I recall, as I write to you now, when a couple of years ago, he called me into his room. Tears were rolling down his cheeks. “Read this,” he said.
The book is entitled, “Voices of Sudan” and on page 42, the chapter is entitled “Sudanese Women”.
We sat in the stillness of our own thoughts, as we read together.
“Their babies…their babies die,” he said…this more of a statement rather than question.
Hank’s willingness to be held by me is not as welcomed as it used to be. But right then, the two of us, sat there. My arm around his strong, muscular body, the book gently rested across both our laps and the silence that comes with feeling powerless…and somehow oddly I felt empowered with him there next to me…my young man-son.
I lost myself for a minute…and then I noticed my tears. Hank’s radio was on and an advertisement announcing job openings at the local Hooters restaurants was on.
And on this day, in that moment, my son realized how important it was, to just…let me.
I expect more from my son Hank (and the men in my life) because he IS more. So are the men who sit in the booths at Hooters. Maybe they just don’t see how they are being manipulated by a culture and an establishment that only wants their money. Maybe they don’t see how their buy-in to the macho view of men is limiting not only their view of the world but their ability to feel…I mean really feel something real, honest and authentic.
I’m coming to realize that my role as an empowered woman, on a mission to shed myself of the filters that limit my view, is to have a compassionate understanding of how those very same filters limit the potential of both genders…and that the best way I can help others liberate themselves from the constraints of their “gender view” is to push my expectations of them to higher ground…as I have done with Hank and most importantly of myself. I must first remove the filter from my own eyes so that I no longer judge…either me on this side of it, or you on the other side. The filters go both ways.
What filters have you used to justify behavior or define those of the opposite gender? Have you every tried to see someone not first as a “man or woman” but as a person, spirit, soul? What might happen if you first viewed someone from that perspective?