From “Me and You and Mom”




by Kathe Schaaf


And then there was a day when I was a girl

when I could not help but notice

(as all little girls

must notice

if only for a moment)

that God did not appear to be a woman,

not a Mother;

that God did not offer a lap

where I could come for comfort.



It did not occur to me then to question

what kind of God this must be,

but only served to confirm

what I already had observed:

that to be a woman

did not seem to be a place of power;

that to be a woman

did not seem to offer a divine place to stand;

that to be a woman

somehow left me

further from God.


(But not really…)


I listened carefully to the prayers

and the hymns

and the sermons

in the church of my childhood,

and I could find no evidence

that I was not,

because I was female,


further from God.

Every parable,

every story,

seemed to confirm

what I already knew,

what the dragons whispered

from the secret cave

deep within me:

I was not only a poor miserable sinner

but a woman,

and she was the biggest sinner of all,

the original sinner.



And there was no lap

where I could come

for comfort

in the face of that.



Yet somehow,


in the far distance,

I kept hearing a maternal voice,

that would whisper



subtle clues

and sacred mysteries.

If I listened,

I could find myself

from time to time

in the middle of a miracle

that could take my breathe away.

If I listened,

I could discern

a delicate and graceful pattern

in the ebb and flow of my life.

If I listened,

I could end up

both on the edge

of my own learning and

nestled in a lap

where I felt comfort.



This was a Mother,

a miracle of a Mother,

who exhaled courage

and had no use for fear;

who would maintain

loving eye contact

in the face of all my rambling stories;

who celebrated me

and urged me to be big.

This was a Mother,

who was in me


I would let her be.


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