I wrapped up a long day of work and spent tonight with a sisterhood.
JB and I and 49 other women were invited to a local restaurant called the Apollo Grill for an specially planned evening of meeting and relaxing with one another. Our friend Lori invited us and it was wonderful: talented, interesting, women ready to enjoy a good meal, clink drinks, and sing-a-long together. I sat beside a woman named Evelyn Harris who was the guest performer and a singer in Sweet Honey and the Rock for 18 years. I don't know how or why she ended up here in the Pioneer Valley but her music was sweet and when she sang she rocked the house.
JB and I sat with a woman who paints wall size canvasses of amazingly realistic apples and pears; a professor of photography at a local college, a naturalist who raises standard poodles, a private practice psychiatric nurse, the owner and CEO of a disability consulting firm (our friend Lori), and Evelyn Harris, who shook her bones and sang so deeply from so deep within that she had all fifty of us on our feet rocking and clapping and belting out "This Little Light of Mine" and another that assured that Everything's Gonna Be Okay.
I want to tell you that it was just awesome to be in the company of women like this sharing the theme of the evening, which was about Friendship and Balance. And it was.
But I have to say I looked around and saw a collective weariness too; an uncertainty and an inability to just relax, coast, let go...a desire to hold on to the slippery slope of balance.
Why is balance so elusive? Hell, I only work part-time and almost every day I am juggling and wondering how I will carve out my time, how I will get the chores and demands done so I can play and gallivant and prioritize and practice.
I wonder if my own Mother felt this kind of low grade uncertainty and exhaustion? I don't think so, I really don't. Her world was less complicated, with fewer choices and stronger roots. Perhaps the state of her world was no less secure, but she was and her family was. She did not worry about violence, bankruptcies, natural disasters in the same way. They may have happened but she didn't expect them to.
The women I sat with tonight, and I include myself, worry more and play less. I could see it on too many faces.
Now why is that?
And beyond the why, WHAT allows the change from worry to contentment? I have a suspicion the "what" may be smaller than we dare imagine.