Thursday, February 14, 2013

2013.02.14 V-Day Excerpts

I came down to breakfast today to see two large red envelopes on the table. Love and humor cards from my beloved husband. Oops!  I forgot it was Valentine’s Day, and immediately justified myself by saying love was every day all year round.

Then, I went to my email and there was a beautiful e-card from a friend in Estonia where it is “Friends Day.” 

Then, three heart-shaped cookies arrived from another friend, theologian and professor at Boston College, who also sent an email with an article he’d written in 2005 in defense of Eve Ensler’ s Vagina Monologues, which students perform yearly at this Catholic college. It is as an educational experience, he contended—and more, it is empowering, even if it offends.

My oldest daughter’s beautiful blog post humbly and eloquently extolled the merits and complexities of maternal love for her two daughters. An “unrhythmic jaunty dance” she called it.

On today’s Writers’ Almanac, I read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s love poem to Robert Browning that begins,” How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” and ends “ If God choose, I shall love thee better after death.”

Now ..........I’m out the door to get a card—or three for my at-home Valentine.

Walking home with my cards in my pocket and love in my heart for my family, friends, God and my own self, I remembered my own V-experience. 

Of course, not everyone will think the Monologues is education or art, but most agree it is politics with a punch and a large dose of chutzpah.  

I performed a script in the V-Monologues when I was in Gloucester. It was to benefit the Coalition for the Prevention of Domestic Violence on which I then served.  My monologue was about a mid-life woman who went to a vagina workshop—in secret, in trepidation, and in hope. In the workshop, the woman discovered and explored her own wowser secrets while lying on her mat with a group of other women, all being instructed by a slim young chippy who probably had at least three vaginas, or clitorae:)  Anyway, I wore my clerical collar in the play, and added a line about the institutional Church and its need to discover its own vaginal power. Well, I didn’t say it quite that way, but it was clear that religion needed women and it mustn't dry up.

The parish I served got two new young women parishioners out of that show.  They sheepishly admitted that they came to the parish because they'd seen me in the Monologues. I was identified as an Episcopal priest in the playbill.  Also, a lesbian friend in my Yoga class brought her 90-year old mother to see the play, and after it the mother said to her daughter,  "Can we go to that church?" This is called V-evangelism. 

May I add that six women from the traditionally more conservative 8 a.m. liturgy sat in the front row!  Never heard a word from them,  but I saw a grin or two.  

Life is love, and there’s plenty of both left in all of us. Happy St. Valentine’s Day.