My day to day life is a little disordered right now…book proposals unwritten, laundry unfolded, children unfed. (Strike that last one. The kids were just fed. They had pb&j on crackers for dinner, thank you very much.) But my head is where it usually is, stretching up until it cracks the top off of our house. Bricks crumble, plaster falls and that old roof is just a hat with shingles. And I think, “Maybe that’s all it ever was?”, and then wonder briefly if the roof on my head will still protect my children from the rain. My neck continues pushing upward, until all I see is black and bright and all I breathe is stardust and when I look below me I can see what I knew and in the space that surrounds me I can feel what I don’t know.
(Here’s the part where I want to make a pun about it being a heady experience…but I won’t. You’re welcome.)
Last night, I went to a beautiful, lovely, inspiring panel on theology within my faith tradition. Within my faith tradition. Those are words I use when I am trying to make my message applicable to people of all faiths. But this? Some of this might belong exclusively to me in my tradition, to the individual lights that carve my individual world out of the darkness. So. I’ll be more clear. I went to a beautiful, lovely, inspiring panel on the place theology has within Mormonism.
There was so much said that relieved me, that fed me, that enlightened me. It was empowering and elevating. I was lucky to be there. It changed the way I will teach the children and it changed the way I will ask God to teach me.
There were two moments when my throat closed and my heart beat and I wanted to raise my hand but didn’t know if I would use the proper words. And really, It was probably not the time or place. Most of my impressions were tangental to the discussion. And besides, it’s hard to raise your hand in a room of people with letters after their name where you have none and say, “I’ve got a feeling.”
So I’ll say it here.
I’ve got a feeling.
I’ve got a feeling that theology matters because the questions we ask our sacred texts are nearly as important as the answers they give.
I’ve got a feeling that while the canon, and the documents that support it, may change over the years - while this may be par for the course - we’ve got a big problem if many of those changes work to put women in the place a narrative would have them rather than the place God would have them. We do not have to trust change that obscures truth or heritage.
I’ve got a feeling that I need women to plant their feet on the ashes of their hearthstones and declare themselves priestesses of their working temples, acolytes of our God.
I’ve got a feeling there are plenty dirtying their soles doing just that in the present, the past and the future.
I’ve got a feeling that woman labors until we are each of us born of her in a flood of water and blood and spirit. And I wonder, I wonder, I wonder how this is often lost as a sign and a token and an ordinance and a covenant and a marker of She Who Is Holy and She Who Can Speak and We Who Should Listen.
I’ve got a feeling that my sisters - the women who gather round tables after children have gone to bed, the women who ask, “You too?” on quiet car rides after long talks, the women who read and pray and study and nurture and ache and bleed and burn and balm - have really been prophetesses and priestesses all along.
I’ve got a feeling that when rights are lost, wrongs are embraced.
I’ve got a feeling that there is something disquieting about the smug knowing we wink at the women who heal with oils. I know! Those oils - the ones that are tied up with MLMs, that lamentable scourge of Mormon culture. I know! The women who would cure illness with lavender. Between you and me, I don’t really believe in all that stuff, either. (And this is all between us, isn’t it?) At my worst, I’ve laughed too. And then, at my best, I’ve cried. Do you remember, dear brothers and sisters? That there was a time when we women were instructed to heal with the Holy Anointing Oil? Has it occurred to none of us that maybe our sisters bathe their children with lavender because some ancestral memory moves their hands from child to oil and back to child again? And that a religion that began by embracing folkways cannot purge them - or the women who would extract power from them - as easily as we all hoped? Why did we hope for that? What if we gave our sisters the Oil of Her Tree back? What healing would happen then?
I’ve got a feeling that I could be all wrong about all sorts of things and that is all right.
I’ve got a feeling that I am safe with my God and safe with your God too.
I’ve got a feeling that my Mormonism - my truth, my pull into the eternities, my push into the present - cannot, should not be separated from yours. That we can do this together, that we must do this together, that our dissonance makes a wild noise heavenly beings will tune until we match their celestial pitch.
I’ve got a feeling that we can decide there are some truths worth shattering over or we can decide there are some comforts worth building upon.
I’ve got a feeling that I am not going to be ashamed of my feelings anymore. That I am going to say the things the Spirit gives me with the authority of a daughter created in the likeness of her Mother.
I’ve got a feeling that I am going to plant my feet on the ashes of my hearthstone and raise my hands to God.
I’ve got a feeling that my birthright is my authority and my authority is my birthright.
I’ve got a feeling that maybe none of these feelings really matter. That the stardust will accumulate in my nostrils and the grass will grow up around my toes until I’ve forgotten about the blood that connects my head to my feet. I'll grow cold and still and quiet. And then. And then. Warmed by the fire I forgot I held in my hands, my heart will beat again. And I will finally know what I did not know.
I've got a feeling we are here to love and be loved and to forgive and be forgiven and from that truth all else will expand until there is enough space between the stars for every single one of us.
I've got a feeling.