Anders: Women's Wisdom

Anders: Women’s Wisdom

Guest writer: Isabel Anders

“Carol Lee Flinders explains the maternal thinking of philosopher Sara Ruddick: ‘Ruddick emphasizes that women tell stories to one another out of their daily experience, stories that are meant to strengthen [their] values in themselves and one another. [Women’s] visionary writings … can be seen as just this—concrete, highly visual, and often quite intimate ways of presenting the spiritual teachings that a learned theologian might treat in a much more abstract manner.’” Carol Lee Flinders, Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics (HarperSanFrancisco,1993, p. 8.

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The Daughter asked: “How do you spin all day, and see so little for your effort, and keep from discouragement?”

The Mother answered: “See this little square of texture and design? It is enough to wrap the universe in comfort and warmth.”

The Daughter was perplexed. “How can this be?”

The Mother replied: “Even a few inches of loving intent can spread to span continents. Ask a ray of sun.”


The Daughter wondered that the Mother could spend

so much time lovingly tending the fire, stirring the soup,

baking the bread. 

“Do you not tire of such mundane tasks?”

“This substance,” the Mother explained, breaking bread, “makes possible the chemistry of life. Through it the roughness of grain is transformed into the fine constituents of our Being. ... How can this be called mundane?”


The Daughter asked, “How does one find the Truth

amid the myriad choices of every day’s confusion?”

“See the ball of tangled threads at my feet?” asked the Mother. “Many colors are bound together into a knot of complexity. But take the end of any one string, and follow it to its end, and you will by your effort reach the Center.”

—Isabel Anders, excerpted from Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom (Wipf & Stock, 2010).