Sometimes my life feels like I’m constantly running in circles with Lysol in my hand: The floors are always sticky, sink’s full of dirty dishes, there are handprints on the walls – and the last time I checked, I had girls running around the house, but seeing the state of their bathroom, you would have second-guessed me. And then the laundry shoot – the spouse and the children call it a “magic shoot,” and why? Well, because the dirties magically disappear and then again, they magically reappear, back in their closets, clean and meticulously folded in a KonMari method.
The struggle is real and the struggle continues: About a week or two ago I’m frantically running around the house with a Swiffer – no surprise there – and I step on something that none of us parents ever wishes to step on. And let’s be honest, there were so many things I wanted to scream out loud at that moment, except when I looked closer at the guilty culprit – one of those Lego figurines, I couldn’t help but chuckle.
It was Queen Elsa, from Disney’s Frozen, proudly wearing her crown, except this Elsa isn’t wearing a dress, not even a skirt – and she’s not half naked like Wonder Woman either – this Elsa has pants on, and she’s dressed in a cape and a pair of bat wings, too! And I also found Batman cooking supper in the palace kitchen, Princess Anna on a heavy equipment, and Princess Ariel with a shield and a trident protecting the seas from those “bad pirate guys,” as it was later explained to me.
And though our scriptures don’t necessarily talk about princesses with bat wings and capes, there are plenty of examples in there of women and girls who have daringly stood up for themselves and for their bodies and for their right to be called daughters of the Creator. And there are examples in there of women and girls who have resisted oppression and domination, those who have fought injustice, those who would have been considered “bossy girls” and “nasty women” by our societal standards, simply because they have stood up to inequality, and they have challenged patriarchy and bias of those who believe they have power and control over women.
Yet the work is not yet finished: Women and girls of all races, of all ethnicities, of all cultural backgrounds, and of all colors continue to stand up for themselves, and for their daughters, and for each other until the present day. The month of March is nationally considered a Women’s History Month, a month when we purposely strive to learn about, and educate, and celebrate women and their many accomplishments. Even more so, we are challenged to actively participate. We are invited to join a long line of women who have changed the world for the better. We can be them! We can be them who have tirelessly labored for justice. We can be them who have been unshakeable in their love. And love is an unstoppable force; it recognizes that there are still those around us who deserve better.
Our faith tradition tirelessly proclaims that God is love. And that the love of Jesus is an extension of God’s love. And in this love, there can be no bias, no domination, and no privilege. The love that Jesus calls us to is incompatible with sexism or any other socially binding term.
Which is why I want my children, my community, my church and myself to recognize that our words, choices, and actions have consequences either for good or for malice. The question is, where does your and my allegiance lie? How will we show our commitment to the good, and in which ways will we stand with those who have yet to enjoy the same privileges as us? What will we do today, and the days after, to make a difference in this world?
Some of our words may be big and influential, like those of Susan B. Anthony, or Maya Angelou, or Malala. And some of our actions may be bold and daring and rebellious, like those of Shiphrah and Puah and Rosa Parks or Anne Frank. Yet others may be small and hardly noticeable, like keeping up with the piles of laundry. Or commuting to work in order to provide for our families. Or birthing children and raising them to become movers and shakers where others get complacent and too content with the status quo.
The choice is ours. But know that what God requires of all of us is to love mercy and to do justly.