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Friday, September 4, 2015

A Protector

I asked for a guy to walk me out to my car the other night. Ordinarily I'm a strong woman, an independent woman. I carry heavy boxes, I drive home late at night, I carry a pepper spray, and I always park under the street light in the Walmart parking lot. But then times come when I'm tired of being strong and I just want to step into the role God created for me before liberation swung too far the other way. I want to be protected.

At first I felt embarrassed at my request. Ordinarily I wouldn't ask, I was used to managing. I would casually ask someone to help me lock up after the evening program so at least I wasn't alone. But the stranger had appeared yet again and I felt uncomfortable. I swallowed hard and asked if someone could stay with me til the end of the program.

As we walked out to my car, just a little after 9 pm, a truck drove by, young men hooting and hollering nonsense from the cab, and I was grateful for the person beside me. I started my car and headed home. A thought came unbidden to mind. Never be ashamed to ask for protection.

It's a difficult world to live in when you're a single woman. I know. Men are afraid to open doors, walk you to your car, carry heavy packages, or compliment you because they don't know if you'll assert your independence and make them feel small. In the same way, I hesitate to reach out and ask for someone to make sure I'm safe because I'll be interrogated and asked why I feel unsafe if I have nothing tangible to base it on.

It is not right, though. A woman should be able to expect careful courtesy from any man. And similarly, any man should be able to expect that a woman will graciously accept his courteous assistance. The next time I find myself waving away help, I must remember to be thankful and accept it. And I hope when next I am in need of protection, I will be able to ask for it without fear of humiliation.

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