| Anne Williamson |
Less than 100 pages in, I knew The Invention of Wings would be a favorite. It tells the stories – separate yet entwined – of Sarah Grimké and, her slave, Hetty ‘Handful’ Grimké in the American Deep South in the nineteenth century. The two form an impossible friendship as they each struggle to find voice, find wings, in a world built upon their grounding.
One of my most beloved excerpts from the book shares Sarah’s story right after she experiences hearing the Inner Voice, or voice of God, for the first time:
Beyond the window, the sky loomed large, filled with broken light, and I remembered suddenly that day last winter in the drawing room when Handful cleaned the chandelier, the allegation she’d leveled at me: My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round. I’d dismissed the words – what could she know of it? But I saw now how exact they were. My mind had been shackled....
How does one know the voice of God’s? I believed the voice bidding me to go north belonged to him, though perhaps what I really heard that day was my own impulse to freedom. Perhaps it was my own voice. Does it matter?
I believe most of us are searching for voice, the kind of inspired voice that comes when our singular life and personality connects with something beyond itself. It’s the voice we hear and from which we speak when we know our true being as intrinsically worthy, simultaneously unique and ordinary, interdependent. It’s the voice that guides us to doings that matter instead of mere movement.
It is this voice we’ll be exploring in WAYfinding over the next two weeks, asking and wondering together… Does it exist? And, if so, whose voice is it? g/God’s? Our own? Some combination of the two? Or, as Sarah wonders, perhaps it doesn’t matter? This first week, we’ll be using excerpts from The Invention of Wings as well as a beautiful On Being article by Courtney E. Martin titled An Elegant Life Taking Shape I Can Call My Own. Whether you’ve participated yet this round or not, you’re welcome to join the conversation. I hope you will.