I’ve been reconnecting with old friends recently. People from our CLB and friends I’ve had for years but fell out of communication with. I spent two hours on the phone with one last night. I’ve known her since LightGirl was 6 months old. Until recently, our children grew up together. Now, hers are in public school and mine are homeschooled. So it’s a little more difficult. We’ve been through all sorts of hard times together, like when she almost died because of a tumor, but a miracle pregnancy saved her life. I’m one of the few adults who really know her oldest daughter. GoldenSmiles is not smiling these days. She’s having a tough time with adolesence. She’s experimenting with drugs and run away. I tried to drop a few words of grace into the situation, hoping that MerryLaughs will give her daughter some space. The last three or four years have been very hard on their family and GoldenSmiles has always stood in the gap emotionally … I think she’s just worn out.
Another friend reconnected with me recently. She had some old quilting things that she no longer needed and was giving them to the guild. We had a lovely chat. Her oldest daughter left home for college in the fall. Her son (who was the oldest) died when he was 12 of complications from cystic fibrosis … so he would be 20 now. Having her daughter go to college is an enormous victory for her. She was able to let go gradually and gracefully and their family, while never the same, is healthy. I was so very happy for her. But she kept saying that her daughter was, “… one of the Godliest young women I know.” This was something that made her happy and proud, so I nodded and smiled. There was a time when I thought I knew what that meant, but now I’m not so sure.
Then, I read this article (ht to Will Samson) about fathers and daughters so concerned with the daughters “purity” that they attended a Purity Ball. Maybe this is some of what my friend was talking about. I know that in other conversations I’ve recently had with old friends about this and that, I’ve realized how prevalent is the notion that husbands are in charge. We have friends who’s daughter is LightGirl’s age and I have no doubt that she and her father will attend a Purity Ball.
I have mixed feelings about this. I understand the notion behind it. The idea that fathers have a great deal more impact on the health and well being of their children than has been previously understood. I also understand the notion that there is a desire for the daughters to enter marriage as healthy and whole young women. I just can’t shake the idea that this route in some way further objectifies women and turns them into life-size beautiful Cabbage Patch dolls. If women are responsible adults, who are responsible for their behavior in other areas of their life, then they must also be responsible for this. The only path to responsibility lies in embracing who they are and how they came to be this way. Denial and giving the responsibility to someone else is no replacement for knowing and owning yourself and standing before God with the only covering that anyone needs: the mantle provided by Jesus.