Somebody called me a Wise Woman the other day and it almost made me laugh out loud. Isn’t that something like those Lifetime Achievement Awards they give you in Hollywood when they can’t find roles for you anymore, I wondered? But it set me to thinking…
Nobody sets out to be a Wise Woman. You set out to be sexy, smart, loved, a wife, a mother, a friend, a success… yes. But to be Wise?… not so much.
And so it just creeps up on you, this Wisdom Thing. Until one day there it is, staring you in the face. Probably because some young woman in need has just thanked you from the heart for the advice you gave her that helped her make it through a tough choice, or a hard breakup, or a sick child, or the 1,000 other things that life sets in our paths that are so hard to do alone.
So, I’ve been thinking about Wisdom vs. Knowledge ever since.
Seems to me, this generation of women doesn’t need knowledge to help them through life’s maze. Knowledge is thrown at them willy-nilly from every electronic device they’re tethered to like pulsating umbilical cords. Knowledge is available, for better or for worse, from Wikipedia.
It’s wisdom that’s not. Because Wisdom comes from living. From experience. From bumping your head on life’s sharp edges and pushing the envelope. From following your heart or your head into chaos more times than you’d like to admit. From being sexy, smart, loved, a wife, a mother, a friend, a success, a failure… all the things that make you human and fragile and strong as titanium. Human enough to try to make your mark in a world more likely to crush your dreams than fulfill them…a world different from your expectations and harder than you knew, but wonderful nonetheless, and besides, it’s the only world you’ve got.
A human being who gets up, dusts herself off, and despite whatever nuclear bomb has just imploded her life on a given day, cooks breakfast for the kids and tries to finish the race with as much grace and dignity as life allows. And who never stops dreaming.
You know the old joke about what would have happened if there’d been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men at the Nativity. They would have gotten there early because they asked directions, brought a cradle and a casserole (screw the gold, frankincense and myrrh) delivered the baby and cleaned the stable.
All things considered… maybe being a Wise Woman isn’t so bad after all. Maybe it’s just another name for being able to give back in return for the good that’s been given, the love that’s been shared, the experience that’s honed your spirit, the successes and failures that made you who you are now: a somebody somebody else would turn to for all that can’t come from Wikipedia.
Maybe we just need a new name with less baggage and more cachet. How about Yoda in Pantyhose?
© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2012