In August I watched a lot more TV than usual, what with the pneumonia and then the Olympics and then it being Too Hot To Go Out. So I saw the trailer for the new Meryl Streep movie a couple of times and she looked like she was having a blast. So relaxed and beautiful and giggly, with her hair in that adorable bob.
It made me remember how Meryl Streep used to look back when she was our age. I never used to think she was all that beautiful, back in her Very Serious Actress days. Even her hair looked stressed out back then:
In summertime, my BFF and I sometimes lead this day-long retreat called Women of the 14th Moon, which was originally created as a way to for women to address the fear of aging. During the retreat day, we honor women at all the stages of life. We celebrate the young women and their energy, curiosity and passion. We celebrate the older women and their wisdom, knowledge and joyfulness. And we celebrate the women in our middle years because we are the ones who do the work - raise the children, care for the elders, make the money. This year, I led a guided meditation on rest and breathing, and then I had to go into my friend's house and take a nap (did I MENTION the PNEUMONIA?) while the other women chatted in the shade of my friend's biggest tree.
Recently, a woman in my congregation wondered out loud if I do more than I need to because people in the church ask me to do things they wouldn't ask a male pastor to do. Since she asked me this less than an hour after someone stopped by and asked me to make a copy of something, I had to say I thought so. Actually, making a copy isn't that big a deal. I think the problem is more internal than external. For the last decade or so, I have worked so hard to be/seem competent, responsible, serious, leaderly (leaderish? leaderful?). I have asked a lot of myself and I do more than I need to. Even my hair, I suspect, looks stressed out.
Partly, the Woman of the 14th Moon ceremony reminds me, we work hard because there is a lot of work to do and someone has to do it. Maybe, though, I can remember another lesson of that day - that we hold all ages of woman inside of ourselves. Maybe I can lean a little more into the wisdom, the knowledge and the joy of the older woman I will be one day. Maybe I can practice the giggle of Streep at 63 and let go a little of the brow furrows of Streep at 43.