Sharing Sisterhood Across the Globe

Sister to Sister is a place to renew for women of all cultures, faiths and races. Coretta Scott King said, "Women, if the soul of the Nation is to be saved, I believe we must become its soul." I would like to add "Earth" instead of "Nation." We need to widen the borders and challenge the world to become a better place. Join the conversation.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Women We Are ...

On a Mission of Light and Love.
video

A Photo Essay of Women by P.K. McCary
Music by Anjali Naja
My friend and sister, Anjali Naja, has brought so much joy to my life with her songs. Her voice has always mesmerized me, bringing light and love to my heart. The first time I heard Women We Are, I knew this was a poignant reminder of all the reasons I enjoy being a woman, but also all the ways in which I am of value to the world. As a woman, my mission is to bring light and love to the world, to bring joy to the lives of others and listening when you need a friend. This photo essay captures the heart of pictures I have taken over the last two years. There are many more, but these photos bring to mind spiritual warriors of love, lifting up our world.
     These are my sisters. Some are known very well and others I have just met, but we are all on this mission of light and love. Listen to the words. Think of the women you know. Your mothers, your sisters--your friends. We can be the voices of fire for those who cannot speak and we can lift each other up. And, as your sister, I have a plan--a request, actually.
     Many of you know the work I have done with URI for more than 10 years--actually 13! Time flies when you're working hard. My greatest wish has always been to become less than one degree of separation from my sisters of the heart. I can't get you all together, but I have a close second to that. I'm asking that you do this. You can do it one time or you can do over time, but here's my request.
     The Request
     Make a date with 7 women, women that you don't know very well, but have met. These women should be from two faiths different than your own. Invite them over for coffee or even a meal. Take it slow or since I know some of you, boldly lead. In your invitation, ask them to come and just share some time with you.  Be intentional in your efforts to just meet. Now, I could offer a couple of models for you, but here's what I know of you--you will make it work. Women have always done this. On my travels this past week, I didn't use any other models than the ones my my mother, grandmothers and aunts taught me. It will not, I promise you, be too awkward because women care, women know. Of course, I am imagining that you will know these women, albeit vaguely. It is just that even though we know women of different cultures and faiths, we generally do not cross that invisible line. Cross it now. Make this effort for women everywhere.
     The Next Step
     Share the stories of these meetings. Send your stories to sisteriisister@thepeacehour.org. If you have pictures, all the better. Videos--I'd be ecstatic! But, it is your story to tell, so I'll take it in any form that it comes. You can also call me with any questions as well. I ask this of you for the simple reason that I care about us--as women, as nurturers as the second half of the world. Please don't delay. You can start the moment that you've read this blog. In addition, you can start by sending it out to our other sisters--as that degree of separation that ends needless separations for evermore.
     In peace--Your Sister of the Heart, P.K.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Ahhhhhhh. Romance in Any Language ...

 
Still holding hands after 32 years
What makes us so different from another? On my trip to the Middle East, I explored this question over and over again. I could probably give a surface answer. The dress, the customs--maybe. Then I realized, that I was asking the wrong question. The question should not be about our differences although I believe that I should celebrate those differences of culture and language. Instead, I ask myself, what makes us the same?
     My daughter of the heart, Reed, told me when I arrived in Jordan that I needed to understand three Arabic words: yalla, walla and inshallah. They translate into hurry, really? and God willing. Of course, I know that shukran, Arabic for "thank you" is a very important word. Oh, and also law samaht for please. Still, having Arabic speaking friends, I have picked up words I really love to say, especially habibi or habibti--meaning beloved for male and female loved ones. Which is why the people in this picture held such interest for me. Throughout my time with them, I heard him say habibti a least a hundred times.
      On my tour to Petra and Wadi Rum I sat across from this couple from Bahrain who I learned were celebrating 32 years of marriage. He said, "She's still spicy" and smiled. I remember him introducing her to me, telling me that her name, Iptisam, meant "to smile." And she did. Often. Reminds me of a story I like to tell of a little boy who meets a woman in the park who smiles at him. Later when he recalls the meeting of this woman to his mother, he tells her "I had lunch with God. She has such a pretty smile." Iptisam had God's smile. Like the boy in the story, I, too, was enchanted by Iptisam's smile and I believe it was for that reason. 
     I had fallen in Petra and both Iptisam and her husband inquired hourly of my health. I felt taken care of by their warmth and caring. Later, when we took a picture together (I'm at least 9 inches taller than she), I kissed the top of her head and she pulled my head down to kiss my cheek. I thought of my mother and grandmother. It was the eyes, I first thought and then I later realized, it was the heart. We all have the same heart. It pumps for love, for hope and freedom. Is that so hard to understand? Also, on the tour with us was another couple from Palestine. They joked and held hands, too. They had been married 15 days. Seen here (I asked to take their picture), this young woman had a smile that could light up the sky. They both seemed so happy and I pointed to the older couple and said, "This is what you should aspire to. They've been married 32 years and are still the light in each other's eyes." Barriers of language--perhaps--but in their smiles you see that they understood even with my very, very limited Arabic. 
     What I think I learned best, however, was this. Love conquers all. If we take ourselves out of our comfort zones and try to get to know one another, we could--can--no, will make this a better world. Inshallah. Amen.