This post is the third in what will be a series of ten exploring the kinship between the Heroine’s Journey as established by Maureen Murdock, my lived experience of ministry as a female clergy person, and a few familiar fictional characters. Each devotional will end with a blessing for the Heroine at each stage of the journey. In the previous post, we examined the second part of the journey where the Heroine enters into a process of formation as determined by the external “other” that the Heroine hopes will overwhelm their pesky femininity.
The Heroine’s Journey;
Part Three – Road of Trials: Meeting Ogres and Dragons
Now the Heroine must prove their skills, knowledge, and relationships against the hardships of the world–necessary work in order to develop ego and character. Challengers draw near to keep them from their chosen path. When the Heroine has triumphed over their trials and adversaries, they gain reputation, status, empowerment, and confidence. Alongside their external success, the Heroine believes that they have secured the other to their identity and no longer have to fear being deficient or inferior.
There is one photo of me that best encapsulates this phase of my life, when I was both establishing my family and endeavoring to establish my career. It was taken at a synodical continuing education event that I was attending in order to network, to keep my face out there, and make sure that I wasn’t forgotten or discarded. I was two years into a search for my first call and the ordination that would go with it. Though it is not visible in the photo, I was pregnant with my second child, which meant that I felt gross in my own skin and my back ached.
I knew I was being photographed that day. I remember being annoyed about it even as it was happening, because I recognized what was unfolding. I recognized it because a classmate from seminary, a person of color, had shared with me when this had happened to him. They were taking photos of me because I was young and female, and they needed more diversity for their website. I was being gobbled up by the insatiable content monster that lurks in so many aspects of modern life. Yet I understood that the photographer had no way to know I was not ensconced in a congregation or some other ministry setting. He was doing his job just as I was doing what needed to be done. Read more