Washer Women

We stand at the pail her determined face set.
She can do this alone - it is not in her culture to allow.
So we stand side by side each of us strong determined women.
Finally she surrenders to the help as it is explained.
We are co-workers in Christ, meant to share the tasks.
So begins the one with skilled, deft strokes to clean the clothes.
Suds are plenty and I suds and rinse, laughter comes.
With the realization that the other is not skilled.
Not a big strong washer woman, see like this.
The laughter does not stop.
We are as bound as the soap in the bucket.
Bubbling up from the depths of our strength.
Because we have both surrendered to the shared joy
Of work, of love, of life.
Bound together even against the men
Who frown on our shared existence.
Knowing we are sisters protected by our work.
Living out the gospel shoulder to shoulder,
Every step here brings back one sacred act.
When we are through we wash our feet.
Side by side, like a sacrament holding sacred pieces of our life.
Now bound up in the mystery of God and never the same.