To commemorate Advent, deeply in the midst of the world, being worthy of God’s waiting for us…. Maybe it challenges us to start in grief and lament. I remember right after 9/11, Women Against Military Madness used the phrase, “leave us to grieve in peace” as their witness against the rage that was mounting to strike back, to destroy, to annihilate that which caused us pain. In this Advent time, I am drawn to the reality that without lament, without grief that is shared and witnessed, we are in danger of crushing that which has caused us pain.
I want to be clear, I think rage is a hugely important part of lament. And if we don’t get rage out of our bodies we can suffocate or seek to suffocate others. As many of you have heard me say before, one of the most powerful teachers I’ve ever had in my life was a Co-madre from El Salvador who had endured the death of five of her children at the hands of the death squads. To teach me how it was that she not only survived such pain, but was a fearless, faith-filled activist, she told me a story. She said every week, sometimes more often than that, she and the other co-madres, all of whom had lost husbands, partners and children to the death squads, gathered to tell their stories and to rage and weep together. They called it their time to desahogarse…. Their time to un-drown themselves. Their time to move from “I can’t breathe” to deeply breathing.
In ancient times, some women wore lachrymals as an amulet of sacred power. A lachrymal is a small vial that holds tears.
What un-drowning do you need to do in this Advent time? What lachrymal might you carry?