It was a good speech, heartfelt and honest, in which a pastor spoke about the demands of pastoring and leading. He read an excerpt from a troubled young woman who was sharing her story. She told of her pastor and his wife meeting her to talk. The young woman quickly changed and avoided a subject that her pastor brought up. She wrote that the man realized what the girl was doing, but “the bird-brained wife didn’t know what happened.”
That sentence arrested me and made me angry enough that I couldn’t concentrate much on the rest of the talk. In my interaction with young women, hearing their stories, and seeing how many fall through the cracks, I am angry if an older woman cannot follow a young woman’s conversation well enough to see when she is carefully avoiding talking about needs to be talked about.
Granted, the girl may have misread the wife. Maybe the lady was tabling the issue, intending to bring it up again at a more opportune time. I hope she was.
But I say to anyone who will listen–especially women!–Life consists of far more than the space around the house and garden, the computer and shopping mall. There are bigger priorities to hold than comfort and pleasure, peers and reputation. Among the greater priorities should be young women who are fragile, tentative, searching. When these young women are neglected at the cost of pursuing lesser things, and/or taught the same values the older ones hold, the results are ugly and tragic. This is what makes me angry. And all of us are responsible, not only pastors’ wives.
(While I know that anger is not a good place to work from, it can give the impetus to work toward changing whatever triggers the anger. When God keeps anger from poisoning and embittering me, it is part of His miracle of redeeming the things I’m angry at.)
Bird-brained is not so much about intelligence but about “looking at life with raised eyebrows,” asking questions, taking interest in people and ideas, acknowledging that I am not the center of the world. (My gifted friend, Jewel, writes about this kind of intentional living more eloquently in this blog post.)
As for me, I have a complex about my own lack of academic intelligence; all my family members can out-wit me and reason and argue more logically than I. I wish I had a higher IQ, but I am not holding up intelligence as the answer to the world’s ills. What I am saying is that we need an alertness, an awareness, a constant sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness in order to expand our world and offer ourselves and what we have to the ones coming along beside us. This is more than intellectual prowess; it is about a Spirit-led sensitivity to what others are feeling and needing.
Is that too much to dream for?