But there are other days when it ain't so bad to be experienced, you know? When I was up at VTS, several of the young women clergy there shared their experiences of being demeaned, of being considered "less than" by virtue of their youth and gender, even by other clergywomen. it broke my heart. Some of them have been my teachers in some very powerful ways and have given me gifts that I have taken into my own ministry here and in the larger church. They deserve better.
It also reaffirmed for me the gift of age:
- I am no longer viewed as a sexual object as I was when I was younger. It often got in the way of good work. I can hold my own when someone says something inappropriate.
- I can sort out what is worth fighting and what is not.
- I have been dissed by powerful people and have survived and triumphed - thinking here of a time I was yelled at by a Senator on C-SPAN when I was testifying at a hearing, and the fact that he has faded into blessed obscurity and I am happily doing good work.
- I don't think dumb stuff is about me when it usually is not.
- I no longer fear saying I'm sorry when I have messed up, which is a frequent occurrence.
I'm not so sure how much wisdom and protection I offer, but I'm glad to be reaching a point in my life when I can test it out!