I wish I could say I was absent from the blog because I wanted to concentrate on Lent, bla bla bla.
But that wouldn't be true. In fact I could say that unusually for me this year, my spiritual approach to Lent was far from ideal. But, and I think my Guardian angel must have had something to do with this (thank you, Guardian Angel!) it was a Grace-filled end to the Lenten season for me.
Isn't it interesting that when we need it the most, we get Grace?
Speaking of Guardian angels, I was at a wedding recently, and the celebrant priest made this joke:
A man was walking through his neighbourhood when he came to a bridge over a river. Suddenly, a voice said to him: 'Stop! Don't step onto the bridge!' He looked around - no-one was there. But he stopped. All of a sudden, the bridge collapsed. He breathed a sigh of relief as he realised his life had just been saved.
He carried on walking. When he got to the foot of a mountain still with snow on it, again a voice said to him, 'Stop! Don't take another step!' He stood still. Then a mighty avalanche came crashing down just ahead of him. Again he breathed a sigh of relief as he realised that once again, his life had been saved. He carried on walking through the woods. Again the voice warned him just as he was walking under a particular tree. Seconds later, the tree fell down missing him by inches.
At this point, he wondered who was talking to him and saving his life. He said out loud, 'who are you? Identify yourself!'
The voice replied, 'I am your Guardian angel. I am always here for you.'
The man replied, 'You are my Guardian angel? Always here for me? Where were you when I got married?'
Very drole :-)
Not quite sure why men feel that marriage/relationship is such a trial for them only. Where did they get that idea?
Just heard this morning that Percy Sledge died. May he rest in peace.
Percy Sledge is of course famous for this song - all about how men suffer when in love:
Aw, poor Darlings/lovable rogues :-)
Today's post is about a curious phenomenon I have been thinking about for a while. The impetus for this come from two separate incidents. The first is a commenter on another blog who linked to a Heartiste post about a black man (this is relevant) who when confronted and indeed inappropriately and unjustifiably assaulted by a woman (she happened to be white - not relevant), exclaimed, 'Who bitch dis is?!'
Translation into normal English: Whose woman is this?
Now, for many modern women, this display of 'territorialism' may be unpalatable, but I have to say that I am very familiar with this phenomenon - more than is usual for a woman of my era and location.
The notion that every woman belongs to a man is something I have been immersed in from childhood, and I very much took it for granted. But I am surprised to learn that it is not necessarily a positive concept in our western culture.
This is undoubtedly a problem when it comes to male-female interaction.
It is significant that the man in question in this scenario is black. I have many links to West Africa, and I know that this is very much the mindset there. Actually, this is the mindset any where in the world other than Caucasian America. Even in Europe - especially in Europe.
A girl belongs to her father until she marries, at which point she belongs to her husband.
But in our present culture where a father is not around/has been removed from the household, this sense of belonging is not imprinted in a girl's mind from birth. What a shame!
For she will seek this, by hook or by crook, in much the same way some boys seek a father-figure through gang culture.
All sorts of psychological complications ensue when a girl does not get her fair share of this 'sense of belonging', I have discovered. This leads to potential mayhem in her life. Not only is this sequence of events well documented, but also more and more of us are witnessing this in front of our very eyes, are we not?
And yet, Africans and other 'backward people', including southern Europeans have had this covered, for literally ages.
I have seen this play out in hilarious encounters when I have witnessed old African women try to work out who a stranger female is by linking her to some man that they themselves know. This is how they compute that this stranger female is 'welcome' into the herd. :-)
I live in the mountains of Eastern Switzerland. Where I live is a mainly German-speaking area, but there are many old Italian mountain families here too.
Their customs are delightful to behold, especially when seen 'in the wild', untainted by feminism. It is wonderful to see.
I was hanging out with a friend of mine when we bumped into an old lady she knows from her village in another mountainous region of Switzerland which is exclusively Italian-speaking. The old lady was curious about me, as I am relatively newly-established here.
She regarded my friend with a curious look, and regarding me sideways, she asked my friend who I was.
My friend answered with my first name, stating I was a friend.
The old lady was far from satisfied with the answer my friend had given. In a move reminiscent of similarly aged women in any african country, she asked the heavily-loaded question:
To whom does she belong?
Meaning, to which man does she belong? My first name on its own was meaningless to this woman.
I silently stood there as my friend gave the necessary genealogy to finally satisfy this old lady. In a hilarious five minutes where I felt like I was in a court for some wrong-doing, my friend first tried giving my surname.
Nope, this woman did not know the particular family to which I belonged, although she knew several other families with the same surname, which happens to be a common surname round here.
She didn't know my husband, although she came from his village.
With the skills of someone used to this sort of interrogation, my friend name-dropped my brother-in-law , who is a generally well-known figure.
Nope, didn't know him either.
My chances of acceptance into the 'clan' were looking bleak.
My friend, in an expert move normally associated with Russian chess players, finally made the link that gave the winning strike.
It turns out that Old Lady was friends with the wife of the brother of the wife of the brother of my husband.
Hallelujah, I was IN!!!
It took many links to finally 'place' me, but finally, I was IN!!!
Now she had a 'box' in her mind in which to categorise me. I was now officially 'recognised'.
It was an interesting experience for me, in that I felt like I had come through some sort of 'initiation' ceremony.
I (I regret this, lol) relayed this story to a friend, who doesn't hold the rigidly traditional values I hold, and she was absolutely horrified.
I did not and do not understand her horror. She saw this incident as 'oppression' for me (for had I been a man, I wouldn't have been scrutinised so much. My surname would have been enough, for a man is valued on his own name only), but I disagree with her.
What my friend fails to realise is that a man must make his name (read: reputation) on which he and his family rely, to advance in society. A woman need only associate herself with a good family, and she is safe. Her own reputation is judged differently, and in a traditional society like this, a woman is mainly judged on her sexual reputation.
If 'so-and-so' was caught in a compromising position with a man to whom she was not married, the gossip alone would drive her out of town and three generations later, they would still be talking about her - that sort of thing.
The relevance of all this for me, is that fatherhood (and therefore this 'sense of belonging' felt by young unmarried women) is indeed sacred. And the relevance specifically to the SMP is that indeed it is impossible to 'belong' to a husband when one never experienced the 'belonging' to a father. The latter is 'practice' for the former.
In many such traditional entities, it is said that a father is the source of the soul of his child, and the mother is the source of the heart.
A fatherless child is therefore akin to a soul-less person.
Harsh? Oh yes. Which is why deliberately denying fatherhood to a child, by his own mother is indeed a cruel thing. A man who also denies his child access to his mother is also creating a child who is missing his heart. That can't be good either.
It is also why I think in these same traditional societies, the 'taking on of the name of the father' (in the event of a child's parents not being married) is so important. It is a great insult to the child if his father does not give him his name in many african cultures, for example.
Similarly, the taking on of the name of a husband is fundamental to marriage, in my opinion. This is why I am dead against wives not taking on their husband's surname. It screams 'division' as opposed to 'harmony' from the get-go and is a signal this will not be a fulfilled/constructive union. It also signifies an absence of 'belonging'. In the example above with the old lady, my maiden name would have been just as useless to Old Lady as my first name. A woman's maiden name is no longer relevant, except in rare circumstances where it needs to be 'dug' out for a specific purpose, eg. a paternal legacy that wasn't dealt with pre-marriage.
What an eye-opening experience for me. Old Lady taught me a big lesson which I think is getting lost more and more in our modern culture. A shame, because it is quite a beautiful lesson.
I think those who adhere to these general principles are more 'settled' in their skins than those who choose to reinvent the wheel at every opportunity.
I have said many times before. I am not fussy from whence cometh my lessons. 'To whom does she belong?' is so much more refined than 'Who bitch dis is?' but to me, the lesson is more important than the grammar.
Interesting that shortly after I came across that blog post by Heartiste, I actually came face -to-face with the phenomenon he described. Art imitating life, or the other way round. :-)