This is how to pray a prayer of lament.
’Lament’ sounds very spiritual and dignified. What it looks like in practice is ugly-crying in your front garden while the sun sets.
Today it’s for all the women who are disbelieved.
There are the ones I know who have been abused or assaulted – so many, so many. You may think you don’t know any, but statistics are frighteningly high for women who’ve been assaulted. 1 in 3, in the US, maybe. 1 in 8 who’ve been raped. It’s underreported, under-convicted.
I hold my friends’ stories in my heart as well as those stories I’ve read in the news – the women who testify and aren’t believed, the women who testify and are attacked for doing so, the women who don’t testify and live in fear and silence. The women who are raped twice – once physically and again when they have to relive the experience while their whole history, body, character called into question, spiritually naked, emotionally flogged.
I have been lucky enough to not have been sexually assaulted in my life, but I do know something of what it is to be disbelieved. I hold in my heart, too, the stories of friends in the chronically ill and disabled community who have been disbelieved by friends, dismissed by doctors, disowned by family simply for being ill. They relive and perform their illness in emergency rooms, hoping their heart will continue till they are taken seriously.
What do you do when you feel powerless? You creep down to your garden and you sit in a seat in your pyjamas at 6:45pm and watch the sunset and cry. You cry to God, you cry with your body and spirit. The words are incoherent:
Never going to change – unfair – change – Lord – mercy – why – tired – change – please.
You sit in your garden and think of the first garden before it all went wrong. You think of Mary in the garden, weeping for her Lord whose body had gone when all seemed darkest. You cry Mercy in your soul and you scrunch up your stomach once more.
You think you must look ridiculous. You don’t care. The tears keep falling. You think of the friends still waiting for vindication, who are constantly under question, constantly under suspicion. You lament. You remember the God who became human and wept.
The birds call out the faintest song. The sky explodes in a fury of red and orange, and it is beautiful. You look to the sunset, and desperately hope it is also a sunrise. You close the porch doors to re-enter your life, and as you do you say ‘Amen’.
Who was disbelieved and abused and beaten and misrepresented
Please be close with those who feel powerless.
Who chose women to be the first witnesses for your resurrection
Be near to women who carry the burden of silence and the fear of disbelief.
Lord, have mercy.
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