By Rev. Aida Irizarry Fernández
Happy Women’s History Month! It isn’t that interesting that our calendars now have not one day, like Presidents Day or Labor Day, but a whole month to acknowledge the contributions that women have made through the millennium? I celebrate women every day of the year, every year!
All my life I have been surrounded by strong, determined, indomitable faithful women who taught me that each one of us is created as a unique beautiful child of the living God! My mother, my grandmother, my daughter, my granddaughters, my friends, my teachers, my mentors, even my enemies were and are women who may have not won all battles, but certainly stood their ground in the face of injustice.
The women in my life have also taught me to be aware of how easy we are seduced by the “to do” list, totally forgetting the “to be” gift. Let me share one simple example,
“Mom, I have a game tonight. Can you come?”
“Umm, honey, I have an important church council meeting to…” Even before I finish the sentence the loud response rushed my way.
“MOM, WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT, THE MEETING OR ME?” Once again I am reminded that God gave me this awesome gift of being a grandmother! Yes, you can guess what happened next: I went to the game. There will be many more meetings, but every game, every recital, every tear wiped is a unique opportunity to be a grandmother, a mother, a friend.
My heart is filled with gratitude for all those women, “mujeres,” who have changed history because they learned how to be free from the worries, the resentments, the perfections, the lethargy, the isolation, the frustrations, the fears, the fatigue, the doubts, the compulsions, the bitterness, and the annoyance that seem to accompany the “to do” list imposed by culture, politics, and religion.
Thanks to God for Eve, who dared to dream outside the box of paradise and for the nameless woman who broke all conventional etiquette of their time so she could anoint her beloved with her alabaster jar. Thanks to God for Sojourner Truth, for whom the chains of slavery couldn’t tame her battle for truth and justice. Thanks to God for Antoinette Brown Blackwell, a trailblazer who by her ordination challenged the ecclesiastical protestant mentality about ordaining women in America. Gracias a Dios for Sonia Sotomayor who, despite the ugly face of racism, sits today on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thanks to God for women who let the wonderful person God created in them be free. We are indeed free to fight, to challenge, to cry, to trust, to forgive, to give, to hope, to hug, to love, to tease, to test, to praise, to pray, to sing, to sigh, to smile, and to dance, because every day is a celebration!
Aida Irizarry Fernández is an ordained elder of the New England Conference currently serving Hope UMC in Belchertown, MA. Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, she and her husband of 37 years have three adult children and five grandchildren. Aida loves to play with her little ones, contemplate nature, journal, read, travel and watch good science fiction movies.