Miriam Toews book, Women Talking, is about a group of women trying to speak out the unspeakable, trying to determine a right course of action. And maybe this type of sharing has always been powerful than it appears, though it may not involve action-packed drama.
Whenever I’ve been in on a circle of women talking, I’ve been struck by our common humanity. I can see myself mirrored in their words. Outwardly they may have made different choices, followed different paths, but we can learn so much from each other. It’s also why I love to read biographies; how did people survive and thrive in difficult circumstances? It’s a way of preparing for possible futures.
We are a consortium of the people we were at different stages in our lives. And multiple generations have contributed to the DNA in our cells. Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, as the psalmist writes. So relationships are not only in a physical space, but stretch back into the past to influence our decisions today.
Physics has some intriguing things to say about these decisions: is it that of all the possibilities, we “collapse” the potential into reality? Does there need to be consciousness or a Consciousness? Are there multiverses in which a version of ourselves continues on the path we rejected?
Science often is a catalyst to improve lives, there is value in different viewpoints that often lead to practical inventions in daily life and in wartime. But as a basis for reality, theories often prove mistaken, or inadequate. Scientists are affected, like all of us, by social and political peer pressure, aligned in opposing camps or reluctant to upset the status quo.
It becomes a relief to rest in the Biblical truth of Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was made at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Our minds are limited, we will never know the consequences of the paths we didn’t follow. We can’t get our heads around the amazing miracle of the world as God created it, or the interplay between determinism and free will. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. God breathes his speech into life, and time, and the course of human history. He sees all, has created us not only as separate physical beings, but with some mysterious connection to Him and the others in our world.
So, to get to the Cinderella story, a story about a girl in distress because she’s suffered the loss of her mother, rejection and disdain from her stepmother and sisters. As she weeps, her need summons her fairy godmother (from another, spiritual dimension?) who magically makes it possible for her to begin a new life. It makes me think of Hagar’s despair in the desert when she’s been cast out by Abraham and Sarah, how God comes to her rescue in such an astounding way that she names him, “The God who Sees.”
When we are women connecting, with God and with each other, we no longer feel alone in this baffling universe. And in that, the invisible becomes visible, we are seen, and can see. We are given the gift of our true selves, and the power to choose our way.