"A - You're Adorable / B - You're so Beautiful"
...by this point in reading today's blog post, I know my mother has a song stuck in her head. Terribly sorry; if it helps, I have had the song stuck in my head all week, too. This was the alphabet song we sang while I was growing up, until my youngest sister decided that her alphabet song was the regular one sung backwards! The last line of the "Adorable" alphabet was "It's fun to wander through / the alphabet with you / to tell you what you mean to me." Whenever I read the passage from Proverbs about the "Woman of Substance" or "the Capable Wife", the adorable alphabet, especially that last line, pops into my head.
The passage from Proverbs is very familiar to many, I would imagine. It is popular to read on Mother's Day; it seems to describe a superwoman, a high standard for any mortal to be compared to. Only twenty-two verses long, the example of the "P31 Woman" is, in some traditions, the only model for women's lives, imposed as a checklist. But that was not the original purpose for the poem. The poem is an acrostic in praise of a working mother; each of the twenty two verses begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet from Aleph to Tav. The woman described is the embodiment of wisdom in action, doing everything she does with forethought and excellence. After recently hearing descriptions of Woman Wisdom as 1) the great preparer of the feast and 2) a street-corner prophetess and preacher, this Supermom is just one more example of another type of wisdom, of wise living.
Think about someone in your life you have learned wisdom from; this can be someone long passed but well remembered or someone currently with you, related or not. How did you learn wisdom from this person, what wise traits do they embody? You can write your own poem of praise chronicling what you appreciate about your wise loved one, and if they are still living, consider gifting it to them.
One more example of praise and thanksgiving before I conclude today's writing:
in Hasidic Judaism, men will sing a version of Proverbs 31 to their wives every Friday at Shabbat. The song expresses affirmation and appreciation, and is sung as a blessing upon their wives whom they view as a great gift. The song is not used as a checklist for expectations, but affirmation of the gift of presence. How can we each affirm the gift of presence with one another?