Saturday, February 18, 2012

Silenced by Fear

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden
that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark
will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered
in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
—Luke 12:2-3 NIV

Jesus is talking to the apostles, warning against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

A couple days ago, in writing Little Red Riding Hood, I felt uneasy about exposing the duplicity of my mentor, my teacher, my father's friend, smudging his reputation in the court of public opinion. The man is dead. I am friends with his widow. I'd rather she didn't know. There is risk is telling my story. I am afraid.

Fear kept me silent for decades.

How many other girls' voices were silenced by fear?

Our family folklore reveals that my aunt(s) found Elvis oh so dreamy! Was my grandmother shocked by Elvis Presley, the perceived indecency in the way he moved? The producers of the Ed Sullivan Show were definitely concerned, instructing the camera man to shoot Elvis from the waist up during Don't Be Cruel, a live television broadcast.

As a teen, I remember my mother standing in our shag-carpeted living room, shouting up the stairway, telling me to turn that noise down as I listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd What's Your Name. In my senior year of high school I taught my upper body to shimmy, practiced for hours before our pom pon squad (dance team) performed Gimme Three Steps at halftime during a boys' basketball game.

The year my son was born a coworker and mother of teen girls, a woman who shared her office with me, is offended by Bruce Springsteen, "Hey, little girl is your daddy home..." more.

This morning as I tune to music from the 1950s and '60s, I am offended by The Big Bobber, the lyrics to Chantilly Lace.

As more and more women reveal their stories
to me, I realize it is not the music and lyrics we needed to fear, but the behavior of our mothers' husbands, brothers, fathers and friends - and our mothers' silent complicity, the deadly prison cell Shhh. Don't tell.

As I listen to the music, I recall my grandmother's catty comments about my beautiful cousin, a radiant Christmas bride - comments not-so-quietly whispered in the vestibule of the church - and I come back to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

My maternal genealogy remains unpublished out of respect for my grandmother, or is it fear? Will I be cruel in revealing it here?

In our humanity, we want to paint ourselves as innocent and good, splash others as fully evil. No one person is fully good or evil, in our brokenness we are a duplicitous combination of both, split right down the middle from our foreheads to the soles of our feet.

You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; 
the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.  
Luke 12:1-3 excerpt MSG

Photo Credit


Lori said...

".... No one person is fully good or evil, in our brokenness we are a duplicitous combination of both, split right down the middle from our foreheads to the soles of our feet."

Amen rw. This is the place where we can finally see with Jesus' eyes and heart and learn to extend authentic forgiveness and mercy - both to others and to ourselves.

What a painful (and healing?) point in your journey; thank you for your open-ness in sharing it.

Lori said...

PS - just fyi for you and others wanting to post comments ... I tried multiple times to post a comment using my wordpess account but the captcha wouldn't let me through.

However, it worked beautifully when I switched to simply using name/url for my identity.

Rw said...

Lori ~ thank you for taking such good care of me! Rw