Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Make Way Now

There is a provocative saying about marriage to the effect that men, who say they will change, never do, and that women, who say they will never change, always do. In the 1700's in the Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada desert country the coming of the Spanish conquistadores from the south and Anglos from the east brought both in conflict with Native Americans who had been there for centuries. The Apaches were one of the most tragic tribes who suffered from this conquest. As it was the intention of both Spanish and Americans to take Apache territory, over a century of conflict ensued between these groups.
Among the many families, tribes and related groups of the Apache, especially the Nnee, there was a mythical spiritual figure know as Changing Woman. This figure was important in Apache symbolism and especially so in the midst of the destruction of Apache life. In this time of troubles the Apache were able to draw inspiration from Changing Woman because their lives and culture were being changed continually.

I like to think the so-called unpredictable nature of women, if there is such a thing, is a blessing both to men and to women. To be able to adapt to changing circumstances, to see the good in the bad, the possible in the impossible, to build on the good and put away the bad, to embrace rather than reject, is to be the leavening, the healer, the mediator, the listener, the forgiver in marriage and family life and in community life. It's what helps tide us over. As it was said of Florence Nightengale as she visited the sick, the wounded and dying during the Civil War, "Make way now for your angel is coming to bless you."

A friendly piece of pastoral advice: Next time there is a disagreement, a conflict, a moment of violence by word and deed in your family life or marriage or between parent and child, or between you and AN ENEMY! put your hand on the face of the other and say, "Make way now for the coming of your angel to bless you."

It works and it doesn't cost a thing, just courage. Respond and I'll tell you how I know.