Last year at the South Carolina Writers Conference, I met a happy, energetic, free spirited person with a contagious smile, and this year I was fortunate enough to see and talk with her again. Just about everyone you meet at such a workshop asks, “What kind of writing do you do?” and/or “What are you working on?” I never cease to be amazed at the variety of things that people think and write about, things that never cross my mind. As a quick “for instance,” one teacher that I met writes young adult fiction while a male friend writes family history.
But back to the writer with the beautiful contagious smile. As I told her about Eve’s Sisters, she kept smiling and yet, I sensed an immediate disconnect. She wanted to be supportive and encouraging, and yet it was hard to mask her lack of interest when I mentioned the phrase “women in the Bible.” I quickly added, “But it’s much more than that. It’s about applying psychological principles to their lives and ours.
“Oh, I’m glad you told me that because if you’d left it at ‘women in the Bible,’ I wouldn’t have been interested,” she said.
Lola (not her real name, just one that I like) and I talked for a few minutes and then parted company to attend another interesting session. Nevertheless, her words stayed with me, not because they stung, but because I think she speaks for countless, nameless others who don’t know about the parallel between the lives of women who lived thousands of years ago and those of women who walk the earth today.
Women everywhere want love, respect, and a sense of purpose. They get depressed, feel fear, struggle with relationships, have heartaches, and suffer low self esteem. Biblical women were just like us! They didn’t use technical terms like OCD or Bipolar Disorder, and they didn’t scurry about frantically trying to “find themselves,” but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have issues. They did.
As a woman who’s familiar with situations and concerns of the fair sex, if I feel discouraged, afraid, annoyed, rejected, puzzled, confused, down, uncertain, or any other emotion, I can read a psychology text or self help book since I have dozens of each. Then again, I can read about Hagar or Esther or Naomi and learn other approaches to dealing with stressful situations.
With its themes of new beginnings, overcoming fear, and remaining optimistic, the Bible is like the original self-help book. Although I wish I’d discovered the truth of that sooner in life, I don’t see the time that I spent studying and teaching psychology as wasteful. On the contrary, that gave me the foundation I needed to see the women in the Bible as models for what does and doesn’t work to live an effective, satisfying life.
If you’ve read this far, you deserve to know the meaning of the above picture. Have you guessed it? Do you have any ideas? It’s one I snapped from the 16th floor of the Myrtle Beach Hilton last week. I couldn’t resist capturing the beauty of sunrise over the ocean. When I looked at the photograph, however, at first I was a little upset. Why did the florescent lights from the hotel ceiling have to show up and mar the beauty??? This morning I realized that the modern lights superimposed in a scene as old as the earth itself has a message in itself. There are similarities between then and now, more than we think.