Lynette, our social work-y facilitator (Phyllis’s words!) looks around at the women sitting in the morning sun. “I see this light streaming in and this sunshine and I feel it’s kind of a downer — we’re going to go to the pain and the sorrow of whatever your station or your sphere is.
“I think it’s the place we need to start, and then we can go on to the joy.
“I hope that you have a measure of the healing that you’ve longed for. Some of you are pretty far away from the pain. Others are closer.
“Women do almost anything for their children. I’d like to think that women will do a whole lot for their sisters. A whole lot of other women are out there who need to know they are not alone.
“We need to be honest about our pain for them. Women will respect you if you have it all together – they’ll listen to you. But they won’t connect.
“They’re longing for someone who will be vulnerable, who will be in their corner.” Lynette smiles as she talks about a sixth-grader who told her what ‘vulnerable’ meant: “It means easily bruisable.”
So she gives everyone their marching orders. Reflect on your pain; think about hurtful comments and questions; remember situations that were painful and awkward; examine “the inner churnings,” the places you’ve gone because of your pain, the ways you’ve taken the rejection and allowed the pain to go deeper.
She reassures them that they are surrounded by a community of support and a God who heals. “As you share your pain, we’ll gather around you.”