God is Not a Woman

It was my second year of law school and life was exciting.  The woman that was too afraid to speak till I was sixteen (as my Mother once shared with my upstairs neighbor Rick) now got on her soap box about everything female and everything unjust.  Which was just about everything that existed, particularly men.  The year was 1975, and God was woman!  Hear me roar.  So said Helen Reddy in the 1972 classic  I Am Woman,” which became a feminist anthem.  Just ask Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Betty Friedan.fishbike

My mouth was bigger than I was.  Outside I was tiny, thin, feisty, smart, confident, and boisterous.  Inside I was huge, lonely, and had a hole the size of the Grand Canyon growing next to my heart.  Growing exponentially larger daily.  Denial can be as dangerous to one’s soul as an undetected tumor is to one’s body.  Though that’s for another day and another lifetime.  Books were my refuge and Black’s Law Dictionary the biggest one I could find.  If it was in print, in black and white, it must be accurate, it must be true, it must be authentic.  Have you never read The Old Testament?

We had so many women’s lib discussions my friends and I.  It was as if the Women’s Liberation Movement gave women a chance to exhale for the first time in five thousand years.  There are always a few non believers; though for most of us who do believe, we were sure she was female.  Finally, after millenniums our time had come.  Our voices would be heard, even listened to by the disbelievers.  We would surely be acknowledged and conclusively understood.

All my friends, except one – Robin Miller.  Robin used to say, not only was she positive that God was not female, she was certain to her core that God was a man.  When I asked her once why she was so sure that God was a man, the neo-natal nurse who worked the night shift in the emergency room of Long Beach Memorial for twenty years laughed out loud and said,  “If God were a woman we’d have been born with zippers.”

 

All rights reserved.  ©2009 by Sara Fryd

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Mother of the Bride

It takes courage to stand tallmother of the bride

          when we feel our wounds so visible

          worried that all will witness our pain…

Courage and bravery…

          strength beyond words.

You present yourself with such grace

          with such dignity, head held high

          turning your face to the light

          letting the sun warm your soul

          knowing that you have…

God’s blessings at your finger tips.

For God lives next to a rose bush. 

Every prayer a new rose.

Every hurtful thought a thorn.

If we are willing…

          we replace our hurtful thoughts

          with thoughts of joy.

We can carry with us

          the strength of the thorn

          the beauty of the rose

And we are never, ever alone.

All rights reserved.  ©2009 by Sara Fryd

*Note:  Years ago I was invited to a friends wedding and advised in advance that the Mother of the Bride had recently been left for a younger women.  The Father was coming to his daughter’s wedding with his new bride.  I included this poem with a thank you note for inviting me.

The Felon Across the Street

Why is it that some grown-ups believe that hitting, spanking, beating children or animals teaches them anything at all?  Children and animals learn two things from that experience.  Not to trust you and to get as far away from you as possible when ever possible.

Hazel Davis must be dead for sure, unless she’s 115 years old, though I doubt someone so mean would still be alive.  Wishful thinking, I guess.  That she was born without a heart is a given.  So is the fact that she was a teacher of young children.  What she taught was fear.  She must have been a felon in another life, because in this life school was prison, and she was the warden.

I was a frightened tiny eight-year-old in Ms. Davis’s third grade class May 1953.  Fifty-six years later Aunt Judy drove me by her house last week to say goodbye to the awful memory of her.  It never occurred to me to drive by alone.  Her house was across the street from our first real home in America.  The mid-Phoenix neighborhood was poor, dingy, and small just a mile or so South of Osborn Road and Central Avenue.  However,  compared to a refugee camp in Munich, it was the American Dream as created by my Father, the house painter, complete with a huge tree for climbing in the front yard.

I sat in the car starring at both houses remembering not the bruised black and blue knuckles, but the embarrassment of being hit by my third grade teacher with a yardstick in front of the entire class my first day at my new school. 

Sheldon Kopp wrote an Eschatological Laundry List in If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him.  Number 25 is “Childhood is a nightmare.”  Dr. Kopp was right.  We had only been in America three years; this was my third school.  I had to leave my beloved Mrs. Dye and  move to Osborn a month before the end of the school year. 

My parents bought their first house moving me from a tiny school of a hundred children to a gigantic monstrosity at the corner of Osborn and Central.  A school with 1000 children and half a dozen playgrounds.  The felony that caused the beating the first day at the new school, was getting lost on a playground too far from the classroom to hear the appropriate buzzer after lunch.  Different buzzers for different playgrounds, but Ms. Davis didn’t care.  She never even let me explain.  She marched me up in front of her desk, took out a 12 inch wooden ruler and beat my knuckles till I cried.

For years I sat in the last seat in the last row of every class I was in.  Then I met Bob Porter in eighth grade.  As usual I was in the last seat in the last row.  He sat in the seat in front of me.  We were voting for officers for our class.  He was running for Vice-President and I was running for Treasurer.  I tapped him on the shoulder and whispered, “Who are you voting for?”

He turned around and looked at me with a wrinkled forehead and question marks visible on the pupils of both eyes, “Myself, of course!  If you don’t think you are good enough to win, why should anyone else?”  Bob became VP of eighth grade of course.  I hear he’s is a black jack dealer in Vegas.

All rights reserved.  ©2009 by Sara Fryd