When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. Psalm 77:2
I clearly remember the day I “became a woman.” I expect most women do. While our stories might be slightly different, the pain in our bellies and the shock when the blood flows from a strange place is indelibly written in our memories. I was 13. It was early on a hot summer Saturday and the members of our church youth group gathered at the beach. My father brought his boat so we could water ski. I looked forward to this day for weeks. I was a pretty good water skier and was anxious to show off for the boys. But, I wasn’t going to be skiing or wearing a bathing suit. Not with a bulky pad underneath. My dad encouraged me to go so I put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt trudging down the dock to the boat. When we got to the beach, my friends called for me to join them in the water. I said I didn’t feel like it and stayed aboard. The rocking of the boat made me seasick so I went into the cabin and lay down on the bed and cried. The nausea and the cramps combined to make me sicker than I had ever been up until that day. It was the worst day of my life. Finally, my dad took pity on me. He radioed my mom and asked her to come get me. I couldn’t swim to shore so he pulled the boat close to the beach. I jumped off the bow and ignoring the calls of my friends and the whistles of the boys I wanted so badly to show up, I crossed the white sand to the parking lot and the waiting car of my mother. I cried some more on the way home. When we arrived, my mom fixed my favorite comfort food, mashed potatoes. I ate and my stomach finally settled. I crawled into bed angry with Eve and the “curse” she had placed upon me. I still feel sick when I remember that day. This weekend, I felt the return of that sickness though it has been more than a decade since I suffered from Eve’s curse. When I think of the shootings at El Paso and Dayton, of Las Vegas and Parkland, of Sandy Hook and Orlando, I want to crawl back into bed and cry. The fact that people dear to me would choose to blame everything else but the gun makes me even sicker. I give them facts, they give me back fable. I try to reason, but they won’t listen. Their minds are made up. And people die. Mothers sheltering newborns. Girls not even old enough to wear a bra much less suffer from Eve’s curse. Young men with their lives ahead of them. Fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers. Nine lives in 60 seconds. Twenty-two in minutes more. Gone. For what? Tell me, for what? I’m angry. I’m sick. I feel helpless. I don’t understand why the blood still flows.