The sacred is what reduces you to tears. The heartfelt is the sacred.
I made a sacred vow to my mother, the day my father socked her so hard she crumpled to the floor. I said I can’t help you now, Mother (I was perhaps eight), but I will some day.
And out of that vow I became a museum historian, responsible for the collective memory of my country. I launched a drive at the National Museum of Man to bring in artifacts which showed our society’s stereotypes of men and women. Man towers over woman. Woman wears apron. Man is strong. Woman is beautiful.
The resulting collection was huge. The full story is there for the ages. Mission accomplished.
After that, and also out of that vow, I studied to become a Sociologist specializing in gender issues. The vision I had in 1987 of the soul’s journey from God to God prematurely ended my participation in university.
Out of that same vow, I became a human-rights decision maker in refugee claims and showed a distinct systemic bias in favor of women. That was one for the Gipper!
That vow had me sit through endless stories of rape, humiliation, and destitution. Years and years of writing decisions designed to set a precedent in this whole area of refugee law, to lend authority to gender claims. Days and days of shaking off the trauma from hearing what I was hearing.
It’s that same sacred vow that will have me, as soon as I can after the Reval, begin funding women’s groups around the world to end gender inequality and the persecution of women and children.
I hunger to get started. It’s cruel and unusual punishment to ask us to stand by for one more day when so many people are getting harmed in our world – and I know about it.
I’m crying now as I write. I know the sacred.
The sacred is what you’d die for. And it’s what you live for.
Your memory is sacred, Mother. And my vow to you is sacred.