mountain of impossible standards that we will work and work and work for our whole lives to manage. Or… We can tell ourselves the truth, that this is not our job.
We can rise up out of the rot and damage and decay, free of that impossible thing that keeps us in the middle of that death and chaos, and learn how to be responsible for ourselves and love others. This my friends is the Kingdom.