In high school I had a friend (count ‘em: one) who was not LDS. He was a really interesting guy and we had a lot of long discussions about how we saw the world differently. I did, in fact, actually get him to read at least some of the Book of Mormon eventually—and he didn’t have a burning in the bosom. That threw me for a loop, but that’s another discussion for another time.
One of our most interesting discussion topics was the psychic lady he went to visit a few times. He swore up and down that this lady had a gift. In all of my adolescent surety about the gospel, I was perplexed. Could she have a gift? And, if so, did it necessarily have to come from Satan? And, if not, was she becoming evil because she charged people money to visit with her? Eric, knowing how dubious I was, and determined to prove something, took a tape recorder with him the next time he went to visit this lady and ASKED HER ABOUT ME. And then she proceeded to TELL HIM ABOUT ME. Really! She said things that really did apply to me, and they were more than just the “Oh, well, you could probably say that about anyone and have a good chance of it being true” kind of things. One thing I remember in particular was that she told him I had just gotten glasses (I had) but that I only needed them to read (true).
When I listened to the tape later, I was absolutely speechless.
Anyway, here’s the really interesting thing. Of course, he didn’t just ask her to tell him about me at the time—he asked her to foretell some things about me. She was quiet a long time, and then she said something like this:
“This girl has a pretty interesting life ahead of her. She will stay in her church, doing all the things that are expected of her. And then at some point something will happen that will really shake her up. Part of it will be a divorce. And out of all this turmoil she will rise, stronger than ever, and become an amazing person—truly a Woman To Be Reckoned With.”
So I think about that sometimes. Was she right? Did she have a gift? And, if so, CAN I COUNT MY BROKEN ENGAGEMENT AS THE DIVORCE PART? Because it WAS a time of great turmoil. It DID shake me up a lot. It completely turned upside down my understanding of who God is and what he wants for me. It was the biggest event, in terms of long-term effect on my development, that had—and has—ever happened to me. Can it count? Can it? Because I’m not interested in the divorce part. And I definitely like the idea of being a Woman To Be Reckoned With.
But, I admit, I don’t really feel like one, most of the time. In fact, I rarely even feel like a "woman." A woman is someone tall and dressed up that men write songs about. Me, I'm still a girl. In fact, a lot of the time, I'm still sort of shrinking inside like I’m still in seventh grade.
But. Once in a while, I feel the WTBRW come out.
Like the other day when my friend A was telling me about what happened in her Relief Society. It seems that a sweet, well-meaning sister had been asked to teach the RS lesson on Modesty from the Strength of Youth pamphlet. And in her zeal, she decided to use a few extra resources, including a recent article from the Church News and various other printed opinions of People Whose Opinion Should Carry Weight (according to her). According to A, Sweet Sister spent a long time on things like The Evil of Attending Church With Bare Legs and The Evil of Layering Two (not “too”) Tight T-Shirts That Are Not The Same Color. And then approving members of the audience raised their hands and described other evils like Attending The Temple Wearing Flip-Flops. It was when A told me about how Sweet Sister had another sister stand up next to her as a visual aid of what not to do (poor Visual Aid Sister was wearing a T-shirt and skirt to church) that I felt Woman-To-Be-Reckoned-With raising her proud head. Oh, honey, if I had been there. If I had been there.
So maybe that Woman is inside me. But maybe it’s good that I keep her buried most of the time. Hopefully she will come out when needed (like during renegade RS lessons and when I hear my kids being bullied) and then . . . hear me roar.
Wait a minute. I just realized something. Maybe I would feel more like a woman and less like a girl if I wore nylons to church in the summer and eliminated all T-shirts! You think? . . . .NAH!