But what might a woman say about church as she? What might a woman say about the church as body and bride? Perhaps she would speak of the way a regular body moves through the world—always changing, never perfect—capable of nurturing life, not simply through the womb, but through hands, feet, eyes, voice and brain. Every part is sacred. Every part has a function. Perhaps she would speak of impossible expectations and all the time she’s wasted trying to contort herself into the shape of those amorphous silhouettes that flit from magazines and billboards into her mind. Or of this screwed-up notion of purity as a status, as something awarded by men with tests and checklists and the power to give it and take it away. Perhaps she would speak of the surprise of seeing herself—flaws and all—in the mirror on her wedding day. Or of the reality that with new life comes swollen breasts, dry heaves, dirty diapers, snotty noses, late-night arguments and a whole army of new dangers and fears she never even considered before because life-giving isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but it’s a thousand times more beautiful. Perhaps she would talk about being underestimated, about surprising people and surprising herself. Or about how there are moments when her own strength startles her and moments when her weakness—her forgetfulness, her fear, her exhaustion—unnerve her. Maybe she would tell of the time, in the mountains with bare feet on the ground, she stood tall and wise and felt every cell in her body smile in assent as she inhaled and exhaled and in one loud second realized, I’m alive! I’m enfleshed! only to forget it the next. Or maybe she would explain how none of the categories created for her sum her up or capture her essence.
Rachel Held Evans
FatherMichael has entered the room Wildflower: Ah don’t tell me you’re through a divorce yourself Father? SureOne: Don’t be silly Wildflower, have a bit of respect! He’s here for the ceremony. Wildflower: I know that. I was just trying to lighten the atmosphere. FatherMichael: So have the loving couple arrived yet? SureOne: No but it’s customary for the bride to be late. FatherMichael: Well is the groom here? SingleSam has entered the room Wildflower: Here he is now. Hello there SingleSam. I think this is the first time ever that both the bride and groom will have to change their names. SingleSam: Hello all. Buttercup: Where’s the bride? LonelyLady: Probably fixing her makeup. Wildflower: Oh don’t be silly. No one can even see her. LonelyLady: SingleSam can see her. SureOne: She’s not doing her makeup; she’s supposed to keep the groom waiting. SingleSam: No she’s right here on the laptop beside me. She’s just having problems with her password logging in. SureOne: Doomed from the start.Divorced_1 has entered the roomWildflower: Wahoo! Here comes the bride, all dressed in . . . SingleSam: Black. Wildflower: How charming. Buttercup: She’s right to wear black. Divorced_1: What’s wrong with misery guts today? LonelyLady: She found a letter from Alex that was written 12 years ago proclaiming his love for her and she doesn’t know what to do. Divorced_1: Here’s a word of advice. Get over it, he’s married. Now let’s focus the attention on me for a change. SoOverHim has entered the room FatherMichael: OK let’s begin. We are gathered here online today to witness the marriage of SingleSam (soon to be Sam) and Divorced_1 (soon to be Married_1). SoOverHim: WHAT?? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? THIS IS A MARRIAGE CEREMONY IN A DIVORCED PEOPLE CHAT ROOM?? Wildflower: Uh-oh, looks like we got ourselves a gate crasher here. Excuse me can we see your wedding invite please? Divorced_1: Ha ha.SoOverHim: YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY? YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK, COMING IN HERE AND TRYING TO UPSET OTHERS WHO ARE GENUINELY TROUBLED. Buttercup: Oh we are genuinely troubled alright. And could you please STOP SHOUTING. LonelyLady: You see SoOverHim, this is where SingleSam and Divorced_1 met for the first time. SoOverHim: OH I HAVE SEEN IT ALL NOW! Buttercup: Sshh! SoOverHim: Sorry. Mind if I stick around? Divorced_1: Sure grab a pew; just don’t trip over my train. Wildflower: Ha ha. FatherMichael: OK we should get on with this; I don’t want to be late for my 2 o’clock. First I have to ask, is there anyone in here who thinks there is any reason why these two should not be married? LonelyLady: Yes. SureOne: I could give more than one reason.Buttercup: Hell yes. SoOverHim: DON’T DO IT! FatherMichael: Well I’m afraid this has put me in a very tricky predicament. Divorced_1: Father we are in a divorced chat room, of course they all object to marriage. Can we get on with it? FatherMichael: Certainly. Do you Sam take Penelope to be your lawful wedded wife? SingleSam: I do. FatherMichael: Do you Penelope take Sam to be your lawful wedded husband? Divorced_1: I do (yeah, yeah my name is Penelope). FatherMichael: You have already e-mailed your vows to me so by the online power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride. Now if the witnesses could click on the icon to the right of the screen they will find a form to type their names, addresses and phone numbers. Once that’s filled in just e-mail it off to me. I’ll be off now. Congratulations again. FatherMichael has left the room Wildflower: Congrats Sam and Penelope! Divorced_1: Thanks girls for being here. SoOverHim: Freaks. SoOverHim has left the room
Cecelia Ahern
I am seeing someone.It gets quiet enough to hear our breathing.You're dating someone? Aidan asks, sitting back down in my chair. Nadia retakes her spot on my mattress.I glance down at my hands, feeling my cheeks redden. Not dating, really. It's more like I have feelings I haven't told her about yet.Do we know her?I shake my head.Who is she? Nadia inquires. I glance up and instantly hate the look of rejection on her face,The lies flow out of me too easily. Her name's Ivy. She lives over in Harraway with her parents.Is she our age?Yeah. She's only a year older. Try a lot older. I am answering myself again.An older woman? Awesome! What does she look like?I close my eyes as I remember her human form from my dreams. She's about my height, has long white-blond hair and green eyes. Ivy's very beautiful. Beautiful? More like drop-dead gorgeous. She sounds like it. Aidan leans back, putting his hands behind his head. So where's you meet her?At the hospital in Harraway. Ivy does her service hours there.How come we never saw her?You missed each other. She came there at different hours than you guys did.Nadia sticks her hands up and stretches. What did you two do?Talk. Just what we do now. Ivy gave me her phone number and email before I left.Have you talked to her since?Practically every day. She's a wonderful person. You guys would like her. That or you would run away in terror. So let me get this straight. Aidan scrunches up his face as he thinks everything over. The reason that you're not gag over Melanie anymore is because of some older chick you met in the hospital?Yep.Aidan lets out a long, low whistle. Damn. If she's good enough to kick Melanie off the love pedestal, she has to be worth going after.I nod. Yeah. Ivy is. I...I think I like her.If this were a cartoon, Nadia would have a rain cloud over her head—she looks that bashed from my news.
Colleen Boyd