It it Thursday, a day that marks a powerful movement. A day that is both refreshing, invigorating, and sometimes heartbreaking for me. A day in which I feel more connected and strong through the empowerment of a supportive group of people. Today is the day of collective prayer, and wherever you may be at 3 PM, may you find 10 minutes to be in silence for the healing of sexualized violence in our community and churches.
Last week, Angela Michael (pseudonym) left this comment about her session in silence:
“Todays call to prayer “meditation” found me full of thoughts for the survivors and victims of Sexualized Violence in MCUSA and also for our society that produces judges like the Montana judge Baugh. A judge who blamed a 14-year-old victim of rape as much as the 54-year-old teacher who raped her. Ultimately she paid the price of ending her life on this earth, and the rapist has very little punishment….justice for no one.
The 3 o’clock hour found me pulling weeds in my garden. With finding and pulling out each winding tendril of the nasty thing, I envisioned doing the same with the evil of Sexualized Violence. Not only in our lives in the USA, but the world over.
I know that weeds need to be revisited and repeatedly pulled or they return to wreak havoc and suffocate my flowers. So it is with educating people on the topic of Abuse. Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse should be trained before they graduate with a degree and annually thereafter. The poisonous weeds of false security, complacency, covering up of abuse when suspected and lack of justice will remain deeply rooted unless these evils are addressed again and again.
Something happened as I was about to melt with these thoughts in the hot sun, wilting both Spiritually and physically.
A cool breeze suddenly came to my relief, and with it the thought that this was my Divine God Spirit helping me. She was saying,”You be the voice to bring attention to wrongs you see. You be the one to shout from the mountain top.”
It is up to each of us to add our voice to those Victims who can not speak for themselves. It is up to each of us to support the Survivors who speak and cry out to be believed and loved.
Count my voice as one that will shout as long as I live, “I believe you, what happened was very wrong, things need to change and this is how…”
Now, I am back to pulling weeds, want to join me?”
Are we all ready to make a commitment to continue pulling the weeds? Because that’s what we need: we need you to pray, but we also need you to make a pledge to keep plunging further, even when the going gets thick and tough.
Many people have told me that just because the church is addressing the JHY issue, it doesn’t mean that all sexualized violence will be eradicated. Comments have also been made that “healing” still leaves scars; though healing may occur, things will not return to “some pristine state of wholeness.”
Though this is true, it is also true that the first step of healing–even when that means scars involved–requires acknowledgement and accountability, something that has long gone unaddressed within Mennonite Church USA. And that, thanks to our prayers and the women and men willing to pull the weeds even when they’re thick and stifling the flowers, is what this current process is all about.
Scars do exist, but scars also fade. And when we see faded scars on our bodies, we’re reminded of the event that created the scars, but we’re also reminded of the impeccable ability to become something Bigger and Better from that event. We’ve gained Wisdom, we’ve gained Empowerment, and we’ve gained a beauty mark to show it off to the world. We learn how to become a Thriver, rather than a Victim, or even a mere Survivor.
So let us join hands, both metaphorically and physically, and pray to the Spirit, to The Mother, to The Father, and to The Son, for their healing touch to encompass all of us, so that we may be one with the Divine and with each other.