Women have been blessed with a number of gifts from above that are not easily recognized by the world in which we live. As mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters, aunts, and friends, we harbor a sense of intuition, a desire in faithfulness and hope that many if not most of the established hierarchy negate, deny or possibly fear. Nurturing, resolving conflicts with the preferred absence of anger or violence, listening deeply to words with emotions and thoughts of the heart – these have been hallmarks of the depth women carry throughout history. These are the whispers passed down from generations of women through all our ancestries, much of which is ignored by the noise made by all the confusion in our modern world.
Let me take a moment to take a knife to the onion. With an ever-so-sharp blade, our lives seek to razor through to the bottom, leaving many rings scattered on the cutting board, and often with accompanying tears that spill alongside. But there is a powerful message in each of the rings, each of the voices that validate the visions of women in our everyday lives. Visions of simple actions and empowering thoughts that, like an onion, contain concentric rings that may hold strong power once released.
Noni’s presence as a mother, a grandmother, an immigrant from Northern Italy, her whole life was one of quiet presence. She accepted that which she was given, counted her blessings and kept her place actively performing the tasks her culture, her heritage, her duties expected of her, When in doubt, she reached in her apron pocket for her black leather breviary, which I still keep in the hallows of my white nightstand by my bed. Its pages are frail, brittle, but highlighted with gold leaf – much like our own lives. We are frail, brittle, but there is a golden aura for those who seek that surrounds our lives with hope, with faith, with love, amid the confusion and fear. Noni rarely strayed beyond the confines her life demanded of her, yet her joys and challenges could have easily been perceived through her tears, her sacrifices, and in her silence.
We may not know what our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters and friends have thought or are thinking, but we owe it to the collective to imagine, to dream and to support each other in our choices, in silence, in voice.