What is the role of women wailers? Advent Day 5: Searching for hope

Madeleine L’Engle said in one of her biographies that she wrote every day. People would ask her how she could be inspired to write every day. She said that she was not. She wrote to get inspired. If we wait to be inspired to write then very little writing will happen.

That is how these blog posts have felt for me since Advent started. There is something stirring in me and I cannot quite put my finger on what it is. This sense of there is something missing. I think it is the sense of playfulness. The world is so hard and I want to speak hope into the chaos, but I think I need a word of hope breathed into me again.

Yesterday I saw this comment by Amanda Held Opelt (RHE’s dear sister). She was responding to a great question Kaitlyn Scheiss was asking about biblical egalitarianism. I love Amanda’s response:

Maybe nothing is wrong with me. Maybe this is my role. The depression is not inside me, it is all around me. I heard a trauma therapist say that people who have experienced spiritual trauma need to be aware of when it is outside of their body or within. I think it is outside of my body right now. This culture we are living in all around us – I OBJECT!

I know everybody is suffering, and I am sensitive to that. I deeply care for everybody I meet and want you to know you are deeply loved. I hear your pain and your joy, and I feel both grief and delight with you. But right now I do not think it can be understated how unloved women are in our society and in our faith communities. Oh, many may say “we love women” and will believe women on a surface level (like quick fixes will take care of the years of generational trauma) but the narrative that has demeaned their worth has gone on so long, the hatred of women is internalized—it is not realized. Women’s cries are met with disdain because the pain is not felt or known, especially for women who are seemingly finding their way out but the institutions we all participate in are so patriarchal. Patriarchy is the air we unintentionally breathe, and that breath comes out in words more than most realize every day. We are so numb to it and women’s cries are seen as egotistical instead of a deep anguish that Amanda gave much needed words to. What was the role of the women wailers? I would have never thought to ask that question.

Women were wailing at the cross of Jesus and have been forgotten. We have told the story that Jesus was abandoned. No, he was not.

It is a traumatic time. We are all experiencing trauma. The world as we once knew it is gone. It is not coming back, but a new world is breaking in. We can let go of what was and embrace what is coming. I can see it. I want so badly to speak it and shout it everywhere I go.

Blanco River, Wimberley, Texas

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