healing and growing


even after having been settled into the married life for close to five years, I still have so many questions about what my vocation means, and what my womanhood means, and what humanity means. I think a lot about what it means to be a woman, what it really means, wanting to get past the arbitrary exterior stereotypes (e.g. women have long hair, women are soft-spoken, women cook well, women wear pastels), but I always end up musing on what it means to be simply human.

and maybe that's suitable, because in the first place (philosophy time) any ultimate interior distinctions between male and female can't be so great as to separate us into separate species; but also because it's hard to understand fully what woman is and even what I, the individual substance, without understanding what it is to be human, and what humanity was meant to be.

I was thinking about masculinity and Aragorn the other day, and how powerful and challenging it is that his kingship is not recognized in his prowess as a warrior, but in his ability to heal. "the hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known." and of course this is so manifestly Christlike as well, because Christ, in defiance of all expectations of what the Messiah would be, didn't come to earth to conquer oppressors by the sword, but to the heal the wounds of humanity through His death and resurrection.

it's interesting to read it in conjunction with Eowyn's awakening to her vocation, so to speak, because so often the power of her movement from yearning for battle to yearning to grow and heal is reduced to an agenda that suggests that she moved from trying to operate in what is properly a male sphere to accepting her role as female. to me it seems like she moved towards embracing what humanity as a whole is meant to be: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks."

her journey from warrior to gardener and healer is one that Faramir accompanies her on, and one that is paralleled by Aragorn, whose kingship is revealed through his healing hands, and is further confirmed when he plants a sapling in high places and "the Tree that was withered [is] renewed," as the Eagles sang.

Christ is the king-healer, but His Mother Mary, through her great fiat, has also tilled the earth and brought the healing of redemption upon it, as Hildegard von Bingen expressed so beautifully in her song O clarissima


O radiant bright, 
O mother of a holy medicine, 
Your ointments through your holy Son 
you’ve poured upon the plangent wounds of death, 
by Eve constructed as torture chambers of the soul. 
This death you have destroyed by building life.

when humanity becomes what it was intended to be, male and female, it is not a warrior, but a gardener. it was in the garden that man was put, to till and to keep it, with woman by his side, and it was in that setting that they walked and spoke with God.

the decision to abandon battle for the life of the gardener and a healer mirrors both a return to humanity as God created us in the beginning and a decision to participate with Christ in His redemptive healing of humanity.

and this is the part where I put in a reminder that I'm not really writing ordered and cohesive essays here, but sort of musing aloud. I don't know where this ends or what precisely it means when it comes to how I need to live out my humanity and vocation. but here in our recently snow-graced woods, it's what I'm thinking on.

2 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing it.

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  2. Oh my, I love these musings so much! If only we spent more time, as a culture and society, pondering these types of truths and being healers, instead of arguing about the many petty things that are so frequently made the focus.

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