Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In the World

Wow, look at me go! Two posts in two months. At this rate, I could write a whole novel... before I die...

So we have had some absolutely gorgeous weather recently, We had a big ol' rainstorm which then ushered in a weekend of mid-70s and sunny weather that has lasted until today. I have never enjoyed popping outside to take out the trash nearly so much as I did this morning. I even did it twice! (More due to my faulty memory than anything.)

I made the most of the beautiful weekend and went to a Darkon event down in Virginia with my friend Cas. Hubby has been traveling a lot for work lately, but God bless his company, they keep letting him come home for the weekend, and this was the last Darkon event I'm going to be able to make for at least a month, so after some hopeful pleading, Hubby consented to watching Baby so I could go. I had a blast of course. I'm developing a reputation as “the chick who brings cookies”-- because, let's face it, I'm not really good for much else!-- so I was able to share those around. I ended up hanging out in the “old dogs” camp, made up of a veteran mix of Elidor and Forgotten Ones, so instead of lazing around drinking booze or “role-playing” all day, we were patrolling around looking for fights, then took it easy and relaxed by the campfire at night. It was fun listening to these mid-thirties to mid-fifties guys talking about how Darkon used to be. You never really think of things like this having a history, but they really do, and it's a rich one. There are legends in the game that people still talk about, whether for their fighting prowess or ability to turn a witty phrase, and apparently there's also a lot of skill involved in the proper wielding of a blade (albeit a foam one), which probably explains why I get hit so much. Working on it! ::grumble::

Anyway, I'm back with a fresh set of bruises from that, and this morning I was just reading a blog a friend linked to on Facebook when I realized something:

Ever notice how much “good Christian women” look alike?

It's something that's been niggling at my subconscious for a while, but this morning it finally broke through. It seems every time I read a womens' Bible study or blog by a Christian woman, their bio and photo all look the same. Blond or blond-highlighted, thin but soft woman wearing a pantsuit or nice peacoat and scarf, with her hair nicely permed and her Sunday makeup on. She's smiling and sprightly, and never seems to be wearing glasses or overly large earrings (unless of course, they match perfectly with her other accessories) or have dreads, or be ethnic in any sense of the word. Her bio reads pretty much the same every time, too: loving wife, stay-at-home mom, writer, enjoys dogs, cooking, baking, maybe sewing, blogging, and playing with her fifteen wonderful children (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little bit now).

Do you see it? Or am I just being overly-sensitive? I never see anything about the Christian wife and mom who enjoys writing science-fiction, or playing D&D, or takes martial arts. Maybe I'm just a rarity among women in general, but it sort of saddens me that all these women seem to be interested only in the domestic affairs of their own households. Not that there's anything wrong with taking care of your home: I myself am a stay-at-home mom who likes to keep my house neat and tidy, and I love to bake like nobody's business.

Proverbs 31 even says “She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family, and portions for her female servants,” implying that a woman of noble character is, in part, one who is attentive to the affairs of her own household. But in the very next verse it also adds: “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard,” and, later, “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes” (Proverbs 31: 15, 16, 24, NIV)  Obviously this is not a woman who stays at home all day, but one who goes out into the world on a regular basis, buying, selling, trading, and interacting with others besides her own family and her MOPS group. Again, I'm not knocking MOPS or SAHMs or any of that: I'm just wondering why it is that Christian women, and the church in general, seem to feel this need to center women's lives around their homes and family, to the point that I have heard it preached from the pulpit that every mother should stay at home with their kids and not work (I am not even going to begin to address the economically privileged bias in that statement, or I'd be here all day). Yes, home and family are hugely important, but I've also seen cases of moms getting burnt out, and families being torn asunder by boredom that blossomed into sin, simply because mom didn't have anything else to focus on besides cleaning, cooking, and changing diapers.

I've experienced this phenomenon myself actually, and it used to drive me crazy and make me feel so guilty that I couldn't “be like other women” and just content myself with caring for my home and kid and husband. Why did I still long for excitement and social interaction and change? Those are things I should have left behind me in college, right? Well, once I finally started making a habit of getting out of the house and into things like Tai Chuan Do and Darkon and RPGs, I suddenly realized how much happier I was. A selfless life is a beautiful thing, but it's dangerous to mistake self-deprivation for selflessness. When I started trying to fit myself into a mold of what I thought the “good Christian woman” should be like, I was miserable. But when I finally threw away the mold and indulged in my nerdy, geeky, escapist passions with abandon, I found how much life truly can be a blessing. Yes, I still love being a mom, and having a home to care for, but you know what's so great about those things? Entertaining others in my home, whether with Saturday night Star Wars role plays, or Firefly movie nights. Introducing my daughter to playing with Daddy's toy lightsaber, and looking forward to the day when I can equip her with a foam short sword and have her charge into battle with mommy!

A life centered around one's family can easily become a life turned inward, I feel like. And if the command we have is to love our neighbors and go out and tell the world the Good News of Christ, I think the first most important part of that is getting out there and meeting people, and taking our families along with us for the ride!

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