Two of the chief pursuits of my life - religiosity & progressive ideas - are future-oriented. These subcultures are all about "the journey". Every Sunday, we say, “We await Christ’s coming in glory.” And progressives - no matter how bad the news - will always refrain that the arc of the moral universe is long, but bends towards justice.
And in the myriad cottage industries designed for women, "later" is also the name of the game. Women are always sold things for some other phase of life, or other season. Tweens are upsold on the idea of becoming teenagers. Teens then want to be adults. Adults then wish they had the body of teens, all while counting down towards retirement with sleep in their eyes and visions of margaritas at the finish line.
In the summer, we are told to get our homes and our clothes ready for fall. Then ready for winter! And then spring! Over morning coffee, we anticipate our children’s afternoon schedules, and do weekend planning during the week.
There is really no phase in a women’s lives when we're not in constant waiting mode. We’re constantly anticipating and then catering to the needs and perceptions of others, from adolescence to old age.
This Sunday was Palm Sunday, the last Sunday of the waiting period of Lent. Something about the sermon rubbed me wrong – too much talk of sacrifice – so I went to go walk the labyrinth. I’ve always loved labyrinths; in my twenties, I would use them to mull over my various comings and goings, thoughts, feelings, and hopes. It was a very centering practice for me. But to be honest, it was always rooted in the feeling that I had more to walk. A long way to go. In labyrinths, the road is long, and curvy.
When I arrived at the labyrinth, to my surprise, I didn’t want to take my shoes off. In fact, I didn’t really want to walk it at all. I realized, my Easter mediation this year is that I am tired of feeling like I'm "becoming." I am over the goddam journey. For the first time in my life, I give myself feminist permission to declare, I already am the destination.
Inspired by that very church - All Saints Church, Pasadena - I've raised 10 million dollars for social justice work. And blooming into my mid-30's, I finally realize, I actually don't have to be "more" anything: more spiritual, more forgiving, more giving! I am a working mother who helps non-profits stay in business. I am "given" out. And I'm not going to tithe. I am not a subsidized male with social capital to spend.
In biblical narratives, women primarily appear as harbingers of the present. It is through "the Marys" that we sensorially understand that Jesus was in fact a person: Mary Magdelene points out that Jesus is not in the tomb, and his mother Mary physically grieves him. (Visualized in pietà sculptures.) And in everyday life, women experience the shitshow of our current politics – our tax dollars for healthcare and childcare somehow end up as a "war tax" - while male politicians kick the can down the road. Their privileged speechwriters talk about the bravery and will of the American people, saying that we will rise up and "make America great again"...yet semantically, that sentence already implies that it isn't, currently. That Americans like me, who make businesses and families and growth curves run, aren't really great.
I no longer have the luxury of living in the future. I am a working mother in America, and I need things in the here and now. I can't wait and see if I get the gold star in the afterlife for turning yet another cheek.
This year, to celebrate the Resurrection, I'm not going to go on a green juice diet. And I'm not going to deliberate on a just future that is not yet here. As the poetic, introverted artista that I am, all I have to do is what lesbian poet Mary Oliver recommended, "let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." I am a mystic. I hear the Virgencita speaking. And what I think she's saying is, "You're enough.
And, you're already here."