Jul 1, 2012

On Freedom and the Power of a Book

By Jennifer Debenham

I'm reading a book right now called Pope Joan, by Donna Woolfolk Cross, about a woman born around 800 A.D., who is blessed with a gifted intellect, but cursed to live in a man's world. Women then had few rights and little opportunity to receive any education beyond the managing of household chores. Yet Joan finds a way to feed her curious mind and break out of the life expected of her. The book kept me jumping from awe at her ability to overcome her circumstances to anger at the injustices of life for everyone at that time, but especially for women. It kind of makes you want to slug the nearest guy, just because he's a guy. But so far my husband's arms are "slug-free."

However, it also makes me ponder, with tremendous gratitude, the blessing it is to be a woman in America, at this time of the world. Never mind such things as running water (I can't imagine giving up my hot shower) and refrigeration. Even the poorest in America today live greater than the richest did then.
Though women don't enjoy equality everywhere in the world today, in many countries, and in America in particular, we have so much for which to be grateful. Soon we will celebrate our Independence from Great Britain, but this 4th of July I'm also celebrating the fact that I have so many freedoms that so few people in the history of the world have enjoyed, regardless of gender. At one point in the story, Joan is given a classical book of Greek literature by her tutor, an object few people at the time ever hoped to own. She treasures this book more than anything she possesses. She reads it over and over, so grateful to have those precious words on the page.

As I glance over my teetering pile of books on my nightstand, pondering which of the many will be my next adventure, I realize I often take my life for granted. It's nice to have reminders in the form of holidays or a well-written book to enlighten us to new or forgotten insights.

And it's nice to think that something one of us may write one day may bring a similar insight to one of our readers.

Here's to hoping you all have a wonderful Independence Day and a summer filled with great reading and writing!


  1. Great post Jenny! I will have to put that book on my reading list! We really are blessed! hugs~

  2. Beautiful connection! I will put this book on my list and remember the freedom that allows me to choose. Thnak you for the post.

  3. We really do have a great deal to be grateful for, and you reminded us so eloquently. Thank you.

  4. This is a wonderful post! I needed this today, so thanks! We are so blessed!

    P.S. I left an award for ANWA Founders and Friends blog at my blog.


  5. You are soooooooooooo right. We have so much potential in our day and time...and I suspect we'll be answering for that some day. I too want to make sure my opportunities are well taken for their sake. These women suffered to keep my family line alive to get to me. I kinda owe them.


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