I’ve found a new favorite bible verse. It helps explain a lot of my life: “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11).
Sound familiar? The words certainly rang true for me, but I admit that until a few days ago, I never actually noticed this particular verse. Let me give you the context, so you can understand why these women were talking this way.
On Friday, Jesus has been crucified and laid in his tomb. Jewish law dictates that everyone rests from sundown on Friday until Sundown on Saturday, so nobody could anoint Jesus’ body during this time. On Sunday morning, after the Sabbath, several ladies formed a body anointing party and journeyed to Jesus’ tomb, carrying fancy spices and perfumes. We know that Mary Magdalene was there, somebody named Joanna, James’ mom (also named Mary), Salome, and some unnamed women called “the others” (kind of freaky sounding if you ask me…probably well suited for this sort of work) (Luke 24:9 & Mark 16:1).
When they showed up at the tomb, not only is the stone rolled away, Jesus is nowhere to be found. All of the sudden, two angels show up and scare the bejeebers out of the ladies. They announce the good news: “He is risen!” The women take off from the tomb, and meet the remaining 11 disciples (minus one Judas). Now, here comes the verse. The ladies attempt to explain what just happened: “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11).
What you have here are uncommon circumstances but very common women. Whenever you combine a group of women and get them all worked up about something, then you send them to a group of men to relay a message, you get pandemonium. Here’s my impression of how this probably went:
Mary 1: “There was this angel, then this other angel, and then, oh my gosh, no, we couldn’t find Jesus…”
Joanna: “Bright lights, shiny people…”
Mary 2: “Jesus wasn’t anywhere. The stone wasn’t even covering the hole.”
Salome: “I told Mary that she shouldn’t run so fast, but would she listen…”
Mary 1: “Which Mary were you talking about?”
Salome: “The other one.”
Joanna: “We should come up with nicknames for you two.”
Salome: “I like my name.”
Joanna: “No, the two Marys. It gets way too confusing.”
Mary 2: “Then the Angel told us that Jesus wasn’t there, and we said, like, we know! What are we supposed to do with all these herbs and spices we schlepped all the way over here?”
Salome: “But we’re really excited though, because even though he’s not there, he’s somewhere!”
The Others: “Who are we going to anoint now?”
You get the picture. No wonder the disciples were confused! The thing is, this instance isn’t confined to the first century in Jerusalem. In fact, this sort of thing is happening every day, in a household near you. I’m talking about the communication breakdown between women and men. At times, it just seems like we’re speaking nonsense to each other!
I was recently blessed with a visit from a dear friend of mine. Lindsay stayed here for a few days, and we got a chance to spend lots of girl time shopping, cooking, eating, chatting, and drinking coffee at various Starbucks locations. I realized that when in “girl mode,” I can speak a slightly different language around my husband, one that frequently focuses on handbags, clothing, hairstyles, and things that my husband probably considers from another planet altogether.
Dan was a trooper. Although I saw him glaze over every so often (a conversation about the best sort of eye shadow did him in), altogether, he was remarkably adept at translating our “nonsense.” In fact, he made one bold move that I’ll forever remember as a remarkable bridge between the seemingly insurmountable linguistic barriers between the sexes.
Lindsay and I were sitting at breakfast one morning, discussing our outfits and how best to accessorize them. Dan was getting ready for work, and he walked in wearing his dark blue hospital scrubs. He stopped in front of the table and struck a pose. “Ladies,” he announced. “I’d like your opinion on how I can best accessorize my ensemble. You’ll notice that it’s reversible. Also, pay attention to all the many, handy pockets.” Lindsay and I broke out in uproarious laughter.
Not only had he been listening and interpreting our conversation, but he found a way to be a part of it. No, I’m not saying that all guys need to subject themselves to fashion discussions. However, an ability to honor a woman’s unique conversation style and her own set of interests goes a long way to respecting her as a person, even if she is a little hard to understand sometimes.