View from Behind

 In Facing Reality, SHIFT

My husband does not walk, he strides. I have a hard time keeping up with him if he gets a head start. We look pretty silly sometimes, walking at the same pace, about eight feet between us. When one of us realizes we are traveling at the same speed, we allow for catching up. It is much more fun to walk side by side.

This little vignette is a picture of life that is not spoken about. My husband and I joke about it being natural that I am behind, alluding to my American Indian heritage. The stereotype of the squaw is that she walks a ways behind her mate. I meditated on this practice and the typical explanation for many years, recognizing that there was some truth in it, but not understanding why it seemed to be a regular occurrence in tribal society. I think I have had a break through. The emphasis should not be on who is walking behind, but who is walking ahead.

This shift is very revealing. Those folks in history who went ahead of others were known as scouts. They were on the lookout for safe places, access to needed resources such as water and food, as well as, looking out for danger. In any case, my memory of the stories is not that the more valued one was the one who went ahead. It was quite the opposite.

When my husband forges ahead, I see him as my protector, the one who prepares the path for my ease in passing. If it were not for him, I would be vulnerable to many situations that I am less prepared to deal with. There are those who want to make men and women the same who will not get this, but there is a very foundational positive difference between men and women that goes way beyond physical attributes. It is in the basic way we have been made.

Instead of whining about men’s aggressiveness, women should be glad. Men have the mental and physical makeup that causes them to see the world through technical eyes that look for ways to fix or otherwise deal with what they encounter. Women were built with the strength to walk in men’s wake, organizing and working out the relationships of the impacted areas. What a team!

Why is it we spend more time criticizing each other for doing the very thing we were made to do? It seems so much more productive, not to mention peaceful, to support each other for the very nature that is in each. We might find men and women more content if they were not spending so much energy defending what they are each naturally compelled to do. We could put that fervor to better use fine-tuning our individual roles – enjoying them and each other.

The view is very different from behind now. I am excited about my position. It is not a rut, but a well-marked path. So, I say to my man, “Walk on. I have your back!”

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