Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who Needs Men, Anyway? I do.

I have been gifted with the opportunity for so many fun and energetic conversations with fellow students over the course of my academic studies in Phoenix. Not only have I met people from all over this country, but I have heard story after story of international experiences in Vienna, Romania, Russia, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, China and the United Kingdom.

Tonight, while dining at a rather noisy venue, the conversation turned to the discussion of observed cultural differences in international familial structure. We discussed China’s one-child-policy at length; we compared our astonished observations that many of our international student acquaintances have left spouses and children to pursue an education in America; we heard about a recent documentary on the life of a close-knit African family and we lamented our own country’s care of the elderly. At length the conversation turned to make note of a Chinese matriarchal society where the ruling women had many husbands and assumed no care of the children at which point the despairing question arose, “Who needs men, anyway?”

I had no intellectual reaction to the question at the time but only a deep-sinking sadness in my heart that ‘needing men’ was actually in question. I am so deeply grateful for the men in my life and I am grateful to them as men, in a distinctly different sense than I am grateful for the women in my life.

Yes, I can make a living and support myself. Yes, I can be independent and live alone and open my doors and read my own Bible and change my oil and pay my bills and drive my car and think for myself and mow my lawn and vote for myself and chop my wood. And, yes, hypothetically, I could try to live my life without men.

Yet realizing that I could potentially live my life without men is about as attractive as understanding that I could, theoretically, live my life in isolation and solitude. For that matter, I could always eat cookies and never drink milk; I could possess a glove in the cold and refuse to wear it; I could watch the perpetual rainfall and blind myself to the rainbow. But one would only do such things if they understood the meaning and purpose of life to exclude satisfaction, warmth and beauty.

Likewise, a world of only skirts and never trousers would be life in only a very small portion of its glory, because men and women, in their distinct natures were meant to need each other. Dry cookies, cold hands and rain can paint only a picture of scarcity. Considering life with no men sketches an equally harsh reality in my mind.

I want the men in my life to know that I need them and that life without them would be no life at all: Thank you for your leadership and for changing my oil and mowing the lawn and for teaching me from the Scriptures and for driving my car and chopping the wood and opening the doors and helping me make decisions. And though it’s fun to sometimes do these things with you, your leadership and fulfillment of your call allows me to be the woman that I was meant to be.

There is no way that life would be just as fine without men.