Thursday, April 26, 2012

Road Trippin' with River, Days 4 & 5: Speak Upon The Ashes.

Yesterday we left Rome, GA for Chattanooga, TN. First stop, Lookout Caverns and Ruby Falls. The tour was guided which kept River and I from any real mischief. Boring. But River enjoyed the sights very, very much in spite of the guard rails and the ever-watchful eyes.

I was distracted a bit, still am today, by thoughts of Haiti and her people. Especially her women. The number of victims of gender-based violence there makes my heart ache. And where yesterday the sky was bright and blue and yes and possible, today it sulked and brooded and dampened everything (even threw a little tantrum with hail). I adore the rain, but today...???? Back at the hotel I've been looking through the pictures I took in Haiti. I want you to meet some of the beautiful kids from the Lamb Center where I will be working the next 3 months. The children there are so amazing. So full of tenderness and joy. I am so excited to get to spend more time with them. To see them safe in their new home.

Today I have been reading the biography of Sojourner Truth the fiery abolitionist, preacher and woman's rights activist. She was born Isabella Baumfree and into slavery in 1797 and was sold at least three times. She had 5 children from a forced marriage and fled to freedom a year before New York emancipated all slaves when her last master reneged on a promise to free her early. 

She once beautifully and powerfully ranted: 

"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne five children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?"

I am thinking that this women who announced that she wasn't ever going to die instead was "going home like a shooting star", would be such a powerful voice in Haiti and anywhere else women find themselves enslaved and oppressed. 

Sojourner Truth
Her faith made her fearless. She proclaimed "I feel safe in the midst of my enemies, for the truth is all powerful and will prevail." She trusted God implicitly. His sovereignty, His power. She once rebuked Fredrick Douglas for suggesting that slaves use violence to acquire their freedom. Sojourner chided, "Be careful Fredrick, is God Dead?"

She was no respecter of persons and her tongue was as sharp as her wit and ever able to puncture the most pretentious men of her day. She once castigated a "minister" for his sexism which he tried to justify with scripture.

"Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him."

"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down, these women together ought to be able to turn it right again." 

One day, while preparing for a speech she was told of a threat that the building would be burned down if she spoke there.  Sojourner spoke quietly in humble defiance, "Then I will speak upon the ashes."

Wow. My kinda woman.

Almost 10:30 here and River is nestling into a comforter cocoon. Sci-fi on his laptop and the Battle Hymn of the Republic drifts sleepily from his whistling lips. He has not stopped whistling it or singing it for 4 days now. Oh my.

But I am not ready for sleep. My mind is reeling, my heart so very heavy thinking about a report out of Egypt where new laws would give men the right to violate their wives after they are deceased. State sanctioned necrophilia. I am desperately hoping and praying that those men in Egypt's parliament, those who hold this legislation's fate in their hands, will consider the prospect of a man having sex with their daughters after they are dead and send this law back to the pit of hell where it came from.  

Please pray for the women of Egypt tonight. For the daughters. Please remember the millions of women enslaved tonight. Pray for freedom, for justice, for hope that they might hold on a little longer. Until God can raise up rescuers. 

Til tomorrow then...


  1. 4 days straight!? I think that should be your theme song. Haha. On a more serious note, I love those quotes you've included. So good.

    1. Haha. He's such a mess. He was monologuing from Shakespeare's Tempest a thousand feet underground. Prospero I think.

      Sojourner Truth was a firecracker! I love that she did not suffer fools gladly! Oh to be that bold...haha