I ran out of soap today.
On the surface, that doesn’t seem like a momentous occasion, or like anything anyone would choose to write about. There are grocery stores in every neighborhood and those stores are full of soap in every size, scent and price.
I ran out of my own, homemade soap today. 18 years ago, I started experimenting with different soap recipes, mixing ingredients, using different methods, and just generally playing with the process. I made soap that was hard and had almost no lather. I made goo. I made soap that took months to saponify and soap that was ready in week or two. I experimented with different blends of essential oils that were everything from slightly better than skunk spray and so delicious you could almost eat them. Eventually, I came up with a couple of signature scents and a soap that was uniquely mine.
We are standing in the middle of the street, gathered together to march for women’s rights, for human rights, and compassion. The street light changes from green to yellow to red, oblivious to the fact that there is no traffic to control, oblivious to what is happening all around it.
We have been stopped, but not by the red light. We have been stopped by the status quo, by the powerful, the rich, the ones who outvoted us, by life. We have each made our little contribution in the microcosm of our world, feeling powerless to do any more.
Whenever I hear that expression, 'no pain, no gain,' it's like fingernails on the chalkboard. Or, for those of you who grew up after slate chalkboards were obsolete, it would be like Carrie Underwood singing Led Zeppelin: it's just wrong. For me, there is something essentially wrong with the concept that pain is a prerequisite for good.