Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Heart Hungry Woman

I have taken advantage of task-less work days to revisit article and links I've kept in my bookmarks bar. Here's some of what I found.

A little while back, I started researching the life of my great-great-great-grandmother, Emily Dow Partridge. I had to stop my digging because it made me feel too much. I felt heart-sick for her and for myself. You can see the burdens she carries in being a wife and mother. I think there is a similar burden in not filling those roles. It's awful to feel so out of control of your own life.

from here

Our lives and challenges were different, but I feel a sense of sisterhood with her. I still can't believe that I am her descendant (though we both seem to share a similar sense of gloom. It shouldn't be too surprising). She was married to Joseph Smith, and then to Brigham Young. This is part of her story, first found here:

"...have been sick in bed for two days. Am much better today. I feel rather dispirited and a good cry might do me good. I feel quite ashamed to be known as a wife of the richest man in the territory, and yet we are so poor. I do not know why he is so loth to provide for me. My children are his children. He provides sumptuously for some of his family. If he was a poor man it would be different . . . He manifests a desire to cast me off, and I cannot ask him for anything. What his hired men will let me have I get, but it is like pulling teeth to get that sometimes. I feel very loanly tonight. I hope I do not sin in my feelings. 
Sunday. Today I’ve been thinking, thinking, thinking. My mind goes back to days gone by. And what do I find, can I find anything so pleasant that I could wish to live it over again or even to dwell upon it in thought, with any degree of satisfaction. No I cannot. My life has been like a panorama of disagreeable pictures. As I scan them over one by one, they bring no joy, and I invariably wind up with tears. I have been heart hungry all my life, always hoping against hope, until the years are nearly spent, and hope is dead for this life but bright for the next. 
And then I aske myself what great or good thing have I done that I should hope for better things in the next world, or what great trial or exploit can I recount like many others perhaps, that will bring honor and greatness. I can only sum it up in one word, and that is I am a ‘woman’. . . . 
or if that is not enough I am a ‘mother’ and still more I am, as the world calls it, ‘spiritual wife’ of early days, when public opinion was like an avalanche burying all such beneath its oppressive weight. Some will understand what it is to be a woman, mother, or an unloved ‘spiritual wife.’ 
Woman has had to bear her own burdens, and also a great portion of mans curse. She is not only expected to bear children, but she must drudge from morning untill night; and her duties as wife and mother often follow her from night until morning; and her labors never cease as long as she can place one foot before the other. I do not think that God designed that man should enjoy all the sweets of Liberty; while woman is bowed down in shackles. Liberty is sweet. As sweet to woman as to man. . . We do not wish to drag our brothers down, but we desire to raise ourselves up to his level. We have born the galling chains a very long time."

From this project

I know it would not be fair to judge my own life based on the darkest moments in my journal. But you can't deny those experiences either. I hope her life had some joyful moments. I'm astounded by her strength and perspective. The following is a poem she wrote at the time of President Brigham Young’s death:

Speak not a word to dishonor his name,
Lisp not a sound but in praise,
Close up the mouth that would sully his name
Or tarnish his honor in death.

Low in the dust he has bowed his head
His spirit has soared away
He has gone where the wicked will trouble no more 
The noble, the true and the brave.

I don't have much commentary to add to her experience. Just want to do a little part to make sure it is heard.

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