The Women I Know

The women I know are spread out across lands and oceans, mountain ranges and prairies. I haven’t yet figured out how to make up for the hugs that cannot be sent three thousand miles. But there are words and photos, tears and laughter.

The women I know are stronger than they realize. They embody love to an extent that will carry them through the valleys. Their laughter fills gaps they don’t know exist, and their soft edges are the home they long for.

The women I know have faith so strong it knocks me over. They pick me up over and over again. They sacrifice and serve and shine. Until they hit walls. And then we pick them up in return. We share coffee and words, we pray and we laugh and we curse.

The women I know are simultaneously patient and gloriously impatient. They want to be known, they need solitude and connection. They want challenge and they want rest, and they will know both these things.

The women I know are no stranger to what anger feels like when it courses through their bones, when it boils down into rage and floods over into regret. They are unsure mothers, they wonder and wait and sometimes yell a little. But their children channel their strength and stand indignantly.

The women I know survive. Expectations won’t consume them. In their brokenness they are cared for. These are the women with scars, with buried memories, who struggle to sleep yet wake every morning to give more of themselves.

The women I know birth babies and wonder if they are meant for more. Some know what it feels like to hear the sound of absence, to bleed and pour out a love that hadn’t yet lived. They are wives and sisters and daughters and friends. They speak slowly and fast, they talk about everything and they settle in silence.

The women I know battle depression and anxiety and loneliness, but they are loved more than they know. I love them. There is hope even when it is clustered in the margins and dismissed as a fairytale.

The women I know frown at their hips. But those are the hips that help them stand tall. They stand in the rain and sometimes they roar, sometimes they whisper. They create and they rescue, they teach and they feed. They are bold, brave, vulnerable. They are loyal, they fight, they are beautiful.

The women I know are the cornerstones to all the worlds they have helped create, that intermingle with my own, that keep everything from collapsing. I wish they had the eyes to see it.

3 Thoughts on “The Women I Know

  1. I am learning more and more about women, even at my own 66 years of age. Women are amazing creatures. The strongest women I know are humble, but not weak, because they have courage to give their “fiat” to God and to get on with it in peaceful and triumphant earnest. I agree that it doesn’t always seem triumphant at the time.

    I wish we were close so we could have coffee and I could tell you about the women I know, whom I would bet you know also. They reign glory on womanhood from heaven. I am beginning to spend much quiet time listening to the Carmelite saints, then gathering monthly to pray with those who desire to emulate them. Oh, Clare! They are such women! And they make me realize better the attributes of all the women I encounter daily in the world. I see that if women knew why they were created, they could never doubt their own wonders. The Blessed Mother shows us this daily, and it makes our Lord laugh with joy, I think, to see us dance along in effervescent grace.

    Once again you have put into words the seemingly indescribable! I love you, Clare! My love to Nicholas, to Mike, and to all The Women you know!

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